Challengers & Icons

Series 4. Episode 1. PepsiCo – Why design-led innovation creates the most impactful cultural change

“Design is all about understanding what is relevant to people, what is relevant to the company, and then leveraging the tools that we have as a community, our ability to prototype and story tell, to accelerate the process of innovation,” says Mauro Porcini, Senior VP and Chief Design Officer for PepsiCo as he talks about how he is using design-led innovation to both shift how Pepsi operates as an organization and create the most impactful cultural change through its brand portfolio and new product development.

Recruited five years ago, Mauro is the first to hold the position of Chief Design Officer at PepsiCo. We were fortunate to spend some time with him recently and hear more about his designated role to spread design thinking at Pepsi, ultimately to enable better business practices and create more meaningful brands, products and solutions.

“Essentially, design has become the glue, the connector, the facilitator, the cultural interpreter among all the different functions, to drive solutions that are meaningful to people.”

One of Mauro’s most interesting comments was a remark on entire approach to the process of innovation, “In the science community it was renowned that to arrive at one innovation you needed to do thousands and thousands of experiments. Now, in branding, in marketing, those experiments are called mistakes, or failure. But if we change vocabulary, we change mind-set, and we say, you know what, to do innovation I need to do experiments… tweak more and more new ideas, and existing products, existing brands, or new ones, and finally arrive to the real innovation that can change the game.”

As Mauro champions the role of design-led innovation within Pepsi, and on the global design stage, we expect to see his influence have far-reaching effects as design-led innovation drives effective, impactful change across both the corporate world and consumer culture.

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