Q&A with Andrew Kaufteil, Senior Director, Growth & Partnerships @ Cooper

Andrew is the Senior Director, Growth and Partnerships for Cooper. Here he creates delightful and meaningful experiences for Cooper’s clients, alumni, friends, and followers, and helps Cooper increase its impact on the world. A skilled strategist and generative mastermind, Andrew identifies, manages and leads engagement campaigns across multiple channels to a wide set of audiences.

Before joining Cooper, Andrew had designed engagement programs for a number of organizations, including UCSF, where he served as Executive Director of Alumni Relations, as well as UC Berkeley, The George Washington University, National Defense University, Gratz College, and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. Andrew is an alum of Macalester College and the University of Connecticut School of Law.

Andrew is presenting Intro to Design Thinking at Agile India 2018 on March 7th, 2018.  Click here for conference details and tickets.

Q: How did you find design? 

A. Before Cooper, I served as Executive Director of Alumni Relations at UC San Francisco. I wanted to create more innovative marketing, event, and volunteer programs. I started learning about and applying design thinking as a framework for innovation. We ended up winning the CASE Grand Gold Award, the industry’s highest honor, for one of our human-centered alumni relations programs.

Q: Describe your role. 

A. My job is super diverse and stimulating. I manage a team that focuses on marketing, client relationships, and partnership-building. I also work as a service design consultant, teacher, and design evangelist.

Q: How do you and your colleagues generate creative ideas? 

A. Before we ideate, we look at stakeholder goals, and the ecosystem, including culture, organizational constraints, and resources. We then conduct research, i.e. we talk to real people to understand what their goals, motivations, and behaviors are. With that foundation firmly established, we think in wild ways. We dispose of our “Little Haters,” and let loose. We do whatever it takes to get there: play games, listen to music… I actually teach a class through Cooper Professional Education on this subject. 

Q: How do you encourage collaboration between teams? 

  1. Identify shared goals. 
  2. Have fun.
  3. Communicate. A lot. 
  4. Create a culture of feedback and radical candor. 
  5. Show appreciation and give credit!

Q: What advice do you have for leaders attempting to create an innovative workspace? 

From a 2015 Stanford study on workplace design and innovation:

  1. Create close proximity; maximize encounters between colleagues.
  2. Make your work environment diverse and flexible. Ideally, there should be secluded workspaces, larger meeting rooms, and team rooms. 
  3. Encourage employees to bring personal art and other objects that inspire them.

Watch my opening keynote on this very topic from Interaction South America 2017 in Floripa, Brazil.

Q: How do you see design evolving over the next years? 

A. I believe design — and empathy — will be the primary way companies solve problems and create new products, services, systems, and organizations. Design will be ubiquitous and second nature to every successful organization. Elementary schools are going to teach it. It will work in tandem with machine learning and big data to drive strategic decisions.

Q: Tell us about your talk/workshop. 

A. Teresa Brazen and I are going to co-teach Intro to Design Thinking. This class will be highly immersive and very fun. We will use design thinking to solve a common problem. Participants will work in teams, and develop an understanding of design vocabulary and methodology.Design will be ubiquitous and second nature to every successful organization. Elementary schools are going to teach it. It will work in tandem with machine learning and big data to drive strategic decisions.

Q: What is your idea of an Agile mindset in the context of UX Design?

A. Tests and mistakes are awesome — and part of the process. Perfect is not the goal.

Q: How can one utilize the Design Thinking approach in an Agile environment? 

A. Design thinking can help Agile developers make more strategic decisions and create smarter tests; it can help them to think and work more creatively.

Q: What is the hardest part about being a leader? 

A. The hardest part of being a leader is that you must sometimes make decisions that others disagree with, or that are upsetting, for the good of the organization. 

Q: What is your favorite part? about being a leader? 

A. The greatest part of being a leader is empowering your colleagues, and watching them flourish and hit their stride.

Q: What advice do you have for young people? favorite part? 

A. Do the grunt work, even when it’s frustrating. And do it well — there’s treasure buried in there. (Watch the Karate Kid for inspiration.) 

Always be kind and do the right thing. Your reputation is your most precious asset.

To See Andrew Register Here. If you cannot attend, presentation videos will be available. 

Andrew Kaufteil

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