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MEX Design Talk

Technology Podcasts


Robot relations; Ben Scott-Robinson, co-founder, Small Robot Company

Ben Scott-Robinson is designing the next generation of robot relations. Small Robot Company, the start-up he co-founded, must solve both the technical challenge of deploying rugged, autonomous robots on farms and the nuanced complexities of serving multiple users - from individual farmers to the animals the machines may encounter in the field. Ben talks to MEX founder Marek Pawlowski about how his deep experience in user-centred design, across both agencies and in-house teams, prepared him...


The future is in the air; Mark Rolston, co-founder, argodesign

Mark Rolston is working on the future, from mixed reality delivered via digital eyewear for the likes of Magic Leap, to experimental projects exploring how projected interfaces might materialise in the physical world. Mark talks to MEX founder Marek Pawlowski about his long career at frog design, where he led global creative after a 20 year tenure, and the co-founding of his own agency - argodesign - in 2014. The conversation ranges from the possibilities of emerging, next generation...


Agency foundations; Tom Wood, co-founder, Foolproof

Tom Wood, co-founder of Foolproof, joins Marek Pawlowski to talk about what it takes to build a user-centred design agency, from the initial inspiration 17 years ago during his time as Head of Advertising at Virgin Money, to setting a course for the future through an acquisition. The conversation ranges from the nuances of structuring design teams for ongoing skills development to how it feels to be on both sides of the table during design agency mergers. Tom and Marek also talk about their...


Multi-touchpoint revisited; Jason DaPonte, Strategy Principal, ustwo

Jason DaPonte has been at the cutting edge of digital experience design since the late 90s and shares some of the insights gained along the way with MEX founder Marek Pawlowski. They talk about Jason's current strategy role at design agency ustwo, as well as revisiting the evolution of multi-touchpoint experience design. The conversation expands to anecdotes from working on the earliest versions of the Washington Post's web-site to Jason's time at BBC Mobile and running his own agency...


Well travelled; Gavin Edwards, Director of Product Design & Research, Skyscanner

Gavin Edwards directs product design and research for Skyscanner, a travel search platform serving 90 million users a month. He talks to MEX founder Marek Pawlowski about applying research insights at scale, the cultural nuances of users' travel behaviours and his own journey through design agency work to leading in-house teams. Along the way, the conversations touches on design education, Gavin's love of engineering and tinkering, as well as hiring for large-scale design teams of 50+...


Nurturing design culture; Anna Bäck, CEO, Kivra

Anna Bäck has seen user-centred design from all angles: spending time as managing director of a small specialist agency, playing a leadership role at a larger agency as it became part of McKinsey and most recently as CEO of an expanding digital platform where she is nurturing a strong design culture throughout the organisation. She talks to MEX founder Marek Pawlowski about her formative experiences travelling the globe, her background in telecoms and engineering, as well as what kind of...


Research focus; Lada Gorlenko, Director of Experience Research, Smartsheet

In-depth user research has been a touchstone throughout Lada Gorlenko's fascinating career. She talks to MEX founder Marek Pawlowski about her current role leading experience research for work management platform Smartsheet, as well as everything from her background in cognitive science, working in prisons and her time working on Microsoft's mobile ambitions in the late 2000s. The conversation expands to explore the ingredients for effective conferences and the skills Lada looks for when...


Automotive experience; Sam Livingstone, Director, Car Design Research

From debuting concept cars in computer games to re-imagining autonomous vehicles as luxurious overnight sleeping cabins, Sam Livingstone has been advising the automotive industry on customer-led design strategy for over 20 years. He talks to MEX founder Marek Pawlowski about the opportunities for vehicle manufacturers to embrace digital experience design, the potential for re-imagining car brands and the nuances of understanding the next generation's attitudes to mobility. The conversation...


Fostering the global creative economy; Fiona Myles, Kin Branding

Fiona Myles runs her own agency, Kin Branding, working at the intersection of brand strategy and design thinking. In addition, she works all over the world delivering workshops and education programmes to foster a design-led, creative economy with organisations like Nesta and the British Council. She shares the story of her career with MEX founder Marek Pawlowski, touching on everything from user-centred design to the nuances of encouraging entrepreneurs to embrace design in different...


Experience thinking; Tedde van Gelderen, Akendi

Tedde van Gelderen, founder of design agency Akendi and author of the book Experience Thinking, shares the story of his career journey with MEX founder Marek Pawlowski. From client-side roles with Philips and Nortel, to founding and selling an earlier agency business, Tedde talks about the career experiences which informed his book. The conversation turns to the cultural challenges when companies evolve from product-driven to service-driven relationships with customers and touches on what...


Rethinking smartphones; Jo Barnard, Morrama

Jo Barnard is founder of the London-based design agency Morrama. She talks to Marek Pawlowski about the journey she's been on since founding the business four years ago. The conversation turns to the development of Morrama's beautifully considered smartphone concepts, part of a hybrid client and internal project which focuses on changing users' relationship with their phones through better industrial design. Along the way, Jo and Marek talk about the challenges of growing an agency, keeping...


Leadership research; Lidia Oshlyansky, Design Lead, Spotify

Lidia Oshlyansky has led numerous user experience teams in media and tech companies, including for Google's emerging markets research and now for growth opportunities at Spotify. She talks to MEX founder Marek Pawlowski about the nuances of successful field trips, her move from agency- to client-side and the challenges of building communities of practice in large organisations. The discussion ranges from her early path into the field to future ambitions for a return to designing hardware....


Laura Forlano, Associate Professor, IIT Institute of Design

Laura Forlano's diverse work as a writer, teacher and consultant bridges social sciences, design and emerging technology. She talks to MEX founder Marek Pawlowski about the wide range of projects she's involved with, from a book imagining what the Bauhaus might look like if it was practicing today through to the impact of autonomous vehicles on urban architecture. The conversation touches on techniques for communicating futuristic design ambitions to the practical challenges in encouraging...


Omar Bakhshi, Design Director, Smart Design

Omar Bakhshi sits down to share the story of his career, from tinkering with electronics as a child to the strategic projects he now leads at Smart Design for some of the world's largest companies. Marek and Omar reflect on how the challenges faced in designing digital experiences have changed since 12 years ago, when Omar first spoke at MEX, and the biggest problem was getting people to use the internet on their mobiles. The conversation dives into the nuances of future skills, Omar's dream...


Hampus Jakobsson, Venture Partner, BlueYard; Faster to next

Before becoming a prolific angel investor and partner at the thesis-driven VC firm BlueYard, Hampus Jakobsson helped co-found TAT, one of the most influential companies in mobile user experience. He talks to MEX founder Marek Pawlowski about the motivations and challenges of building user interfaces for some of the world's largest device manufacturers, as well as the decision to sell TAT to Blackberry. The conversation ranges from the unique virtues of Malmo in Sweden as a hub for creative...


Lifelong learning; Rachel Liu, Lead Service Designer, Pearson

Rachel Liu traces her path as a service designer to an early interest in making and a degree in computer science. She talks to MEX founder Marek Pawlowski about the evolution of her career, including the nuances of conducting complex user research in countries like China. The conversation touches on the way education in China has changed since Rachel's earlier talk at the MEX/16 conference and goes on to explore skills Rachel is honing in herself and others to progress the practice of...


Deep experience; Scott Weiss, VP Product Design, Babbel

Scott Weiss' career in user experience has its origins in the late 1980s, when he served an internship at Apple in the days of System 6 and 7. He went on to write one of the reference books on mobile user experience, 'Handheld Usability'. Today he leads product design for the language learning app Babel. He's seen the evolution of experience-led design from a wide range of angles, including founding his own New York-based design agency, working client-side for successful start-ups like...


Seeking reality; Amy Daroukakis, Director of Cultural Insights, Adjust Your Set

Amy Daroukakis has spent her career helping others to see the deeper reality behind users’ lives. Through travel, observation and research she is constantly on the look out for emerging trends. Her work has included time in-house at one of the world’s largest retailers and in a variety of agency roles working with clients from fashion to financial services. She talks to MEX founder Marek Pawlowski about her techniques and tools, as well as the path that led her into this area. Get in touch...


UX in the machine economy; Kerstin Eichmann, Managing Director, Innogy Innovation

As machines of all kinds become active participants in the economy, how will user experience strategy evolve to shape this new class of digital interactions? Kerstin Eichmann, managing director at Innogy Innovation, is working at the cutting edge of this challenge, helping one of Germany's oldest and largest energy companies imagine the future role it could play in users' lives. The conversation ranges from Kerstin's thoughts on how autonomous machines may exchange value with each other to...


Onika Simon; troublemaking, reality checks & innovation under pressure

How does a journey that begins with a degree in philosophy - and a chance conversation with a librarian - lead to a surprise move from Manchester to New York, one of the advertising industry's foremost fellowship programmes and a career-long interest in understanding customer behaviour? Onika Simon shares her story, including awards, working with Cisco and now a new direction where she's trying to make the most of everything she's learned along the way. Get in touch with feedback and...