I am an innovation strategist, with a focus on user experience and new product innovation. I treat the notion of “product” very broadly, encompassing physical objects, digital experiences, services, and whole ecosystems that combine any and all of these.
I have a background in industrial design, interaction design, user research, strategy and marketing, with experience in both consulting and corporate settings. Currently I am a Principal Product Marketer at Financial Engines, a technology/financial services firm in Silicon Valley with a mission to help people of all means take more control over their financial destinies. I help lead new product/service development, customer research, and experience design (which includes web, mobile, print, and an advisor call center).
Prior to Financial Engines, I was at frog in San Francisco for almost ten years, with roles as Strategy Director and Creative Director. I was one of the early strategists at frog and helped establish the practice, and I was also the first person at the company doing in-depth, ethnographic type user research to inform the design process. I was responsible for overseeing many of frog’s engagements, helping clients think about the future of their businesses, finding new opportunities for growth, and bringing innovations to market.
I then shifted to become Assistant Vice President of Marketing for frog’s 10,000 person parent company, the Aricent Group (an IT services firm largely based in India) for which I led a major global rebranding iniative.
I am the author of the book Innovation X, which looks at the question of why so few companies are seeing the kinds of success they wanted from innovation, and how a new breed of complex problems are standing in the way of being more effective with innovation. Find out more about Innovation X >
My career path looks something like this:
Clients I have worked with include
Writing, Speaking, Teaching
In addition to my book, I frequently write about innovation, design, user experience, strategy and related topics. I currently write regularly for Harvard Business Review Online, I have written for several print publications including Design Management Journal, Innovation, and Metropolis. I maintained a blog here for five years, but now primarily write my blog for frog, called Amphibious. I have been a frequent contributor to frog’s Design Mind magazine, and for a time was a regular contributor to Car Design News, the premier website for professional car designers. I can be followed on Twitter @Richardsona
I speak frequently at conferences worldwide, and am an experienced facilitator of executive-level collaborative workshops. If you are interested in having me speak at an event, find more details on the Speaking page.
I have been an Adjunct Professor in the Industrial Design Program at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, where I started the design research course in 1998. I am a guest lecturer at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle in Paris, and at the IESE University of Navarra in Barcelona.
(See the Speaking page for details on my latest publications and appearances.)
BFA in Industrial Design with High Distinction from California College of the Arts in San Francisco. I was named in the top 100 most significant alumni of the school’s first 100 years.
MA in Humanities from University of Chicago, in an interdisciplinary program where I combined sociology, ethnography, anthropology, cultural theory and art history to do an early version of a “design research” program in the mid-90’s, before such a term existed.