Extraordinary. Change.

I’ve never seen so much change happen so fast. From inception to massive momentum in just 6 months. Amazing.

- John Maeda

Chair, eBay inc Design Advisory Board

Activate Design

Design Challenge: In January 2014, I received a charge from eBay’s CEO to strengthen eBay Inc.’s global innovation capability through design thinking. Read Case Study, Stanford GSB

Realizing that eBay’s external brand for design was only as strong as its internal design community, I built out a strategy based on four key initiatives:

  1. Strengthen Community
  2. Improve Talent Pipeline
  3. Create Playbook: ebay.com/design
  4. Build external Reputation

Role: Design Leader. Director of  Global Brand Experience

A design Playbook

Once we collected feedback from the organization, we refined the digital playbook and made it public. We had created a foundation of design principles and practices that connected employees from all over the world.


Pockets of Design


STEP 1: Find Every Designer at eBay inc. 

Ebay had made dozens of acquisitions across several continents. There were hundreds of designers the world over who didn’t even know each other existed. The first step in building the community was finding the community. I quickly worked with other design leaders and Human Resources to find every designer across each of ebay’s business units.

The next step was to talk to them…



Get the Community Talking

We made it our mission to speak with every single designer in the organization within three months, through a series of interviews and gatherings. We pulled out themes, challenges, and pockets of brilliance. We enabled designers to share their stories through a number of platforms, revealing the work they were already doing to each other and bringing the community together.

A Celebration of Design

At the end of 2014, we had a very special ceremony to celebrate a year of #activatedesign and the momentum generated by these cumulative efforts. The Salon dinner was hosted by John Maeda and CEO John Donahoe. The dinner was a proud capstone moment for our global design community and the progress of 2014.

Role: Design Leader, Event Producer & Organizer


Dane Howard and John Maeda on Bloomberg West





This work is now a Design Case Study At the Stanford Graduate School of Business, with much thanks to Jennifer Aaker.