• Description
  • Transcript

In 1970, Nobel Prize in Economics Winner Milton Friedman declared that the sole responsibility of a business was to deliver profit to its shareholders “so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.” And for decades that followed, this was modus operandi for many corporations.

A few years ago, Intercorp Chairman, Carlos Rodriguez-Pastor read a Harvard Business Review essay called, “Creating Shared Value” by Mark Kramer and Michael Porter, that changed the trajectory of their business.

Rodriguez-Pastor immediately refocused Intercorp’s priorities towards the people they interact with and the communities in which they operate. In this episode of The Big Question, host and IDEO CMO Detria Williamson asks Rodriguez-Pastor and IDEO CEO Sandy Speicher, how might we build businesses with purpose at the heart.

Carlos Rodriguez-Pastor: In a way we had adopted without realizing the Milton Friedman approach, that our only responsibility was to increase our profits and to keep growing. It was when we realized the environment we're working in and all the changes in many ineffective governments that we started asking ourselves, is our role just to be a bank? Are there other opportunities where we can actually push a country forward?


Detria Williamson: We live and work in a world of interlocking systems, where many of the problems we face are dynamic, multifaceted, and inherently human. We believe that design thinking can help solve these problems to provide answers. The big answers can only be found by asking big questions. Welcome to the Big Question: an IDEO Podcast. I'm your host, Detria Williamson.

Hi. This is Detria from IDEO. In this episode of The Big Question, we're joined by Sandy Speicher, IDEO CEO, and by business maverick Carlos Rodriguez-Pastor, chairman of Intercorp, to explore the big question of how might we build businesses with purpose at the heart? Carlos and Sandy, I'd like you to introduce yourself and tell me a little bit about how you both met.

Carlos: Hi. I'm glad to be part of this podcast. I run a company called Intercorp down in Peru that's involved in all sorts of different businesses, basically catering to the emerging middle class. I ran into Sandy and IDEO about a decade ago when we were trying to figure out a very challenging problem, which was how to improve the education of Peru. I think we met Sandy in the spring of early 2011, and got to work in the fall of 2011. It's probably, at least from my side, one of my favorite ever startups. Looking back now overall, the progress, it's been incredible what we've achieved together.

Sandy Speicher: Thanks, Carlos. I am Sandy. I'm the CEO of IDEO. I've been with IDEO for about 17 years now, a decade of which has been working with Carlos, which has been one of the great pleasures of my career. As Carlos mentioned, at the time, we were working on a question of building an education system in Peru, and I was leading our education practice. Carlos brought his big question to us, which was around how do we create an international quality school system that can be scaled to help disrupt the country's struggling education system, and be affordable to the emerging middle class?

We love it when [laughs] people bring us their hardest questions. Definitely, there wasn't a lot of precedent in the world for an example like that, so we took a pretty big leap and worked together on this difficult question.

Carlos: It was interesting, Sandy, that those four things that we put as the non-negotiable characteristics for this K-12 school network are still intact, and we repeat them over and over, which was we want to build schools that are affordable, that have academic excellence, that it can be scalable, and that are sustainable. I think sometimes when you keep it simple you can go a long way.

Sandy: Absolutely.

Detria: Carlos, we're actually going to talk a little bit about how it's obvious in the choices that you've made, the businesses that you've created, that your spine is about community. There's a phrase that we should all be here to treat the community with the utmost respect. It seems that social good is generally built into the fabric of a corporation generally, but has this been lost over the past few decades? Do you think this has been lost? If so, why has this happened?

Carlos: I think that a lot of people go back to a famous 1970 essay written by a Nobel Prize economist, Milton Friedman, who basically argued that a company has no social responsibility to the public or society. Its only responsibility is to the shareholders. I think for a lot of decades, that's the way companies focused. I think today that's changing. I feel that our responsibilities are towards people and the societies in which we operate. People, to me, are team members, customers, other partners in the supply chain. I think that if we don't figure out a way to not only work together but create value together, we won't be around in the long term.

A few years ago, I read an article in the Harvard Business Review by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer on creating shared value. That really resonated with me. In the article, they shared values and practices of creating economic value in a way that also creates value for society by addressing its needs and challenges. One of the first things I did is order a bunch of reprints and then get my senior management team together to talk about this, seeing whether this was a better way of looking forward. As a result of all that, we changed what our objective was as a company.

We started as a bank. We're all about return on equity and having good credit ratings and those sort of things, but we realized that we lived and we operated in a country that had all sorts of other issues. We started branching out and expanded to really focus on the emerging middle class and all of their needs, so this is one of our key goals, which long term was to be the business group that helps Peru become a developed country.

In the shorter or medium-term, we set our goal to help make Peru the best place to raise a family in Latin America. That really resonated with everybody. That seemed a lot more important than just getting return on equity and return on shareholders. It turns out that by doing that, we also have very good return on equity and leading market shares in a lot of our businesses. I'm not sure which one comes first. I think if you focus on a problem that’s very challenging and big, it motivates you, and all the other things will probably follow.

Detria: I'd say that being good is what's good for business. Many would argue, of course, that Intercorp is a purpose-led organization, but would you yourself say Intercorp is a purpose-led organization, Carlos? If so, has that always been the case?

Carlos: It wasn't always the case. I'm trained as a banker, I spent a few years on Wall Street. We in a way had adopted without realizing the Milton Friedman approach, that our only responsibility was to increase our profits and keep growing. When we realized the environment we're working in and all the changes and many ineffective governments that we started asking ourselves, is our role just to be a bank? Are there opportunities where we can actually push a country forward?


Carlos: Is perhaps the role of a business also to take on the most challenging, unsolved problems in the country? That's when we started branching out to other things like healthcare and education. Now we're looking at how to develop the digital infrastructure of the country. I think that that's been a huge success of our group. If we just would have stayed as a bank, we probably would still be a successful bank but wouldn't have the impact that we've had.

It wasn't easy getting the buy-in originally. Then when you see what an inspiring purpose that we have, then it becomes a lot easier for people to start asking questions and seeing that everything we do is part of a building block to get to that greater goal.

Detria: Carlos, how were you able to build that purpose-led organization?

Carlos: We had to get everybody involved. I remember many years ago I worked with a business school professor who wrote, to me, one of the best books on change. His name was John Kotter and he wrote a book called Leading Change. He describes eight steps to transform an organization, which is what we had to do. The first of those steps is creating a sense of urgency. We started working on that. Then we had to build a guiding coalition and form a strategic vision, and so on the eight steps but we had to create a sense of urgency. The way we did that is, why don't we put a goal that, in our lifetime, we will as a group push forward dramatic change in Peru? We got to get going. We don't have a lot of time.

Let's not do it someday. Let's do it during our lifetime. It's going to be a 40 to 50-year challenge to become a developed country. That's how long it takes. That's how long it took countries like Korea and Singapore. I'm happy to say we're a little bit more than halfway there with a lot of challenges along the way because you don't always get the right political leaders or the right economic environment, but we're still at it. You can probably talk to most of our close to 85,000 team members and they'll give you some sort of version that our real objective is to help Peru become the best place to raise a family in Latin America, and eventually become a developed country.

Detria: What role do you feel that Intercorp does play in Peru today?

Carlos: Look, just to use a couple of examples. The first one as you know is schools. There are 8 million K-12 in Peru and we barely have close to 50,000 students. We're not going to change the whole education system, because it's 50,000 out of 8 million but perhaps we can be a model and put education on the agenda because here's a group that's running a school system that's affordable, that's scalable, that has academic excellence, and it's sustainable. If others want to copy what we're doing, or even the government wants to see best practices, I think it makes everybody better.

We've done the same thing in institutes and universities so our education ecosystem today is close to 200,000 students. Think about this, what is our country going to look like when these 200,000 kids are going into the labor market with totally different training than what they had before? These will be our future leaders. If you look at it that way, I think we can have tremendous impact. Another project we're working on now is how to connect Peruvians who aren't connected with high-speed internet through satellites. Imagine the possibilities that you open up to that segment. It's been ignored.

Fiber doesn't get there and some of the cell towers aren't powerful to reach so we think satellite is the best option. Imagine the possibilities for financial services, FinTech, for educational services, government services, health tech, we open up a whole new world. That's a forgotten consumer not just in Peru, in Latin American, and in a lot of emerging economies. We think that's a really exciting project that's coming our way in the next couple of years.

Detria: Speaking of opening that new world, Sandy, what are you finding the role that businesses are playing in society today? Do you feel that that's changed over the past decade?

Sandy: Absolutely. It does feel like the desire for purpose and meaningful contributions through our work is increasing in everyone, both leaders and employees. The great thing, I think, is that leaders are really listening to that and, like Carlos, wondering what it is that they can do from their role and the role of their organizations. Leaders are asking new questions about what new solutions can be created in order to better meet the needs of people in order to create progress in society, and like Carlos is talking about with the schools, creating proof points that show that change really is possible.

There's also been a really cool shift, I think, to not just creating but co-creating. Carlos nodded to this before how companies are really connecting with all of their stakeholders, and the communities that are a part of their existence not just to design for them, but design with them. There's a lot of design that's happening, engaging people across organizations, to co-create a purpose and values for the organization that we all want to be a part of.

Carlos mentioned that about making Peru the best place to raise a family, there was a design process that people across the organization participated in to really get to that sense of purpose that everybody felt aligned on creating, that they wanted their days to be spent acting in service of. That process gets designed. How do we engage people in really revealing what matters to them and what's meaningful to them? How do we connect those dots across a huge number of people to get to something as clear and simple as making Peru the best place to raise a family in Latin America?

These days, given the scale of challenges that I think that business leaders recognize exist in the world, from recognizing injustice and the need to create more inclusive systems to recognizing the effects of climate change and the need for a more balanced planet, I think there's also the awareness that not one company can solve these things alone. A lot of companies are now coming together using design to help facilitate that to say, "What progress would we like to make in the world? How can we design new solutions that can meet those needs? How can we design ways of working together so that we have a shared impact?"

There's a lot of ways, it feels like, that questions are being asked right now, but I think that the core of it that's really exciting is that all of these questions require us to design new things, new offerings, new experiences, new organizations, new agreements, new ways of measuring success. All of that needs a deeper type of listening and a flexible creative way of thinking to help us get to the answers.

Detria: Sandy, it sounds like design actually had a really active role in this past decade that we've been working with Intercorp. Carlos, are there certain stages that you've recognized while building this purpose-led organization?

Carlos: It's a process that really starts with the basics. The first thing is that you had to lead by example and you have to really be authentic and believe in this. This is not a check the box, or we had some incident in one of our companies and all of a sudden, diversity is important or race is important and so on. I think you have to walk the talk. Some of the things that are really important in our organization, for instance, values are greater than any financial result that you can get. If you have to cross that line in the values that you have to get your results, obviously that's a non-starter. I think it's a team that has to really believe and do this. It's not an individual, it's not a handful. It's teams.

Another thing that's important for us is teams are much bigger, you can do bigger things with teams than with individuals. Then you have to have a setup where there's a lot of trust. Trust to try and fail, trust to raise your hand when you disagree. I'm remembering a little incident many years ago where we're starting to share our financial results before we published in the market. Obviously, there's a lot of confidentiality because one of our companies trades in the stock exchange. One of the sessions we had was, does it make sense to share all this information a week before the market? What if somebody says something and leaks?

The response was, think about it, if you're not really that secure about doing something like that, then perhaps you don't have the right people, you don't trust your people. If you're clear to them and tell them that you can't share this information until X date, it shouldn't be a problem if you have a team that's cohesive and it's a real team and everybody trusts each other. We've been doing that ever since and we've never had an issue. There's some basic things you need to have established before you can go on and chase your lofty goal.

Detria: Sandy, how do you find design shows up as a partner through this? Carlos is mentioning the importance of trust, how does design show up as a partner for that?

Sandy: First of all, to do anything really difficult and new, we really do have to have trust in each other, trust in who we're working with and we have to build trust with the communities that we're working with. I love trust as a starting point for that conversation. When I think about the decade of work that we've done together, there've been so many different stages of it and I think because of that, trust continues to deepen. Also, our awareness of each other continues to deepen.

I think that we keep evolving because of the work that we've done together. Both of our organizations I think have evolved as a result of knowing each other and working together. Think about that early stage which we've talked about where we started working on a particular design question, in this case, it was a very large-scale question around designing schools for Peru. What that really helped us do is it helped us show that design could be valuable and that going through a human-centered process could produce new types of results that we hadn't imagined before.

Carlos, please build or correct me [chuckles] if this isn't your experience. I feel what it did was it made people curious, "Hey, what can design do for my business? You have so many businesses as part of Intercorp's network." Some of the things that we did early on is we said, "Oh, you're curious about what design can do for you, let's bring leaders together and help them understand what design thinking is, what it means to orient and act like a designer." Over time, I think more and more leaders were intrigued about that and we decided to co-build a innovation capability within Intercorp. Rather than relying on IDEO as an outside organization to design for you, we decided to design together.

We built what's called the La Victoria Lab as a shared design studio. We wanted to make sure that we were with you as you were building those design capabilities. What's been amazing at working with La Victoria Lab is it's really like a shared entity where we both learn and push each other around what design can do and how it can keep growing. Over time through the lab, we created shared wisdom. Getting to that purpose statement of making Peru the best place to raise a family in Latin America, we together worked on what are the needs of families across Latin America? How do we help business leaders really be in tune with that? How can we create this shared wisdom across all of the different companies and within Intercorp?

Over time, more and more design questions were coming up from leaders of the different businesses saying, "Hey, here's an area that I'd really love to innovate," or, "Here's a need that I'd really like to meet and here's a question I have about the future." It's been really fun to have the momentum of the scale that Intercorp's businesses work at to design across experiences for movie theaters and banks to creating schools and healthcare clinics, to really looking at what it means to bring the flexible creative mindset of design into the way these organizations will run, especially in light of the digital transformation that everybody is undergoing.

Being really in tune with the needs of the challenges of both the businesses and the needs of Latin American families has really led us to a point right now where it feels like after a decade of really working together and building this shared knowledge and shared capabilities, to being able to ask the questions of the future, what are we not yet working on? How are we leading into the future?

Carlos, I know you all are asking questions about climate and the way that you might consider that throughout your businesses. These are the perfect questions of innovation of our time. It is really through this deep and trusted partnership that we're able to then say, "What does it really mean to take on those questions not just in theory or with possibility, but what does it really mean knowing each other so deeply?" For us, it's I think been quite inspiring to be able to say, "What does it really take to make these changes happen and how does that inform and evolve the way that we design at the onset?"

Carlos: I'll add to the design part a little bit. I grew up in California so I saw that little revolution of Silicon Valley. I knew IDEO long before I contacted them. I guess I always felt that I had to get to a certain size or challenge before I could actually call them and see if we can work on something together. One of the things we did early on in I think '94 as soon as we purchased the state-owned bank-- You can imagine what a state-owned bank is like, and then it's even worse than that. Nothing worked. We had nothing to lose. I had no idea what I was doing so we put innovation front and center of everything.

I remember when we were putting initially the team together to change the bank, we came up with four different categories of the team members. We had the people that had worked at the bank before we bought it. We called those the historians. They were there. They knew where the bodies were buried and could tell us a little bit about the history of the bag. Then we hired local successful bankers from other banks. We poached the ones we thought were good and fit. Then we brought in some international bankers, some people from abroad that had a different perspective and perhaps farther along in the evolution of banks.

Really what changed everything is the fourth category, which we labeled the Martians. These are non-bank groups. These are people that came out of anywhere. In fact, when we started doing our in-store banking which is banks inside a supermarket, we hired housewives. We figured that they know how to shop, they know their way around the supermarket, we can teach them banking. It was revolutionary at the time.

It's interesting because as we evolved and, again, we put innovation front and center in everything we do, when we started learning and collaborating with IDEO, one of the most valuable things that I take is in diversity of all the teams, and the different backgrounds that give us insights that we never thought of. If you have a room full of bankers, you're going to get bankers' solutions. If you have a room that has some bankers and all other people with different experiences, you'll get totally different solutions. I think some of our early success had to do with bringing in those Martians. We try to make sure that in every project that we do, there's plenty of Martians to go around.


Carlos: Sometimes people think, "Why don't you go to Mars because you got so many Martians in the group. Maybe you need some industry expertise." It's worked for us because it's a lot easier to learn than to unlearn. Sometimes it's hard if you've been in the same industry for 30 years to look at things in a different way. It's just not the way it's been done. That whole revolution of unlearning sometimes can be very challenging.

Detria: Carlos, there's a lot of goodness there. You have to promise us that you'll come back. We'll do a separate episode just on the importance of the Martians. I think that's our next episode. Sandy, I want to do a double click on something you said about this notion of not designing for but designing with, and then connect that to the importance of innovation, Carlos, that you were mentioning. You've been quoted saying innovation is too important to be outsourced. Is this why you started La Victoria Lab?

Carlos: Yes. We wanted to make sure that all of our companies had the skillset no matter how big they were. Some of our bigger companies already had their innovation teams, but this is a way to bring innovation across the entire business ecosystem that we have. Maybe some companies could not afford to have their own innovation team early on and this is a way to give everybody that opportunity. I also realized that we needed to work and partner with somebody that could show us the world. We could be ground zero in Lima, but I'm not going to be putting offices all over the world and seeing what's going on with innovation. IDEO does that brilliantly better than anybody I know.

One of the best parts of starting a project is the inspiration trips where we go and we learn and we meet. I remember the Innova inspiration trips we went all over looking for the perfect school system and we didn't find one. We found a lot of good things from here, from kid. A lot of things from over here, from there and we said, "Wow, nobody's really figured this out. Maybe we can be one of the early ones to contribute to this cause." That's where we met partners that we're still working with like Sal Khan academy. I think Sandy was at that meeting I was introduced to Sal. This is when he was just starting out. He had a rented office, had a Captain Crunch all over the place.

Sandy: [laughs].

Carlos: I was explaining to Sal that we're going to do this project, it's a private sector, it's for-profit. When I say for-profit, people's eyes start rolling as for-profit and education sometimes don't really go well together. Sal said to me, "Carlos, we are free but you're charging for your school so we have to think of something. Maybe we can license it to you." I said, "Oh, boy, here we go. We're just getting a start-up, we have nothing and he already wants to license it."

"You are the first one visiting us, so I can set a precedent and say that we do license to all the private guys." He says, "What about if we just do something to get started, $1 for the license." I think I took out a $20 bill and said, "Why don't we do a 20-year licensing?"

Sandy: [laughs].

Carlos: I'm a big supporter of what Sal has been doing, and sometimes use it myself to pretend I'm smarter than I am because he can teach me lessons on all sorts of things. I think IDEO opened our eyes to lots and lots of different possibilities, not only in the school example but all sorts of other things. That's one thing that I think we realized early on may be the center of gravity for our country where we operate, but we need to partner with somebody who's helping us see what's going on in the world.

We've gone to China numerous times with IDEO's help and being inspired by all sorts of different companies and experiences we've had there. I'm happy that we learned about design thinking maybe 10 years before it got to Peru. We learned it from the guy who invented it, David Kelley, and his team. It's been a privilege for us to try to keep up to all the things that they're doing.

Sandy: Carlos, you mentioned something in there that I don't think it's talked about enough around design because it tends to be that we focus so much on the problems to be solved or the challenges that we're facing. That point about inspiration, inspiration is so key to being able to open our minds to new possibilities.

I think, especially as leaders, especially running businesses, there's a worldview we tend to get caught in where we start to define that things are the way they are and just stepping out creating the space where we can say, "What else is out there that I can see that can help me imagine in a new way that really helps create the space for creative thinking to get to the kinds of innovations that you've been so focused on?" The keyword in there that you shared was learning, that so much, I think, of what we have to do these days with all the opportunities in the world to improve it, but really require us to be constant learners. Inspiration is so key to that. I'm really glad you brought that up.

Detria: Carlos, it would be good to hear actually what role do you feel you played in inspiring your team and in guiding them through what's been an incredible transformation this past decade?

Carlos: I think I've become more of an enabler in the sense that I'm trying to always look out to see what are the places we can learn any better. My number one worry always, now just from the business standpoint, is complacency. That we feel that our results are good enough and we have to do last year plus a little more, and then the next year plus a little more, and so on and we get in this rut. Then we start doing financial engineering so that we can look better by buying back shares and things like that. I really believe that we have to continue to learn over and over and over.

That's why every year, my favorite trip is our learning trip. It's usually about a week-long. Every year is in a different place and we're there to learn. We're there to learn and also be humbled a little bit because sometimes you think that you're it, and then you realize, "Wow, I'm not it. I'm not even close to being it. I have a lot to do, a lot to learn." When we did our digital transformation learning trips, we spent a lot of time in China. It was a fascinating trip because before going there, people would say, "I know digital is coming." This is way pre-COVID. Now it seems silly to talk about it. "It's going to come in over time, little by little. No need to rush, let's just be rational about this."

When you go to China and see how far ahead they were, it's like seeing the end of the movie and knowing how the movie ends before everybody else does. You come back with this confidence, "I know how this is going to work out. Now we have to do it." One thing is to talk about it and to mention it and to just over and over repeat it. The other thing is to experience it. We experience these dramatic changes in our learning trips. We've gone all over. We've gone many times in Silicon Valley, even New York City. We've been to see some of the things going on at MIT in Harvard.

We went to Argentina one year, and people were questioning, "What are you doing in Argentina?" "Oh, we're going to learn from Argentina." At the time, there were five unicorns in Latin America and all of them were in Argentina, so they must be doing something interesting. What we learned is that they happened to be Argentines, but they weren't thinking about just conquering Argentina. They're conquering the world. They became global companies. All of them are digital. We have upcoming trip to Singapore and Malaysia to see the contrast between those two countries and all the things that they're doing in FinTech and innovation there.

Those are the trips where you feel a little bit bad in between the trip because you thought you were good and you're realizing, "Wow, I'm maybe average." Then you feel really great at the end of the trip because you're like, "I can't wait to go home and implement all these things we've learned and make us even better." I think those are the most exciting parts of the year because what we thought was the plan for next year usually gets reworked after one of those trips.

Detria: Sandy, we're celebrating 10 incredible years with IDEO and Intercorp. What do you feel is or has been the most exciting thing or part that's come out of this great partnership?

Sandy: There are so many things I could point to. I got two thoughts. I've got two things. [laughs] Maybe it's cheesy to say it but, Carlos, I feel like that the friendships that we've been able to build to really be able to say, "Let's look at these hard questions together and imagine what we can do. Let's inspire each other," that has been really incredible. I feel really grateful for a lot of the relationships that I've been able to build with leaders across Intercrop.

They're lifetime relationships and so that's really just special and quite rare, I think, in business. I'm also thinking of I recently saw a photograph of a newborn baby who is wearing a cap with a logo on it that said Aviva. I also recently met a woman who's a graduate of Innova Schools and she's here at Stanford. I think about the lives that we've been able to affect from the things that we've designed.


Sandy: The Aviva Clinics was a concept that started from scratch to say, "What would it mean to really support Peruvian families through their health?" Recognizing that the first time a lot of people really start to care about their health is when they're having a baby, and recognizing how little support families had for that process. Designing those clinics around the needs of maternity care, and then seeing babies being born there. Then seeing students graduating from Innova and the opportunities that they have that they wouldn't have had otherwise.

I had an amazing conversation with that student who graduated from Innova, she was talking about all the things that she could do for her country given the education she was able to have. I feel like a lot of this work is really just so important not because of the ideas of it, not because of the business of it, but because all of those ideas and all the business actually affects people's lives. Being part of that feedback loop for a decade is really inspiring.

Carlos: I would add to that that sometimes we don't work with a lot of consultants and I don't really regard IDEO as our consultant. It's our partner. One of the things that many times I hear from consultants is the frustration that you do all this great work and then-- I don't know what the percentage is, but a good percentage of that work ends up on somebody's shelf and never gets implemented. That must be very frustrating because that's a lot of hours, a lot of thought, a lot of things that have gone into it.

I think what I like about them is that you can come to them with what may seem like a totally crazy idea and they write it down and they give you the sense that anything is possible. There are no barriers. The barriers are in our mind. I think on our side, we are pretty good at making projects and dreams and turning parties and dreams into reality. I think Sandy just mentioned a couple of examples.

From designing that clinic with just a super team to then seeing that picture of that newborn, wow, that feels really good, or the young woman who is now at Stanford who my wife has been actually almost adopted in helping her get through the barriers of such a top university with all the things that go outside of the academics. That's real. Doing this while having a lot of fun along the way, that's magic.

Detria: Carlos and Sandy, thank you so much for being such great guests today and leaving us these really powerful messages. Carlos, we learned from you about how far a $20 bill can go and the importance of urgency. You're saying, let's not do it someday, let's actually do it today, and the importance of having the trust to fail. Sandy, thank you for your message around the importance of growing together as business partners and the notion of not designing for but actually designing with. I leave you both with this last big question which is, is there a big question that actually keeps you up at night? Carlos.

Carlos: There's a lot of small little things that occasionally keep you up at night that are the issues of the week or the month. I think the one that's out there and creeps up all the time is what will the future look like? What are we leaving behind for our kids? Are we getting started on the biggest challenges or are we just kicking the can down--? I want to make sure that I can look back as I end my days, hopefully a long time from now, and say, "They may not be completed but we're taking them on." Whether it's climate or opportunity with education, healthcare, quality, diversity. It's a long list.

In fact, you can try to use the. United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals if you want to add on to this. Are we being good stewards of all the good things that we've been given? Are we making this world a better place or are we just leaving problems behind for others to solve? It can be just a country like Peru, or a region like South America, or even things that are more related to the world. I think that as you get to a certain stage of your life and you have some financial resources, you start getting involved in issues that are maybe much bigger than the company that you're involved in. I think that's one of the things that I'll be working on in the coming years.

Detria: Sandy, do you have a question that keeps you up at night?

Sandy: That is funny. [chuckles] I think that I have a different career stage than Carlos, but a similar underlying set of bubbling thoughts, which is how do we make sure that we're harnessing what this moment is bringing us? We see all the questions, we know the challenges in the world and it is our job to figure out what to do with them. I guess my version of that same need is really how do we make sure that we're not losing what this moment offers? The consciousness is there, now it's time to design.

Detria: Carlos and Sandy, thank you so much for leaving us such big messages and wisdom around asking the questions of the future, and putting innovation in front of everything. Thank you, Carlos and Sandy.

Sandy: Thank you, Detria.

Carlos: Thank you, Detria.


Detria: The Big Question is brought to you by IDEO. To find out more about us, and how do we create positive impact through design, head to ideo.com. Then make sure to search for The Big Question on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else podcasts are found. Make sure to click subscribe so you don't miss any future episodes. On behalf of the team here at IDEO, thanks for listening.



Combine the outlook of a visionary with the rigor of a high-performing athlete and you’ll begin to get a sense of IDEO ALUM Detria Williamson. She has spent more than 20 years as an innovative brand experience marketer who gives companies a brave push forward, bringing the discipline and mindset needed to create new brand ecosystems while building on the resonance and value the brand already has to its audiences.