Michelle Morrison, Design Program Manager at Facebook will be speaker and mentor during Startup Iceland 2017. Michelle is good friends with Om Malik and Arvind Gupta and I am so happy that Michelle is taking time to come to Iceland and participate in Startup Iceland. Get your early bird tickets to make sure you get time to meet with her on a one-on-one mentoring session. If you are a designer you should definitely participate in Startup Iceland.

Michelle Morrison’s career has been focused on creative strategy and operations. She currently works as a Design Program Manager at Facebook. Previously she held post at Square and IDEO. She also runs Designers + Geeks, San Francisco’s largest design community and lecture series. She is all cream, no sugar.

Michelle will talk about Impact and Design Culture:

By definition, culture is the manifestation of collective human intellectual achievement. In the design world, culture is not your color pallet or your preferred typeface. Design culture is the result of how you act on your values and beliefs. In this talk, I will discuss the phases of building design culture in startups and tech companies. I will discuss the responsibility of designers and the beliefs and behaviors that drive impact through design. By the end of the talk, you will have a sense for how get started with identifying and cultivating design culture in your own company or team.

I have written quite a bit about my belief and investment thesis and the value of Design, Data and Networks. Design is crucial in the startup and company building process. Design culture makes everything happen in a startup. I cannot tell you the number of times I notice the X-factor in a startup team because of their attention to detail, a.k.a design thinking and how that manifests itself in the success of the team. I am excited to hear Michelle talk about her experience of building design culture in really successful companies like Square and Facebook. Also it would be fantastic to hear about the early days stories. I am always curious about the early days, because that is when the beliefs, values and vision of the team gets embedded into the culture of a startup.

Design is not just the font or the color pallet or illustrations, it is also how you think about your business model, distribution and technology. When all aspects of a startup are embedded with design thinking, it is usually pure magic. I have seen it happen, some founders continue to expand on that and build a greater vision for their company others not so much. They forget that design thinking is what got them to get to escape velocity and focus on short term thinking, well that is for another time and another post. I love good design. Check out some of Michelle’s work, they are just fantastic. Here is a recent interview she gave about Design Culture.

I can tell you that I am design geek in a closet, I love typography. My dad used to have these really fancy fonts and typeface books which he used to make Neon Signs, my dad was in the advertising business, he made sign boards for companies. Ask me again when we meet in person about that part of my early childhood. I spent quite a bit of time looking at fonts and typefaces, I believe those early years have really helped me in what I do now. I cannot wait to meet Michelle.