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Dec 13, 2022

How do you measure, in financial terms, the value of design? PepsiCo chief design officer Mauro Porcini has been on the receiving end of the query dozens of times throughout his career. While he has long employed metrics to appraise the cost and impact of a particular product label, promotion or installation, his preferred answer is simpler and Spiderman-esque: great design inherently creates great value.

Now in his 11th year at PepsiCo, Porcini is the creator of the company’s award-winning Design and Innovation Center, which holds sway across the drink and snack giant in everything from new product development and experiential marketing campaigns to brand revamps and fashion collaborations.

Porcini’s perspective that design should strive to address real and useful human needs is a core tenet of the Center and highlighted throughout his book “The Human Side of Innovation: The Power of People in Love with People,” which draws upon his experience at PepsiCo and in prior roles, including as the head of global design at 3M.

As part of an expansive interview featured in this episode, Porcini discussed his definition of design, both in the abstract and specific to his work in consumer products, how he convinces colleagues to align with his vision and where he takes his cues as a creator and leader. He also explained his hiring process and the value of technical expertise versus personality or cultural savvy and how social media influences his perspective on design.

Show notes:

0:45: Mauro Porcini, Chief Design Officer, PepsiCo – Taste Radio editor Ray Latif chatted with Porcini about the executive’s infant before riffing on the Italian men’s soccer team and 2022 World Cup and how the Design and Innovation Center is involved with the tournament. He also spoke about the meaning behind his book’s title, how his relatively small business unit operates within a large corporation, how data and market research influence design decisions and his method for assessing priorities from a company-wide perspective and with individual brands. Later, he explained why age is not a critical factor in hiring decisions, what it’s like to be a fly on the wall in design meetings and whether he’s planning a new playbook for his next decade at PepsiCo. 

Brands in this episode: Pepsi