Pampino, who operates out of Littleton, Mass, says IBM has been on a mission to stock its workforce with great designers from schools and industry around the world. "It is absolutely a dream job...they're coming in droves," she says. It's the kind of job that just hadn't been available until recent years at IBM, and now the company has design studios in Germany, Ireland, Shanghai, Texas and Massachusetts, to name some locations.
IBM has also been preaching design thinking to IT shops, even conducting highly participatory and sticky notes-heavy workshops to get these organizations to really understand how end users will experience new applications before completing development and deployment. Pampino's talking about getting organizations to really root down into "the empathy of who am I doing this for and why."
IBM's cloud-first approach to building products these days has helped the company better gauge customer reaction to design efforts, Pampino says. "We have more insight into what people are doing in the software, so we can really start using data to drive the experience," she says, adding an obligatory assurance that IBM isn't actually spying on customers by accessing such usage data. One challenge with shipping on-premises software, as IBM revealed it plans to do with its Verse messaging product, is that designers don't get the same sort of usage feedback. Until IBM really started going full-speed ahead into the cloud, it didn't know what it was missing.
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