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The Yin-Yang of Design and Business
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Richard Whitehall

Partner, Smart Design

Anna Soisalo

Director of Strategy, Smart Design







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Session Description:


This session will be hosted by a business strategist (Anna Soisalo) and a designer (Richard Whitehall) who will represent some of the tensions and opportunities in closer relationships between the design and business perspective

Creating great and meaningful experiences is equally about crafting an exciting vision as it is the process of making that vision real. With technology changing the way we communicate, consume and interact, it is increasingly crucial to understand how to support the evolving experiences we design. That support comes from having the right organization, people and processes in place.

Designers are working with business strategists and technologists more so than ever before on service design. Companies are recruiting creative technologists and marketeers need to understand not just their customers' needs but also the opportunities afforded by new technologies. At the same time, companies are reaping the benefits from mixing capabilities to solve complex human and business challenges. As a result, a new understanding has emerged about how to design, prototype, validate and implement services with a substantial focus on making it real.

In this session we will focus on:
1. How to balance business thinking and design so that the disciplines complement and strengthen one another
2. The core tools and techniques non-designers bring that complement existing design and innovation approaches
3. How to convince a senior leader who is NOT from a design background to invest innovation and design





Richard Whitehall is a Partner at Smart Design, responsible for leading high-profile engagements and building the company’s Design and Innovation Consulting practice. He brings a unique blend of design excellence and visionary purpose to lead Smart Design’s team of experts and their collective contribution to the global conversation on business and design.


Richard is committed to delivering results across Smart’s key areas of expertise. He is a driving force behind the organization’s exploration of emerging areas of design and is an influential mentor in thought leadership. He is constantly looking for new ways that design and technology can make a difference to organizations, their customers, end users and employees.


He focuses on business innovation, specifically, the emergence of new services and products in the areas of mobility, health care, and wellness, as well as how design can help craft new relationships between organizations and consumers.


Richard serves on the Design Management Institute’s Advisory Board and co-chaired DMI’s Design at Scale Conference in New York. Richard has spoken at events across the U.S. and in the EU and received numerous awards for his work, including IDEA Gold and D&AD Product Design Awards. Richard graduated from the industrial design engineering program at the Royal College of Art in London, holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Bristol, and practiced as a product designer in the U.K. and Japan before moving to Brooklyn, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.


Anna Soisalo is Smart’s Director of Strategy, taking a lead on driving the business case for design and helping clients to achieve organisational change with a design approach.


With a background in consultancy and digital strategy, Anna helps clients to navigate the rapidly evolving digital landscape, while integrating design into their future vision and commercial capabilities. Her experience in operational, organisational, business service and interactive design means she is focused on developing solutions that deliver greater customer engagement alongside bottom line results.


Anna previously led the digital business design practice at DigitasLBi, advising clients on the development of digital services during a transformational phase for the marketing industry. She has also held roles at Accenture and Newton Circus, a digital innovation agency in Singapore.


Anna’s clients have spanned a range of industries, including healthcare, pharmaceuticals, FMCG, transportation and telecoms.




more Calendar

10/7/2018 » 10/9/2018
dmi: Design Leadership Conference

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