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416: A Masterclass in Design with Mauro Porcini, Chief Design Officer at PepsiCo

Mauro Porcini is a widely known design thought leader, author, and first-ever Chief Design Officer at PepsiCo. He is also a presenter and judge on the TV shows New York by Design and America by Design on CBS and Amazon Prime Video. Mauro is from Italy, where he studied design in Milan and did his thesis on wearable technology with Philips Design. After opening and closing an agency with music artist Claudio Cecchetto, he spent 10 years at 3M, then was hired at PepsiCo as Chief Design Officer in 2012 to help them gain a competitive edge over their main competitors at Coke. In this role, he is infusing design thinking into PepsiCo’s culture and is leading a new approach to innovation by design that impacts the company’s product platforms and brands, which include Pepsi, Lay’s, Mountain Dew, Gatorade, Sodastream, Doritos, and many other brands. He leads teams based in cities all over the world, including but not limited to New York City, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, London, Moscow, New Delhi, Shanghai, Mexico City, and Cape Town. 

On the show today, Alan and Mauro talk about what it means to be a Chief Design Officer and how the role came about at PepsiCo. They also talk about the scope of design in an organization like Pepsico today, how design manifests in the work they do, and some examples of the type of work he is doing. Mauro tells us design is not about working with an outside agency; it is about the culture around everything in your company, from finance to branding to shipping and everything in between. PepsiCo realized they needed an outsider who could design their culture and found the perfect candidate in Mauro, who brought the five phases of design culture to their organization. 

In this episode, you’ll learn about:

  • What advice from Steve Jobs inspired PepsiCo to create the Chief Design Officer role? 
  • The five phases of redesigning culture 
  • What has changed over the past 15 years that is completely changing the business world? 
  • Three recent design examples to highlight three business goals

Key Highlights:

  • [02:20] Shoes as a source of love and pain (and business)
  • [05:50] How Mauro learned about innovation and timing
  • [10:45] Why PepsiCo created the Chief Design Officer position 
  • [24:24] Being understanding but still calling out bad behavior 
  • [25:30] How does design manifest at PepsiCo?
  • [33:15] Innovation is not just about a great idea; it’s about being able to take it to market. 
  • [36:10] 3 recent design examples to highlight 3 business goals 
  • [41:30] Pushing businesses forward through design rather than innovation 
  • [44:00] There are two different types of projects. 
  • [46:20] Divorce, depression, and the importance of a community that cares
  • [51:20] The barriers to entry are changing, and we need to change with them. 

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