Douglas Powell

Member Since April 1989
Member Type Sustaining
AIGA Chapter Austin
Title IBM Distinguished Designer
Company IBM
Email moc.cam@1llewopsalguod
Website www.ibm.com/design/
Field Software design
Strategy
Design management
Bio

Doug Powell is a designer and Design Principal at IBM in Austin, Texas where he is helping to build the vision for IBM Design, a global effort to bring design into one of the largest and most successful companies in the world. Prior to joining IBM in 2013, Doug was an independent designer, strategist and entrepreneur leading successful projects for a wide range of clients and collaborative partners in health and nutrition, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Lifescan, and Pepsico. Doug recently served as consulting Creative Director for HealthSimple, working in close collaboration with the Johnson & Johnson Global Design team.

Doug is the immediate past national president of AIGA, the professional association for design. With more than 22,000 members in 66 local chapters, AIGA is the largest and oldest design organization in the country. He has been a leading force in the successful launch of Design for Good, the AIGA initiative to ignite, amplify, and accelerate design-driven social change.

A 1988 graduate of the School of Art at Washington University in St. Louis, Doug is a lecturer, commentator and thought leader on design issues, having presented at a variety of national conferences and forums including Bright Ideas on Minnesota Public Radio, the 2011 Mayo Clinic Transform Conference, and the 2012 TEDx ArtCenter.

  • Douglas authored "Making Change a Priority"
  • Douglas Powell commented on the article "Six Tips for Working for Social Profit"

    Rich, Thanks for sharing your wisdom and experience. It's great to have your strong leadership in our community, especially as we launch Design for Good and continue to empower designers to work in the social change space.  

  • Douglas Powell commented on the article "We Thank You, Steve Jobs"

    I’m one of the “straddle generation” of designers who have felt the full impact of Steve Jobs in our work and life because we launched our careers during the pre-Macintosh era. I entered the profession of design in 1988 when the tools of my trade included X-acto blades, waxers, and spray mount. In order to do my work in that era, I had to be sitting at a drafting table in a fully equipped design studio. Now I do my work on an iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Pro, and I do it wherever I please. Oh, and I listen to my music, watch movies, and stay in touch with the world around me using all of those devices too. Steve Jobs engineered this work and life style transformation. It’s increasingly rare that a single person can have this type of effect in our fragmented modern culture, and it’s a poignant moment to reflect on a figure whose vision, drive and influence has fundamentally shaped my professional life. Jobs’ influence stretches far beyond the “doing” of design—the devices and tools that help us do our job. His elevation of design as a central strategic component of business has opened a seat at the corporate table for designers of all disciplines. While we still face a tall challenge in making the case for the value of design in the business setting, Apple—led by Jobs—has become the case study that we’ve always lacked. Now the C-suite demands to “be like Apple,” and they know that designers are the ones to make that happen. http://mergedesignblog.com/2011/10/07/steve/  

  • Douglas Powell commented on the article "Making Change a Priority"

    This is a great question, Josh, and one that—as you well know—AIGA leaders have been trying to answer for decades. For me it comes down to the difference between being a "passive" member and being an "active" member. Ultimately the full benefit of AIGA comes when you become active at the local level by volunteering. While this may seem like a conflicted idea on the surface ("wait a minute...I have to pay for a membership AND volunteer???"), there are many hidden benefits that emerge when you activate your membership by volunteering, like strengthening your professional network, and broadening your skill set. To your point, the more members we have, the stronger our voice can be. We currently have more than 22,000 members and nearly a quarter million Twitter followers. This is an interesting paradox that validates for me that AIGA is a powerful force in the design world, but that we've got some work to do to make the case for membership. At the board level we are working hard to find more ways for more audiences to connect with AIGA. Stay tuned for some exciting activity in the months ahead. Here's a link to a Linked In dialogue in which a young designer is pondering AIGA membership. There are some remarkable testimonials here... http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Paying-AIGA-members-do-you-95409.S.57648986?view=&srchtype=discussedNews&gid=95409&item=57648986&type=member&trk=eml-anet_dig-b_mc-pmr-cn

  • Douglas Powell commented on the article "Six Tips for Working for Social Profit"

    Rich, Thanks for sharing your wisdom and experience. It's great to have your strong leadership in our community, especially as we launch Design for Good and continue to empower designers to work in the social change space.  

  • Douglas Powell commented on the article "We Thank You, Steve Jobs"

    I’m one of the “straddle generation” of designers who have felt the full impact of Steve Jobs in our work and life because we launched our careers during the pre-Macintosh era. I entered the profession of design in 1988 when the tools of my trade included X-acto blades, waxers, and spray mount. In order to do my work in that era, I had to be sitting at a drafting table in a fully equipped design studio. Now I do my work on an iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Pro, and I do it wherever I please. Oh, and I listen to my music, watch movies, and stay in touch with the world around me using all of those devices too. Steve Jobs engineered this work and life style transformation. It’s increasingly rare that a single person can have this type of effect in our fragmented modern culture, and it’s a poignant moment to reflect on a figure whose vision, drive and influence has fundamentally shaped my professional life. Jobs’ influence stretches far beyond the “doing” of design—the devices and tools that help us do our job. His elevation of design as a central strategic component of business has opened a seat at the corporate table for designers of all disciplines. While we still face a tall challenge in making the case for the value of design in the business setting, Apple—led by Jobs—has become the case study that we’ve always lacked. Now the C-suite demands to “be like Apple,” and they know that designers are the ones to make that happen. http://mergedesignblog.com/2011/10/07/steve/  

  • Douglas Powell commented on the article "Making Change a Priority"

    This is a great question, Josh, and one that—as you well know—AIGA leaders have been trying to answer for decades. For me it comes down to the difference between being a "passive" member and being an "active" member. Ultimately the full benefit of AIGA comes when you become active at the local level by volunteering. While this may seem like a conflicted idea on the surface ("wait a minute...I have to pay for a membership AND volunteer???"), there are many hidden benefits that emerge when you activate your membership by volunteering, like strengthening your professional network, and broadening your skill set. To your point, the more members we have, the stronger our voice can be. We currently have more than 22,000 members and nearly a quarter million Twitter followers. This is an interesting paradox that validates for me that AIGA is a powerful force in the design world, but that we've got some work to do to make the case for membership. At the board level we are working hard to find more ways for more audiences to connect with AIGA. Stay tuned for some exciting activity in the months ahead. Here's a link to a Linked In dialogue in which a young designer is pondering AIGA membership. There are some remarkable testimonials here... http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Paying-AIGA-members-do-you-95409.S.57648986?view=&srchtype=discussedNews&gid=95409&item=57648986&type=member&trk=eml-anet_dig-b_mc-pmr-cn