In the past couple of months, I’ve had the privilege of hearing directly from more than 200 designers at a large tech company -- a pleasant barrage of thoughts and feelings that make up the fabric of a company culture and their experience. What we’ve been asking them about is what it’s like to be a designer these days inside their company, and one of the things we hear is that a mantle they hold on to proudly is that design, when working effectively, is meant to represent the voice and desire of the customer.
The last time I worked inside a large, consumer-oriented tech company, (which was 7 years ago, but now that I’m back, feels like very little time ago at all), I worked within product marketing. And interestingly, it was this very same mantra that brought me to marketing as a discipline -- I wanted to apply my background in cognitive psychology to uncover, understand, and represent peoples' needs and desires, both stated and unstated. Whether in the context of building products or changing cultures, my own core interest is in seeing what drives human behavior and how people react to change. I am drawn back to the technology industry over and over not because I care about bits and bytes, but because it is the most fertile ground for behavior change that exists in our world today.
I’ve been steeped in design cultures for the past seven years, six of them in its most raw, unadulterated form at Rhode Island School of Design. And though not a designer myself, I’ve found a comfortable home among designers, in the way that they look at the world and approach their work. In speaking to all of these designers recently, I’m reminded for not the first time that it’s because we both see the world through a people-centric lens.
Copyright 2009 - 2016, John Maeda