The Business of Design in a Health Care Business Unit


As the Watson Health Design team grew from a handful of designers to over a 100 designers my roll transitioned from design lead to design manager. A significant part of my job is proving the value of design to the business.


When I joined Watson Health I was leading a small design team working on a single product but as the design team grew I was asked to take on a new roll as a manager. Managing in a new and growing organization that allowed me to work with executives to prove the value of design.

My method for proving design value is to show how user-centered design can impact a product. Since I had previously been leading a product team that was trying to get a product to market that had been delayed by usability problems created by not having designers on the product I used that example. Framing it for the business resulted in by in that ensured every product within the portfolio would have a design team large enough to do user-centered development.

I continued to work to justify to the business the addition of 9 designers to the Life Sciences team. Educating and siting examples where design teams were able to bring value to the business ensured that the designer would be a part of user driven developed products rather than feature driven products.

Increasing the numbers of designers across the business unit from a few dozen to well over a 100 created a need to build a community of practice or Guild. The community's self-defined objectives were to learn from each other and make connections. I enabled that by coordinating bi-weekly meetings were we reviewed several teams work and encouraging smaller communities of practice focused on subjects such as designing for cognitive, data visualization, design leadership and designing for behavior change.


Senior Design Manager for Watson for Life Sciences and Guild Lead.


The Life Sciences organization has grown to rely on staffing design teams on ever product it is currently developing. The products that are being developed are all useful and useable for users, viable to the business and technically feasible to build.


Web Application and a product partnership with the users, business and development.



To lead the Watson Health Design Community of practice I used so everyone had a voice in the Guild objectives and goals.