At IBM, we're on a mission to create a sustainable culture of design and to bring human-centered design to our thousands of product experiences. To accomplish this goal, we've launched a new global design organization based in Austin, Texas, where designers, engineers, and product managers collaborate to help change our approach to product design and development.
The challenge of driving such a massive cultural change isn't insignificant. We're practicing design thinking at a global scale and at a level of complexity that's never been seen before. With product teams dispersed around the world, collaboration and alignment among key stakeholders can be extremely difficult. Likewise, the deep legacy of many of our products and businesses makes it particularly challenging to implement positive change.
The IBM Design Education + Activation program exists to spearhead this transformation by producing and delivering active learning experiences around the world. In 2014, our team engaged over 5,000 IBMers—educating them in new design frameworks and methodologies, coaching their teams, facilitating problem solving, advancing their practice, and inspiring their leaders.
In team-focused Designcamps, we work directly with IBM product teams to advance their work using a user-centered design thinking approach; different program versions meet different audience needs. Designcamp for Executives is a 1-day program introducing IBM executives to design thinking. Designcamp for Product Managers is a 2-day program specific to the product management discipline. Designcamp for Product Teams is an intensive, 5-day program where interdisciplinary teams infuse their projects with deep empathy for their users while learning design thinking in a collaborative, hands-on environment.
Designcamp for New Hires is a launchpad for designers new to the IBM Design organization. During the first three months of their employment, these emerging designers are prepared to actively contribute to product teams and practice design thinking at scale. Through project-based learning, the program emphasizes collaboration and empathy across disciplines and provides an important bridge between the academic and professional experiences.
We extend this bridge even further with our Maelstrom internship program, offered three times per year. For 8–10 weeks, our interns are immersed in radical collaboration with IBM product teams and armed with the tools they need to catalyze and evangelize our mission of cultural change.
And through our weekly Designline webcast series, we reach IBMers around the world. Each hour-long episode features a deep-dive on a particular design-related topic area, bringing together practitioners and subject matter experts to present case studies, share best practices, and answer questions.
In 2014, IBM Design was just getting started and we're already showing impressive accomplishments in important business areas, like our new Bluemix developers platform. Bluemix was built from the ground up using IBM Design Thinking and has 10 times more users today than initially projected.
Similar successes are common. According to Liz Holz, Design Lead for IBM's Security Division, "IBM Design's Education + Activation program has helped all of my teams transform our product development processes by increasing efficiency, enabling collaboration, and placing our emphasis back on the user."
Doug Powell, Design Principal & Program Director
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