Why Design? Why Now? PepsiCo Leaders On Design Thinking Culture Today

This morning at FUSE 2014, industry icons Mauro Porcini, Chief Design Officer, PepsiCo, Inc. and Indra Nooyi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo, Inc. took the stage with interviewer John Silva, President & Creative Director, DuPuis to discuss why design is so important in the success of a business, especially today.

According to Nooyi, before Porcini came to the company, she and her team at PepsiCo wanted to add a design element to the overall brand strategy.  “We knew we needed to bring someone in as a leader to bridge design and business, and there was only one person who met all the criteria, but the challenge was getting him. That was Mauro,” she explained.

Design is supposed to drive, elevate, and create stories across all touchpoints and across the world.  For Porcini, when he came to PepsiCo the challenge was how exactly to do just that consistently, across all touchpoints –all while doing it locally and globally at the same time.

“The way of thinking is the culture, the process to get to a solution. But, it’s really all about people in the innovation process,” Porcini said. “And to truly change the culture of the company, you need to understand what design thinking really is.”

The world is changing completely through acceleration and experience. According to Porcini, there are some key drivers of design in business today. First, is the Internet, which is creating global accessibility to knowledge and is ultimately, creating highly knowledgeable consumers.  Secondly, is the global market and e-commerce, which is changing the way we look at competition. Thirdly, is social media, which is creating communities of information creating a world where consumers are relying on each other for knowledge and perceptions.

“You’ve got to learn how to cut through the clutter in a very different way for the consumer,” said Nooyi.

She shared an example of men and women as consumers of Doritos. If you think about a woman consuming Doritos, for instance, they consume it very differently than men. “What is a snack for woman? How do they carry it? How do they eat in the office? Can it be crunchy? It’s a very different experience that for men,” she said.

Ultimately, in order to create a culture of Design Thinking, the product development team need to involve the design team very early in the process. Together, the two teams should collaboratively start from the initial product design and work all the way to the final product packaging alongside the design team.

About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 

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