I am a passionate innovator, energized by building new technologies that connect and improve communication between individuals. My expertise spans mobile app design, B2B software, social media, data visualization, and collaboration technologies. I lead teams in user-centered, lean ideation methods to identify product roadmaps and then follow through with Agile methodologies to the successful launch of new web and mobile product experiences.
In 2018, I joined WBUR, Boston's NPR News Station, to lead the Public Radio Business Laboratory. Our mission is to find new business and revenue models for sustaining public media.
Prior to joining WBUR, as Forrester's Vice President of Digital Customer Experience, I led the strategy, design, and implementation of Forrester's digital (web and mobile) product experiences. I earned my MS and PhD at the MIT Media Lab and was a Research Scientist at IBM, leading the Visualization and Behavior Group within the IBM Watson Research Center. I have published over 40 peer-reviewed articles, I am a frequent public speaker, and my work has been written up in the New York Times, BusinessWeek, and CNN.
1. Design of Digital Experiences
I lead the conceptual design, user experience, and project implementation for web & mobile applications built for information navigation, social networking, and data visualization.
Forrester's mobile apps are designed to deliver research to customers during the cracks of their day, in their mobile moments. We first launched an iPad app in 2014, and in 2016 launched an iOS iPhone app and an updated, mobile responsive website.
- Kicked off our mobile program, aligning a team of 30 towards a single strategy, spanning Development, Product, and Marketing.
- Steering the mobile vision, experience design, and implementation through iterative, on-schedule launches.
- Evaluation and selection of mobile vendors.
- Management of capital budget expenditures.
www.forrester.com is the primary method for our customers to access Forrester's research, and we are continually upgrading the experience using Agile software development methodologies. In 2012-13 and 2016-17 we released two significant redesigns of the website's experience, based on discovery research and alignment to Forrester's product goals. Both of these upgrades boosted the engagement of clients with our website.
- On a continual basis, set priorities for our Agile development roadmap.
- For major projects, set the experience goals and oversee the discovery research and alignment to business strategy.
Many Bills was a website (2010-2015) aiming to make congressional legislation easier to digest by regular citizens. The website's visualizations revealed the underlying semantics of a bill by using a machine-classifier to cluster sections of a bill into topics and visualized them in different colors. Using information retrieval techniques, the site highlighted "misfit" sections that didn't fit with the overall topic of the bill. Many Bills was a 2010 Webby Award Honoree in the Government category.
- Managed the development team.
- Conducted user research to inform iterative development.
- Co-authored Many Bills: Engaging Citizens through Visualizations of Congressional Legislation and Many Bills: Visualizing the Anatomy of Congressional Legislation.
Beehive was an internal social networking site (2007-2011) built at IBM to determine if an informal social networking tool had a place within the enterprise, in order to inform IBM's product roadmaps. Our team designed and deployed Beehive internally at IBM and within two years over 65,000 employees joined the site, sharing a mix of professional and personal information.
- One of the four research software developers that built the original site.
- Conducted user research and ran A/B experiments.
- Co-authored 13 papers on our discoveries, including Motivations for Social Networking at Work.
- Honored with an IBM Research Accomplishment Award for impact on the product IBM Connections, 2009.
2. Digital Innovation
Taking a page from the book Digital Disruption, and from my decade at MIT + IBM, I have brought to Forrester different approaches to drawing out innovative ideas, to inform product direction. Two examples are Forrester Labs and Hackathons.
User interviews and surveys are valuable for gathering customer feedback, but do not satisfy the need for employees to imagine the next wave of digital experiences, try them out themselves, and see concrete feedback from clients. Based on these goals, my team launched labs.forrester.com in 2015 as a platform for hosting any interactive or digital prototypes and soliciting feedback. For each "lab" posted, we have a process of identifying the user experience hypothesis and measuring if we achieved our goal.
- Initiated concept and directed implementation.
- Lead the labs team in giving shape to fuzzy ideas that can be tested with clear client experiments, to inform product development.
- In 2016, launched 14 interactive content pilots exploring options for expanding how Forrester delivers its Research product. The year concluded with concreate guidelines for the Research organization.
Forrester has expertise in data analysis, yet when I joined in 2013, all data deliverables were through MS Excel and Powerpoint files. One of the major barriers in evolving the deliverable was skill in presenting data in compelling, interactive ways.
To address this, with a Data Visualization manager, I launched a quarterly hackathon series that offered up a challenge each quarter to any employee interested in joining. Three years later, we have had over 10 hackathon competitions, dramatically building internal skills and breaking down department silos.
- Organizing hackathon challenge, recruiting participants and judges, determining winners and prizes.
- Master of Ceremonies at each hackathon.
- Connecting promising prototypes to business stakeholders.
3. Data Analysis & User Research
Good design is grounded in good information about users. Through statistical behavioral analysis, web/mobile analytics, interviews, surveys, and A/B experiments, I lead analysis of user behavior, and determine which behaviors are correlated with desired business outcomes. Two examples of approaches:
When launching a development project, we first gather all known data points, and then conduct Discovery Research -- interviewing prospective users about their goals and motivations in their work. This practice of discovery research has informed the design of every project in this portfolio, providing perspective on ne opportunities for technology.
- Lead research interviews.
- This research approach has resulted in numerous publications, including User Research to Inform Product Design: Turning Failure into Small Successes and Identity management: Multiple presentations of Self in Facebook.
A/B testing with tools like Optimizely can rapidly provide answers about user experience features and designs. More thorough A/B testing, where entire features are available to half of a website's user base, provides deep understanding about how features influence longterm behavior. On IBM's Beehive, we ran multiple experiments to understand how gamification influences behavior, finding that basic incentives dramatically shift community dynamics.
- Direct experimental design and feature design.
- Co-authored publications: Results from Deploying a Participation Incentive Mechanism within the Enterprise. and When the experiment is over: Deploying an incentive system to all the users.
- SXSW, 2015
- Forrester's Customer Experience Forum, 2014
- O'Reilly Ignite, 2009
- Enterprise 2.0, 2008, 2009
- Academic Conferences: CHI, CSCW, ICWSM, HICSS, GROUP, IUI
- University lectures: MIT, Babson, BU, Northeastern, Brown University, Carnegie Mellon University
Authored over 40 peer-reviewed publications, with over 3500 Google Scholar citations. Key publications include:
- Motivations for Social Networking at Work. Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (2008).
- Bowling Online: Social Networking and Social Capital within the Organization. Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Communities and Technologies (2009).
- Many Bills: Engaging Citizens through Visualizations of Congressional Legislation. Proceedings of the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) (2011).
- 4 patents filed with USPTO within the domain of social media
- New York Times (12/19/10): Computers Help Social Animals to See Beyond Their Tribes
- CNN (5/12/08): ‘Virtual water cooler’ makes workplace more fun
Awards and Honors
- 2016 ACM SIGCHI Best of CHI Award, Best Case Study: Award for the paper "User Research to Inform Product Design: Turning Failure into Small Successes."
- 2015 SXSW Panel: "Software Innovation Against the Odds." Presented on the topic of innovation within established, long running organizations.
- 2011 ACM SIGCHI Best of CHI Award, Best Paper Honorable Mention: Award for the paper "Many Bills: Engaging Citizens through Visualizations of Congressional Legislation"
- 2010 Webby Awards: Award Honoree, Government category for IBM Many Bills
- 2009 IBM Research Accomplishment Award: Beehive's impact on the product IBM Connections