My one year anniversary at IBM Design is on the horizon. Ten months in I have successfully co-created a new program that provides systematic incubation capabilities available to every business unit at the company. More importantly, I have, as Monteiro puts it, “designed” sixty designers. Together we created nine new products and services for a wide array of business domains including global procurement services, cognitive Internet of Things, cognitive education, cloud product support, cloud marketing SAAS, and Blockchain—patents pending.
I have learned a lot about myself and where I want to go in my career in the last year. After closing Happy Cog Austin, I was repeatedly asked what I wanted to do, and I didn’t have a good answer at the time. It goes without saying that I wasn’t prepared to go from studio owner one day to unemployed the next.
Now, after a year of working on the Incubator Program, I know without a doubt that I love leading and mentoring designers—especially the ones right out of school. I have had the privilege of working with world-class talent. But after time, I realized that as much as I enjoyed leading with these teams, I grew weary of having to start over after six-week sprints. It takes a lot of effort, energy, and passion to take a team of strangers and turn them into a highly functional product design team within a few weeks. I enjoyed the challenge, but I got tired of saying goodbye.
So I have been on a search for a different type of experience. I thought for sure this meant leaving Austin to join a team on the West coast. Many conversations were had, and multiple opportunities were on the horizon, but something seemingly came out of nowhere that I was not expecting.
A few weeks ago I was invited to join a new team at IBM with a mandate to duplicate the success of the Austin studio around the world (That’s right folks; Storey Style is going international). While I genuinely want to be reunited with the Pacific Time Zone, this is an opportunity I could not pass up. In this new role, I have the pleasure of working directly with design leaders I admire, and some of you know: Nigel Prentice, Sarah Nelson, and Doug Powell, who has a new role of his own.
In my first year at IBM, I proved that I’ve still got it when it comes to leading team’s of designers to fantastic outcomes—at a large scale. My attention will now be focused on building a global community for studio directors and design leaders in every continent except that cold one down South.
West Coast, I will see you soon, but I’ve got a new job to do.