2019 Design & Innovation Awards Winners

2019 Design & Innovation Awards

The Customer Management Practice was proud to announce our 2019 Design & Innovation Awards back in April onsite at Design Thinking 2019. The awards celebrated and recognized innovation and human-centered design (HCD) accomplishments across communities and organizations. The 2019 awards categories were selected to reflect the three conference themes of Design Thinking 2019: 


As design thinking and other human-centered design methodologies permeate through the market, we see a larger impact on overall organizational structure, culture, and ways of work. The Design Transformation category pays homage to the larger impact of design thinking and its transformative effect on the people, process, and products of an organization. 

The winning case displayed:

  1. A clear “transformation” defined and demonstrated through the use of HCD—whether this be cultural, organizational, digital, experiential, etc.
  2. Collaboration or breakdown of silos between departments, teams, and/or management.
  3. A level of scale in the application of HCD through a journey or project that impacted the organization at large.

Our two Design Transformation winners are:

End User Winner: Pact

Pact, a non-profit organization, set out to empathize with the Afro-Columbian and Indigenous woman of Columbia who suffered an incredible violence and came back with a highlighted disconnect between intention and actual impact, driving an organizational shift to put local insights first to drive action.

Pact is an international development nonprofit based in Washington, DC, that works on the ground in 40 countries around the world. Pact instituted a dedicated in-house innovation team in 2013 that creates an enabling environment to catalyze transformative ideas that accelerate impact. The innovation team is responsible for sourcing innovation across the organization using human-centered design, incubating new products and services, and finding sustainable models for new innovations.

Read their full story >>

Vendor Winner: IN2 Innovation

IN2 Innovation drove not only product innovation with design thinking, but drove a new cultural mindset on how to approach development from an ethnographic and qualitative mindset, obsession with the customer, creating a larger cultural transformation in which the organization now works.

IN2 Innovation is an experience innovation design agency that partners with companies to create effortless experiences. They work in physical and digital spaces to transform unexpected ideas into new products and services that delight consumers, differentiate brands, and disrupt markets.

Read their full story >>


Empathy is the first step of design thinking and a core principle of human-centered design. Empathy, for both customers and employees, builds the foundation to user-centric innovation.This category looks to highlight the power of empathy in creation of products, services, cultures, and project outcomes.  

The winning case displayed:

  1. The highlighting factor of the case study is the use of empathy as the greatest impact to the outcome
  2. Multiple methodologies/tools i.e. use of data, ethnography, journey mapping, etc., are used to empathize with the client(s).
  3. A direct tie to the voice of the client is demonstrated throughout the entirety of submission

Our two Empathy winners are:

End User Winner: Sloan Memorial Kettering Cancer Center

Memorial Sloan Kettering set off on a mission to holistically define Patient Experience that was both unique, and inspiring, but also broad to the end to end experience, and grounded in ethnographic research, leading to an overall announcement of formalized guiding principals to the entire staff.

Vendor Winner: Mad*Pow

Mad*Pow ‘s work with Cincinnati Healthcare quite literally had the agency in the patient’s perspective, uniting a hospital’s siloed divisions, re-prioritizing patient experience, and implementing “child” friendly redesign & other initiatives to inject joy into the experience.

Mad*Pow is a design agency that strives to help people improve their health and wellness, meet their financial goals, learn and connect. Our approach to design is backed by a flexible methodology that includes scientific methods balanced with experience, strategy, creativity, and invention. Our process is cyclical in nature and is centered around research and strategy. Our team adapts to a client's needs and can engage at any point in the initiative's life cycle, whether that be during the conceptual design phase, testing, or the development of a new product or service. The adaptability and flexibility of our design process enables us to accurately match specific steps with the scope and main business drivers of our client's initiative, ultimately delivering measurable results and exceeding our client's wildest expectations.

Read their full story >>


The ROI of Human-Centered Design continues to emerge as an interesting case, challenge, and inquiry to the design community and beyond. With the adoption of HCD on the rise, its perception as being solely fuzzy front end has transformed to a specific, measured, and tangible discipline across organizations.  

The winning case displayed:

  1. A successful application of HCD.
  2. The measured impact across an organization/business unit or a specific project, product, or team due to the use of HCD.
  3. Defined and quantifiable measurements of success in profits, cost-savings, efficiency, KPIs, and/or other metrics.

Our two ROI of Human-Centered Design winners are:

End User Winner: Dick's Sporting Goods
Overseeing an organizational transformation towards human-centered design, Dick’s Sporting Goods created a culture of experimentation that allowed for constant testing and evaluation of innovations and bringing significant transformation to their Ready for Delivery system.

Vendor Winner: IA Collaborative
Exploring not one, but two case study examples, IA collaborative illustrated with their “How to Disrupt Your Own Business” strategy that they were able to drive Return on Investment across businesses regardless of industry, department or project type.