Handrail is excited to announce that Doug Powell, Vice President of Design at IBM, has joined founder Sean McKay on our Handrail Board of Directors.

Doug is a renowned design leader currently responsible for integrating and scaling IBM’s design thinking practice across the company’s global network of design studios and more than 2,000  designers. Throughout his career as a designer, entrepreneur, and industry leader, Doug has successfully built and scaled effective organizations based on thoughtful and effective design and research practices. 

In addition to the impressive initiatives Doug leads at IBM, he is a respected keynote presenter and lecturer at leading professional conferences and academic design programs worldwide. He’s a recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Sam Fox School of Design at Washington University in St. Louis, and the 2014 Fellow Award from AIGA Minnesota.

Doug’s perspective and experience in demonstrating the importance and value of scaling design will be a tremendous asset for Handrail as we look to help enterprises scale their research efforts and improve business outcomes.  Under Doug’s leadership, IBM has demonstrated improved outcomes and increased client value through its design thinking framework. Read more about the ROI of design in Forrester’s Total Economic Impact of IBM’s Design Thinking Practice.           

The Importance of Scale

For enterprises to realize the benefits IBM is seeing, they must work to scale and mature their design and research practices.

“Doug brings a great understanding of the importance of scaling design, research, and insights to improve product and service effectiveness,” said Handrail founder Sean McKay. “We are pleased to integrate Doug’s expertise as an entrepreneur, community builder, and global design expert as we continue to develop an innovative research and insights platform that enables product teams to organize and scale.”

Success in the Experience Economy

“Easy to use is no longer optional in the new experience economy. We believe that successful companies will now be defined by two things: the ability to continuously gain human understanding and to integrate those insights into product decisions,” said Handrail founder and CEO Sean McKay. “We’ve bootstrapped our product to date and decided the time was right for investment given enterprise design and research organizations have begun to scale at an incredible rate.”

In addition to Forrester’s Total Economic Impact report, InVision recently released one of the largest studies ever conducted on design. While many organizations are working to scale, “just 5% of those surveyed are reaping the greatest benefits.” The full report further describes the “astronomical impact design has on the business.” A key takeaway from the report is that “companies can level up by incorporating more user research and collaboration into digital product design” and building user research programs will help as design teams mature. Handrail provides an end-to-end platform to help research and design teams collaborate across the organization.

The Opportunity

For years, design leaders have worked tirelessly to get the designer, and by proxy the customer, a seat at the table. Thanks to all who fought the good fight to make this happen. We believe that we can’t squander this opportunity-we need to be effective in improving customer and business outcomes. That’s why we are so excited about what Handrail has to offer to our fellow practitioners, to customers, and to enterprises.

“I am honored to serve on the Handrail Board of Directors,” said Doug Powell. “Handrail is a critical component that will enable design and user research organizations to work with more efficiency and agility. As design organizations mature at the enterprise level, they need to find new ways to scale their operations; Handrail makes that happen.”

About Handrail

Handrail helps enterprise teams scale their research practice. As research and design practitioners, we built Handrail to help teams collaborate throughout the entire user research process. You can collect, analyze, store, and share your research all in one location. Talk with one of our research experts to see if we might be able to help your research team level up and scale your efforts.

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