The Design Better podcast delivers insights from the world’s most renowned creative leaders, empowering teams to transform their practice and build remarkable products. This series is hosted by Aarron Walter and Eli Woolery and brought to you by InVision, the digital product design platform used to make the world’s best customer experiences. Discover more best practices, research, and resources at www.designbetter.com.
Greg Hoffman: Creativity is a team sport
There is probably no better training ground than Nike to learn about creativity as a team sport, and Greg Hoffman, former Chief Marketing Officer of Nike, shares this lesson—along with many other valuable insights—in his new book, Emotion by Design.
In this episode, we chat with Greg about how his childhood shaped the way he thinks about creativity and collaboration, how working in inspiring spaces can influence your work (and how you might accomplish that in a remote environment), and about curiosity as a catalyst for creativity.
Greg Hoffman is a global brand leader, former NIKE Chief Marketing Officer, and founder and principal of the brand advisory group Modern Arena.
For over 27 years, Greg held marketing, design, and innovation leadership roles at NIKE, including time as the brand’s CMO. In his most recent role as NIKE’s Vice President of Global Brand Innovation, he led teams tasked with envisioning the future of storytelling and consumer experiences for the brand.
Greg oversaw NIKE’s brand communications and experiences as NIKE was solidifying its position as one of the preeminent brand storytellers of the modern era and the leading innovator in digital and physical brand experiences. His role in the rise of marketing and design through that period was recognized in 2015 when Fast Company named him one of the Most Creative People in Business. He’s also been recognized for his transformative leadership in the industry through the Business Insider’s 50 Most Innovative CMO’s and AdAge’s Power Players annual lists.
For over two decades, he was a major strategic and creative influence for Nike at every major global sporting event, for the launches of NIKE’s signature products and innovations, and for the building of the brands of its athletes.
Through his leadership, Nike drove themes of equality, sustainability, and empowerment through sport in some of its most significant brand communications. That work was, in part, driven by his role on the Advisory Board of the NIKE Black Employee Network and as a member of the NIKE Foundation Board of Directors.
Today as founder and principal of Modern Arena, Greg advises Fortune 1000 brands, startups, and nonprofits in creating brand strength, business growth, and social impact. He sits on the advisory boards of the brands Shred Adventures and AO-Air and is a board member for Summit Impact, the philanthropic arm of Summit Series.
In addition, he is the Branding instructor at the University of Oregon's Lundquist College of Business and the Innovation Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. In 2022, Greg brings all of his brand experience to the world through his new book Emotion by Design: Creative Leadership Lessons From a Life at Nike.
Felecia Hatcher: Moments of enchantment
Often it’s the little things, and not the flashy technology or slick user interface that make a product or experience memorable. The handwritten note from customer service, or the humorous quote that pops up as you’re waiting for a screen to load. Our guest today, Felecia Hatcher, calls these “moments of enchantment,” and she advocates for more opportunities for a human touch, as artificial intelligence and machine learning push us in the opposite direction.
Felecia is the CEO of Black Ambition, an organization founded by Pharrell Williams that works towards closing the opportunity and wealth gap through entrepreneurship. Prior to her current role, she was Chief Popsicle and co-owner of Feverish Ice Cream, and was Co-Founder & Executive Director of the Center for Black Innovation.
In our conversation, we talk about the perpetual growth and achievement across her career, what she learned bootstrapping her ice cream business from her parent’s backyard to Fortune 500 clients, and how her entrepreneurial experiences shape the way she advises and mentors students and entrepreneurs.
Felecia Hatcher is on a mission to rid communities of innovation deserts by working with community leaders and government officials to create inclusive and diverse tech/startup ecosystems as the Co-Founder of Code Fever, Black Tech Week and Tribe Cowork and Urban Innovation Lab.
Hatcher has raised over 3 million dollars to support Code Fever's work which sits at the intersection of economic development and inclusive innovation. As an Author, Social Entrepreneur and the former Chief Popsicle of Feverish Ice Cream, Hatcher was named one of the Empact 100 Top 100 Entrepreneurs under the age of 30 by the White House and Kauffman Foundation in 2011, a 2014 White House Champion of Change for STEM Access and Diversity, Ruth Shack Honoree, 2017 Comcast/Nationswell Tech Impact Allstar, a Black Enterprise 2017 TechConnext Game Changer and 2016 Innovator of the Week, Essence Magazine Tech Master, and featured on the NBC Today Show, MSNBC, FORBES, INC, The Cooking Channel, & Grio’s 100 African American’s Making History.
Rewind: Seth Godin: Learning to take risks, be generous, and make a ruckus
If you don’t know who Seth Godin is, just type “Seth” into Google or DuckDuckGo. The first entry will lead you to his blog, where he writes—every day—about marketing, design, writing, how being a better human will make you better at your job.
Once you’ve started to read his blog, you’ll probably be hungry for more of his wisdom. He’s written over eighteen bestselling books on business and marketing, including Linchpin, Purple Cow, and The Dip.
We’ve been following Seth for a long time, and his writing and speaking have influenced how we think about creating and marketing products. So it was a huge honor to have him on our show, where we spoke about subjects ranging from how to take risks in your career, to why being creative is an act of generosity, to the idea of “creative destruction.”
We hope you enjoy our conversation with Seth as much as we did, and after you finish, we encourage you to go make a ruckus.
Why the counterintuitive idea of “surplus” means that, despite everything going on in the world, we all have access to more resources than the last King of France did. Why writing is often the best starting point for almost any type of creative work. Why a company is more like an organism than an organization
Seth is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker and teacher. In addition to launching one of the most popular blogs in the world, he has written 19 best-selling books, including The Dip, Linchpin, Purple Cow, Tribes, and What To Do When It's Your Turn (And It's Always Your Turn). His most recent book, This is Marketing, was an instant bestseller in countries around the world.
Though renowned for his writing and speaking, Seth also founded two companies, Squidoo and Yoyodyne (acquired by Yahoo!).
By focusing on everything from effective marketing and leadership, to the spread of ideas and changing everything, Seth has been able to motivate and inspire countless people around the world.
In 2013, Seth was one of just three professionals inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame. In an astonishing turn of events, in May 2018, he was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame as well. He might be the only person in both.
Seth created the altMBA and Marketing Seminar to transform online education and help people connect with their audience.
Dr. Sian Proctor: Building common languages
If you’re looking for an inspiring human being, it would be hard to beat Dr. Sian Proctor. Dr. Proctor is a geoscientist, and also an artist and poet who uses her afro-futurist space art to encourage conversations about women of color in the space industry.
For 21 years, she taught geology, sustainability, and planetary science. She also happens to be an astronaut(!), and was the mission pilot for the Inspiration4 all-civilian orbital mission to space. Her call sign “Leo” was eaned from her crewmates, who consider her a modern-day Rennaisance woman in the mold of Leonardo DaVinci.
This special episode of the Design Better Podcast was recorded at an internal event for InVision, where we brought Dr.Proctor in to speak to our team. After her inspiring presentation, we had the chance to interview her, and we spoke about topics ranging from imposter syndrome, to learning to speak the language of your collaborators, to the natural synthesis between art and science.
Dr. Proctor is a geoscientist, explorer, space artist, and astronaut. She is the mission pilot for the Inspiration4 all-civilian orbital mission to space. She is also one of The Explorer’s Club 50: Fifty People Changing the World. Her motto is called Space2inspire where she encourages people to use their unique, one-of-a-kind strengths, and passion to inspire those within their reach and beyond. She believes that we need to actively strive for a J.E.D.I. space: a just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive space as we advance human spaceflight.
Dr. Proctor spent 21 years as a professor teaching geology, sustainability, and planetary science at South Mountain Community College, Phoenix, Arizona. She is currently the Open Educations Resource Coordinator for the Maricopa Community College District. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science, an M.S. in Geology, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction: Science Education. She recently finished a sabbatical at Arizona State University’s Center for Education Through Exploration creating virtual field trips. She did her 2012-13 sabbatical at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Emergency Management Institute developing their science of disasters curriculum. She has appeared in multiple international science shows and is currently on A World Without NASA and Strange Evidence. You can follow her on social media @DrSianProctor.
IBM’s Katrina Alcorn: Developing partnerships
If you lead a team of over 700 people, what skills would you need to bring to the table to help them collaborate effectively? In today’s episode, we chat with Katrina Alcorn, General Manager of Design at IBM, about how she develops partnerships across her organization to resolve conflicts and get aligned. We also talk to Katrina about the challenges that large teams face in remote and hybrid environments, how her training in journalism influences her work as a leader, and what she learned about living a balanced life from writing her book Maxed Out: American Moms on the Brink.
Katrina Alcorn spent the first decade+ of her career as a consultant, leading strategic design and research initiatives for startups, non-profits, and Fortune 500s in a variety of industries including financial services, medical devices, energy, e-commerce, the arts, and education.
In 2015 she went “in-house” and learned what it means to be a change-maker from the inside. Katrina built two successful design practices, the first at Hot Studio (bought by Facebook in 2013) and the second at Autodesk, centralizing all digital design and research functions, leading to major improvements in e-commerce sales and customer satisfaction.
Nir Eyal: How to be Indistractable
You’re sitting at your desk, trying to do some deep work—finishing up a presentation, writing some code, sketching out a new interface—and you hear a noise. It’s the familiar knock of Slack, or the chime of your e-mail inbox. All of a sudden, you’re taken away from a state of flow and into an attempt to multi-task, which is the enemy of getting things done.
By some estimates, distractions cost the US economy more than $650 billion dollars a year in lost productivity. And Nir Eyal, bestselling author of the book Hooked, may have been the inspiration behind some of the most habit-forming products out there.
But he also has another book, Indistractable, which can give you the tools to avoid distractions both at work and at home. In this episode, we chat with Nir about what got him interested in the intersection of technology and psychology, how we as consumers can have a better relationship with habit-forming products, and how he—as a parent— thinks about kids and technology.
Nir Eyal writes, consults, and teaches about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business. Nir previously taught as a Lecturer in Marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford.
Nir co-founded and sold two tech companies since 2003 and was dubbed by The M.I.T. Technology Review as, “The Prophet of Habit-Forming Technology.” Bloomberg Businessweek wrote, “Nir Eyal is the habits guy. Want to understand how to get app users to come back again and again? Then Eyal is your man.”
He is the author of two bestselling books, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products and Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life.
Indistractable received critical acclaim, winning the Outstanding Works of Literature Award as well as being named one of the Best Business and Leadership Books of the Year by Amazon and one of the Best Personal Development Books of the Year by Audible. The Globe and Mail called Indistractable, “the best business book of 2019.”
In addition to blogging at NirAndFar.com, Nir’s writing has been featured in The New York Times, The Harvard Business Review, Time Magazine, and Psychology Today.
Nir invests in habit-forming products that improve users’ lives. Some of his past investments include Eventbrite (NYSE:EB), Anchor.fm (acquired by Spotify), Kahoot! (KAHOOT-ME.OL), Canva, Homelight, Product Hunt, Marco Polo, Byte Foods, FocusMate, Dynamicare, Wise App, and Cutback Coach.
Nir attended The Stanford Graduate School of Business and Emory University.
insightful for designers and, well, everyone!
I found Design Better after starting a UX Boot Camp. I learn so much from the guests and the hosts, especially as a designer. I appreciate the diverse guests and resources shared, too! Learning about ethics from Airbnb or cultivating a healthy and diverse culture from Netflix execs has been so inspirational. Some of my favorite episodes aren’t directly design related- like John Cleese, or the guys from Apple +.
I get so much from the thoughtful interview questions and long form conversations. I look forward to each episode!
This show is really good but I wish it was a little louder and the interviewers were a little better. Overall very informative though
Gave it a few episodes. These interviews are terrible and not particularly relevant to design. Seems like these guests are stretched to give intelligent or coherent answers.