This is not the first time former SVP of Design at BlackBerry, Todd Wood has been interviewed it is however the first time he has spoken about his time at BlackBerry. In a very recent interview with The Canadian Design Resource, Todd Wood sat down and spoke about his time at BlackBerry. Below are a couple excerpts from the interview.
What was your mission at Blackberry? Our first goal was to build a world class ID team and partner network. When I joined in 2006 the design team was small, ten people, and we reported into Product Management. Within five years we designed numerous devices, sold over 200 million devices between 2008 – 2013, received awards like Red Dot, and BlackBerry ranked 25 among the top 100 brands in the world. At its peak, the Design team grew 10X to 100+ people, and we reported into the CEO. We were a multi-disciplined team, with ID, UX, Planning and Operations — one virtual studio, spread across five R&D sites, and Waterloo was HQ. Growth was primarily through recruiting, but a significant part of it also came through a merger with the Software UX team and the acquisition of a design team in Sweden. Recently the team was downsized, after the BlackBerry 10 launch. Letting go of many talented people was by far the most difficult part of the job.
We all know the troubles that Blackberry has been managing, do you think they can reverse the trend? BlackBerry’s struggle to become a viable software and services business is well documented. Like most Canadians and shareholders I sincerely hope they find their niche, and survive.
From my perspective, I believe that the design team did everything it could to help reinvent the company. The BlackBerry 10 operating system was recognized for its design innovation, and all four BB10 devices received Red Dot awards for Product Design. Beyond the launch we invested heavily in Design Planning, and filled the pipeline with a portfolio of innovation.