Innovation Design @IBM

At IBM, I lead design strategy and direct project teams for state/local government and public education clients in 13 states across the U.S. Through my own blend of service design and strategy consulting methodologies, I work with clients to define clear business requirements, uncover user pain points, identify risks, and scope out potential solutions. I then assemble and lead a team of engineers to transform those ideas to small-scale MVPs that can then be built into full-scale, human-centered digital services.

The following is a selection of noteworthy projects I’ve worked on. (Client names are redacted to preserve confidentiality.)

Company

Role

Advisory Innovation Designer
2021 – Present

Team

Full stack engineers, business transformation consultants, data scientists, solution architects, designers, and sales teams.

Data integrity design for a pioneering digital service

Background

A state in the Pacific Northwest is working to reduce excessive use of force by law enforcement and forge a path towards greater trust and transparency between agencies and the public. IBM partnered with a state university on a proposal to create a centralized data collection system and a publicly-accessible interactive dashboard website. I led the design of a mid-fidelity dashboard website prototype for this proposal.

The data visualizations in these images have been blurred to keep client data confidential.

Challenges

Use of force data is complex, nuanced and controversial in its place in society. Our goal was to make this data publicly accessible, while also reducing any areas for misinterpretation that could lead to increased tensions between the public and the agencies reporting the data. From this goal a set of subgoals emerged: How might we design interactions that make it easy for data consumers with varying needs (researchers, community organizations, and the general public) to understand the data? How might we create safeguards that prevent misinterpretations and increase public trust in this government initiative?

Solution

I partnered with university subject matter experts to assist our data science team in comprehending the necessary data analysis insights for the dashboard. As the data scientists developed the visualizations, I led my team in designing the website prototype. We focused on user flows that would enable meaningful comparisons between agencies with similar policies and demographics, ensuring precise data comprehension and preventing inaccurate data insights. To facilitate future content creation by a separate team, I also crafted flexible and reusable content components that help users understand complex information.

Achievements

In addition to directing the design team, I also guided the overall engagement team of over 20 stakeholders in mapping proposal requirements to suitable technologies for the technical architecture and ensuring timely submission of the proposal. We succeeded in the bid process and won a $15M contract with the state ($7.5M for IBM software and services). I was recognized as an instrumental project leader and received an IBM Top Talent Award.

Improving the child welfare system through service design

Background

In an east coast state with a large rural population, the Department of Children & Families struggles with providing child protective investigators (CPIs) with up-to-date information during their site visits. CPIs in this state spend long hours driving between site visits in rural areas that have limited cell service. Without access to all the necessary data, a CPI may make the wrong decision about a child’s situation and unintentionally endanger the child.

Challenges

I joined this project midway through. It had stalled for weeks due to the internal technical team being unsure of which direction to take the project. They had brainstormed a long list of potential features, but without a definitive scope, they couldn’t determine how to structure the cloud architecture.

Solution

Through design thinking workshops with our sponsor user (a former CPI), I successfully led this cross-departmental technical team in narrowing down the long “wishlist” of features into a scalable minimum viable product. We designed a mobile app that allows CPIs to record offline case notes via speech-to-text and quickly syncs information when they have cell service again. This enables their managers to view the notes and help them make an informed decision on the case.

Empowering farmers with real-time data

Synopsis

I’m leading a team of designers on a volunteer-run open source project to create a mobile app that helps small farmers track and optimize their water usage, especially in drought conditions. The app is part of a comprehensive cloud solution using soil moisture sensors on the farm that combine weather, topography, geology, and plant germination data to generate real-time irrigation advice for each unique crop.

Project in progress – more details coming soon