- Client: AT&T Foundry Palo Alto
- When: 2015-2017
- Team: Team of Product Managers, Business Analysts, Data Scientists, Software Engineers, User Experience Designers and Researchers, Marketers
- My Roles: Head of User Experience Design and Research, Business Development and Partnerships Lead, Business Innovation Strategist, Innovation Lead, and Product Manager
I joined the Ericsson team at the AT&T Foundry in Fall 2015, and my experience has been extremely diverse and fulfilling. My work spans a number of disciplines and industries as we work to create innovative solutions to challenging problems.
The AT&T Foundries are a network of six innovation centers across the world–Palo Alto, Atlanta, Houston, Plano (2), and Israel, each sponsored by a different company or internal organization. In Palo Alto, we are sponsored by Ericsson and jointly innovate with team members from both AT&T and Ericsson. As a member of the Ericsson team at the AT&T Foundry, I serve as a bridge between the two companies.
The Foundries were originally created several years ago as an open, collaborative environment to inspire and promote the rapid invention and innovation of strategic ideas from concept to commercialization. Foundry team members drive their own projects and champion them to stakeholders, much like entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. Projects emerge from personal passions, business unit needs, external partnership opportunities, and our employee crowdsourcing platform.
As one of the top internal brands to AT&T, we are highly regarded internally as the reliable source of all types of innovation, with a special focus on efficiency and disruptive innovations.
I was hired to lead design at the Foundry, and since then I’ve led numerous design projects, trained up team members, and worked on initiatives to bring design thinking to all of AT&T. I am frequently consulted on how to apply design to products, teams, processes, and business models. My work ranges from exploratory research to ideation to prototyping and implementation.
For instance, since 2016, I have collaborated with my teammate on the design portion of building a highly trafficked, enterprise product to provide a complete, seamless, self-service experience to incubate and validate any virtual network function against AT&T’s Domain 2.0 Architecture as part of the release of ECOMP (Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy). Check out some press on this project and how we are in the process of open sourcing it in 2017:
Has AT&T ICE’ed VNF Onboarding?
AT&T ICEs Vendors of Virtual Network Functions
In 2015, I immersed myself with our key enterprise customers to understand their needs and expectations around our new Network on Demand product. My research uncovered key product strategies and features that our team was able to champion both companies.
In 2016, I led design for yet another engaging, enterprise design project, though for an internal tool this time. Our efficiency innovation reduced the time for network capacity engineers to plan out how to decommission legacy network machines from several weeks to hours.
Over the years as the head of design at the Foundry, I have trained my teammates in design thinking through collaborative projects, coaching, mentorship, and workshops. In turn, my colleagues are now applying design thinking to their work and even leading training sessions of their own.
One such instance occurred in 2016 when my colleague and I conducted interactive design thinking workshops for middle school and high school women interested in technology. Read more about our contribution here: AT&T hosts Girls in Future Technologies (GIFT) Day
My design team has found success identifying and solving difficult problems they could never have imagined in short periods of time through my guidance. One team member dove into understanding the needs of Uverse and DirecTV installation and maintenance technicians for several weeks. His research uncovered so many high impact opportunities that when we presented our work to the Senior Vice President responsible for these teams, the SVP allocated millions of dollars in resources to addressing these findings immediately.
Business Strategy and Partnerships in Emerging Technologies
While at the Foundry, I have had the pleasure to engage with hundreds of startups working in emerging technologies. In early 2016, I became especially curious to learn more about augmented and virtual reality and identified it as a high potential path to new revenue streams.
With my market research, I educated, championed, and began the dialogue within AT&T to apply these emerging technologies to our business strategy. As concrete demonstrations of strategic AR/VR plays, I sought out and developed strong partnerships with leaders in the industry to create cutting-edge projects.
In one such project, my partners and I created an augmented reality, spatial tagging tool for camera teams and film production crews using the Hololens in collaboration with FOX Studios.
In another, my partners and I developed hands-free, interactive, virtual reality entertainment experiences for hospitalized children and tested immersive entertainment as a form of distraction therapy.
Along with our numerous technology and design projects, marketing, partnerships, and thought leadership are similarly top of mind. I have contributed on visual design, information architecture, content strategy, startup partners, and developing marketing and brand collateral for several key initiatives, some of which are elaborated below.
Specifically, six times a year, we host the Futurecast Series, where we invite an honored guest to participate in a deconstructed panel where the curated audience is invited to participate in the conversation between the guest and moderator. Before the discussion, we also invite relevant startups to demo their latest and greatest to attendees. All our past and future events can be found on our website.
In 2016, we also began the Futurist Reports. In this series, we dig into technologies and trends while highlighting key insights that are reshaping entire industries and our world-at-large. Each report includes an industry-wide view from a diverse array of leading experts and features select startups at the forefront of technology. We delve into broader business implications of these technologies and explore indicators such as collaborations, investments, market demands, and technology advancements. Check out our latest reports on the Future of Drones and the Future of Entertainment.