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In the moment: FUSE: Phil Duncan

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Welcome to the table.

Phil Duncan gives us a great perspective on what design needs to consider now that we are at the table in the C-Suite. He was both pragmatic and inspirational as he rolled out the rug of understanding.

His first list, from observations and patterns, how to get yourself to the table.

  1. "Busign" // know the language of business if you're a designer, and vice versa
  2. Listen for the real issue // dig deep with your ears to understand the real issue
  3. Show up and help teach // share more, teach more and be willing to teach
  4. Use your strengths // don't try to be strong at something you're not, use design methods
  5. Participating is key // don't shy away from participating in the conversation
  6. (the lost one) // did anyone get this one, feels incomplete without the sixth point. 

Then, Phil went into some great examples in diapers and how P&G started to prototype faster by keeping it less formal. They also focused some energy on looking at diapers as fashion. He also used an "elephant gift" research method to understand authentic human feelings about the "fashionable" diapers. The results have gained marvelous results.

Now, what to do when you get there? Mind your manners.

  1. Collaborate, more jazz, less virtuoso // keep it casual and "go with it"
  2. Speak less, show more // visual tools are the strength of designers, use them
  3. Have a point of view, respectfully // drop the attitude at the door, but have a viewpoint 
  4. Solve the problems that keep people up at night // do this and people will value you
  5. Don't "go native" // stay out of the traditional trenches of irrelevant design perspectives

After this list he went into some intriguing new solutions in razors, staying far away from the need to "just add one more blade" to the razor. They found new solutions to latent problems, primarily for men and you'd have to have been here to know more about the specific hair they targeted on the male form. I'm not going to touch that one.

Phil's last list was future focused.

Set your own table.

  1. Build it and they will come // not just baseball fields, design can think this far out
  2. Step up to the edge, trust your talent // being safe will only get you safe results
  3. No compromise, avoid the walk of shame // if you go down, go down in flames
  4. Push the boundaries of what design can lead // design is a way of thinking, about anything

Thank you Phil for leading in the world of consumable design. We know you can do more and believe you will, as you gain more influence. A large corporation like P&G can do so much more to influence consumption and turn it toward more positive, socially responsible consumption.

The lists above are first what Phil provided and second how we've interpreted his commentary.

Enjoy a moment.

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