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The Graduate School of Business and Law is proud to host Surya Vanka, a global leader in hardware and software design, design strategy, and design capability development
Vanka will present on the topic “Designing in the Time of Extreme Uncertainty”
In his highly decorated 16-year career with Microsoft, Vanka developed a reputation for leading teams in the successful delivery of extremely complex, high profile, business critical initiatives.
As the go-to man for the thorniest customer experience and technical design issues within the company, Vanka rose to become the Director of UX with responsibility for all Microsoft server products, and had a strong execution track record in shipping multiple products.
He instituted design patterns and practices that have now been widely adopted across Microsoft and partners, and was part of the core team that led the Metro Design language to be incorporated into various leading Microsoft products including the Xbox 360 system software, Xbox One, Windows 8, Windows Phone, Bing, Skype, and Outlook.com.
Vanka led Microsoft’s center of experience excellence team for several years, and helped to drive the transformation of the company towards an agile, growth-hacking, experience-first culture. He led company-wide programs to raise design capability at each stage of each engineer’s career and in each engineering team’s evolution, created a design maturity roadmap, a design gap assessment toolkit, and coached teams to utilize design as a competitive advantage. Vanka was routinely called upon to provide top executives and leaders with guidance on broader corporate design strategy.
Vanka initiated the company-wide UX Awards program, led the annual UX day in Redmond that was attended each year by 2000+ engineers, and satellite UX day events in each of the development centers around the world. His work was recognized with two Microsoft Engineering Best Practice Awards, a Microsoft Achievement Award, an Accessibility Achievement Award, the World Brand Congress Leadership Award and several industry recognitions.
Prior to Microsoft, Vanka was a tenured professor of industrial design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a fellow at the prestigious Center for Advanced Study and he authored two books on design. Surya is an accreditor for university curricula in the United States and Europe, leads cross-company design initiatives and serves on the advisory board of DMI (the Design Management Institute). Vanka is frequently invited to keynote the most prestigious conferences, and has won top speaker awards three times. His work has appeared in numerous publications and news programs, including Form, I.D., Design Council, WIRED, Interactions, the BBC and National Public Radio.
Vanka initiated and was part of the core team that created the DMI Design Value Scorecard, and is the creator of a light weight, agile and adaptable design technique called Design Swarms – both of these practices are quickly being adopted in business, non-profit and education across the world.