Silicon Valley gurus teach design thinking at Nestlé

MANILA – In a major initiative to address evolving consumer needs proactively into the future, two globally recognized experts, Silicon Valley-based Stanford University professors Barry Katz and Michael Barry, recently held a workshop on design thinking for business unit leaders of Nestlé Philippines.

Design thinking is an empathetic, human-centered approach to resolving issues and problems, offering powerful tools grounded in state-of-the-art design methodologies and rigorous ethnographic practice. As an approach, design thinking has attracted attention for its success in Silicon Valley enterprises, and is now applied in various fields including technology, packaged goods, policy, education, financial services, and medicine.


Stanford University Professor Barry Katz outlines a requirement for Nestlé Philippines participants in a recent workshop on Design Thinking conducted by Katz and Stanford University Professor Michael Barry. 

“Design is, by definition, addressing the needs of somebody other than yourself…. it’s not ultimately about your concept, it’s about the effectiveness of your solution for somebody else, and how you’re going to get at the sort of deep insight into those needs that people are typically not able to express or articulate themselves…. So what we are talking about is developing tools that will enable us to get at some of those insights so we really can do something that will make people’s lives better,” Prof. Katz explained.

The two-day workshop for Nestlé Philippines was conducted as a master class with the goal of imparting a set of skills and to lay the foundations for a sustainable culture of innovation.

Describing the rationale for the activity, Nestlé Philippines Director of Communications, Marketing and Innovation Services Paolo Mercado, said: “Nestlé has been in the Philippines for 106 years, and we are passionate about serving Filipino consumers and helping enhance their quality of life. The lifestyle of Filipinos today is changing so rapidly, and we have to rethink our business, in terms of where needs are emerging and how to innovate ahead of those needs. It’s about intuiting those needs and creating the solutions. That’s the idea behind the workshop.”

Seaneen Arcilla (Consumer Marketing Manager Team Lead for MAGGI Sauces and Dairy Culinary) and JM Santos (Cold Beverage Solutions Marketing Manager – Nestlé Professional) ponder an exercise question with Stanford University Professor Barry Katz during a workshop on Design Thinking for Nestlé executives conducted by Katz and Stanford Professor Michael Barry.

Prof. Katz is Consulting Professor in the Design Division of Stanford’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Professor of Industrial and Interaction Design at the California College of the Arts in the heart of San Francisco’s “Innovation Corridor.” He is author of six books, including Change by Design with Tim Brown (2009), and Make it New: The History of Silicon Valley Design (MIT Press, 2015). He is Fellow at IDEO, Inc., the Silicon Valley-based design and innovation consultancy. He consults with companies, governments, and academic institutions worldwide. As founding dean of IDEO U Innovation Workshops, his first client was Nestlé Philippines some fifteen years ago.

Prof. Barry is Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University, and teaches in the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the where he is known as a master coach. He has over two decades of experience providing strategic and creative input at the early stages of the innovation process. He is an accomplished engineer and product designer and holds dozens of patents. His clients include some of the world’s leading corporations, including Nestlé.

Nestlé Philippines executives in a group problem-solving exercise during a two-day workshop on Design Thinking conducted by Stanford University Professors Barry Katz and Michael Barry.

Nestlé Philippines Chairman and CEO Jacques Reber said, “As we look at the coming decades which will present tremendous challenges, the key will be how to address the needs of people in compelling ways which may not be readily apparent. This is where design thinking becomes highly relevant in providing a way forward, in confronting complex situations where there may be a lack of clarity and information in the environment.”

In main photo: Sherlyn Natividad (Market Intelligence Executive) exchanges observations with Stanford University Professor Michael Barry at a recent workshop on Design Thinking for Nestlé Philippines executives. The workshop was conducted by Barry and Stanford University Professor Barry Katz. 

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