Nice to meet you.
I'm Founder and "Chief Bureaucrat" of The Enigma Bureau, a design and innovation strategy consulting firm.
The Enigma Bureau's mission is to decode the complexity and mystery of the "fuzzy front end" of new product development. We bridge design, technology and marketing in order to help you define and answer the fundamental questions: Who are your customers? What do they need and want? What should you build to improve their lives? And how do you create growth by doing it?
I've wanted to be a designer since I started drawing cars at age 6, and use it as a means to improve people's lives in ways large and small. I've worked on toothbrushes for kids, Mission Control for NASA, and everything in between: physical products, digital ecosystems, and service experiences.
Most of my career has been in design and innovation consulting, including 10 years in leadership roles at the global consultancy frog design. I was one of the first strategists at frog, and the first doing ethnographic type user research. I led engagements for a wide variety of clients including HP, Microsoft, NASA, Colgate, Clorox and South Korea Telecom.
After frog, I went in-house to work on new product development end-to-end at Financial Engines, a mission-driven fintech firm that helps everyday people with planning for retirement. As a director level product manager at FE I led much of the innovation and re-imagining of the customer experience, managed Agile teams, and worked closely with teams and stakeholders throughout the company to conceptualize and bring products to market at scale.
My BFA in Industrial Design with High Distinction is from California College of the Arts in San Francisco. I was named in the top 100 most distinguished alumni of the school’s first 100 years.
I received an MA in Humanities from University of Chicago, in an interdisciplinary program where I combined sociology, ethnography, anthropology, cultural theory and art history, to create a "design research" program before these really existed.
My Writing and Speaking
My thinking on innovation, design, and business has appeared in publications as diverse as Harvard Business Review, Cnet, Metropolis, and Form, and I've spoken at conferences and given workshops worldwide. In addition to teaching for several years at the California College of the Arts, I've been a guest lecturer at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, the IESE Business School in Barcelona, and ENSCI in Paris.
Some articles for HBR include:
- What You Can and Should be Doing With Your Customer Journeys
- Using Customer Journey Maps to Improve Customer Experience
- Touchpoints Bring the Customer Experience to Life
My book, Innovation X: Why a Company’s Toughest Problems are its Greatest Advantage, was published by Jossey-Bass (a division of Wiley). It's available on Amazon
I have spoken internationally about design, business and innovation, including for the World Economic Forum, TEDx Taipei, Citrix Systems, Salesforce.com, the Lift Conference in Geneva, the Next Web conference in Amsterdam, and many others.
I've been a guest lecturer at several institutions: Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, IESE Business School in Barcelona, and the École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle (ENSCI), Paris.
I've had a lifelong interest in photography, and pursue it whenever I have time. You can see my photography portfolio at Adam John Richardson Photography.
I also have a side project where I combine my love of photography with my modest collection of quasi-vintage product design classics, in particular products from Olivetti. Check out Mass Made Soul, and the MMS Instagram feed.