Blog Search
Press Shift + F on your keyboard to open the blog search on any blog page.

Designing at Scale Webinar With Doug Powell at IBM

Written by 
Jim Kalbach
November 5, 2015

Originally published in November 2015, this article recaps how IBM uses MURAL to scale design thinking, as told by Doug Powell, then program director of design education at IBM. In February 2018, IBM was the subject of a Total Economic Impact study conducted by Forrester Consulting, a report that demonstrated a 495% ROI with a less than six month payback on IBM's use of MURAL. IBM continues to be a MURAL customer in 2021.


Companies are transforming into design-driven organizations. They invest in amazing innovation centers and have top design agencies come in to consult them. But the businesses that are seeing the best results are the ones that truly embrace design across the entire organization — at all levels and for all departments.

IBM is one of those companies.

They're turning all employees into design thinkers. With a staff of nearly 400,000, that’s no easy task.

Design education is a key pillar of the IBM Design strategy. They also know they have to scale their design practices, tools and techniques to reach IBMers around the world.

This is where MURAL comes in.

IBM is guiding their design practice and addressing logistical challenges of scaling design using a visual workspace with MURAL.

Just ask Doug Powell — he knows. Doug is the head of the design education program¹. And his teams have been using MURAL effectively to accelerate a growing culture of design thinking.

ibm examples
Two examples of how IBM uses MURAL from Doug's presentation. The first makes use of a feedback grid. The second demonstrates a prioritization framework. Both of these templates are available for free within MURAL.

MURAL was fortunate to be able to host him in a live webinar. In the webinar, Doug laid out IBM’s approach and discussed where MURAL fits in.

One technique Doug highlighted is "timeboxing." It’s simple: limit each team exercise to 2-5 minutes. You’ll find this brings focus to the group, particularly when working remotely.

Below is the recording of the webinar.

Designing at Scale: IBM & MURAL Webinar

NOTE that some of the words are cut off in the presentation due to a poor audio connection.

¹ Subsequent to this 2015 event, Doug went on to become Vice President of Design at IBM in 2018.


Here are some of the resources Doug pointed to in the webinar

Here are Doug's slides from his presentation:

Originally published November 5, 2015. Article last updated, December 2021.

About the author

About the authors

Jim Kalbach

Chief Evangelist
Jim Kalbach is a noted author, speaker, and instructor in customer experience, experience design, digital transformation, and strategy.