In the moment: FUSE: Design Leadership

Indra Nooyi and Mauro Porcini.

The duo atop PepsiCo are turning a frugal follower into a design driven organization. They hold the positions of CEO and CDO respectively. The relationship between these two titles has no real comparison considering the Chief Design Officer is too new and design is just entering this level of the conversation. So, we can be certain Indra and Mauro are setting a new high bar for a design driven organization.

But, this is not the real story here. Mauro has spoken at FUSE in the past and PepsiCo has had an ongoing interest in the potential of design. The real story is the fact that a CEO is on the stage at FUSE. This is a message for the design circles and a message for the business community. This date marks a moment in time when a CEO of a fortune 500 company took the stage at FUSE alongside the CDO and talked about the future of design.

Now, there are plenty of ways this kind of discussion could have been easy and needed not much more than a solid discussion and moderation. But, then we met Indra and the audience fell in love with a CEO speaking with authenticity. Indra even talked about "shipping air and water" as one of the core challenges of their business. How sustainable is this behavior and how can they change?

There are great changes necessary to face the future economy. While it is impossible to predict which brands will lead with the right kind of change, the relationship between Indra and Mauro gives this design commentator confidence in PepsiCo.


Darrel Rhea said...

Designers are constantly striving to "get a seat at the table." Mauro clearly has earned a partnership with his CEO and his peers, and that can only come from delivering on what design promises. I see a lot of CEOs interested in Design, but getting them confident enough to face a large audience of designers to talk about it is a challenge. Congrats to Mauro for his leadership in Design Management.

Aaron Keller said...

Darrel Rhea, pleased to see you reading our work, much appreciated. And, yes, we agree entirely. It was good to see Mauro there filling such a large chair (and our tweet about his shoes garnered the largest social engagement).

Though, after further thought, it was even more impressive to have Indra there as the CEO of Pepsi in front of a design, marketing, and innovation audience.


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