Beyond Design: Moving from Practice to Transformation 
April 14-17, 2020
Hilton Austin, TX

2019 Design & Innovation Awards Finalists Image

2020 Design & Innovation Awards Title Image

As Design Thinking continues to elevate, we seek to define what Human-Centered Design means for us, our organizations, EX, CX and beyond? Design Thinking is not represented by a singular case study, and Design Thinking done right applies the mindset on a big picture, transformative level versus a singular activity or interaction. 

We recognize that Human-Centered Design has impacted our organizations in so many ways, spurring significant and transformative effects in even the most siloed, large enterprises. In an effort to highlight these moments of Design Transformation, our 2020 Design & Innovation Awards categories highlight exceptional stories of design-led evolution.

Applications are free of charge, and stories will be shared anonymously with our panel of judges. Within this we will select 5 finalists. Our first place winners per category will be recognized at the Design Thinking 2020 program April 14-17, 2020 in Austin, TX. 


1. Cultural Transformation

Design-led cultural transformation acknowledges an organization-wide mindset shift where empathy is at the forefront of all processes. This category features the larger implications of Human-Centered Design that changes the way employees work, collaborate and interact both with each other and with customers.

The winning case will display:

a. Established design thinking mindset fostered through multiple teams

b. Collaboration as a core principal and component of ideation

c. Customer centricity as fundamental to decision making


2. Digital Transformation

Digital transformation involves much more than technology investments and UX upgrades. A digital-first mindset involves the reorganization of people, process, and thinking to develop meaningful digital experiences that interact with the existing product infrastructure and augment the value delivered to customers. This category highlights the movement to stay competitive through digital innovation alongside the pieces required to support and sustain this transformation.

The winning case will display:

a. Innovative digital product creation or service optimization

b. Acknowledgement of internal infrastructure and process advancement 

c. A glimpse of the emerging technology navigation method(s)


3. Brand Transformation

Customers do not interact with or view a brand as a singular touch point but rather an end-to-end ecosystem of experiences. Loyalty is driven through a deep and emotional brand engagement. This category examines the evolving nature of modern brands and how organizations craft the end-to-end brand experience to maximize customer lifetime value.

The winning case will display:

a. Brand experience beyond a singular touch point

b. Creation of a community or ecosystem expanding product or service

c. Measures of customer engagement and loyalty


4. Business Model Transformation

The most successful modern businesses foster an agile culture allowing for iterative business model reinvention to disrupt themselves. This culture of business model innovation requires a shift in the way the business functions at the very core. This category spotlights organizations who have taken a human-centered approach to transform their core business and solidify their sustainability in an ever-evolving ecosystem. 

The winning case will display:

a. Candid reflection and evaluation of current business practices

b. A reinvention of core business process, product, service, and/or value proposition

c. Disruptive thinking and collaboration across multiple stakeholders


5. Research Transformation

Moving from analytical to ethnographic research, balancing the moments of qualitative and quantitative data, and deciphering behavior and machine learning, the research landscape proves more complex than ever before. This category highlights organizations who have created a culture of empathy and understanding through a transformed, holistic and inclusive research approach. 

The winning case will display:

a. Empathy as a core component to the influence of decisions, products, service, and culture

b. Multiple methodologies/tools (i.e. use of data, ethnography, automation, etc.) are used 

c. An intersection of qualitative and quantitative research


6. Enterprise Design Transformation

The modern enterprise strives to align multi-disciplinary teams around the real needs of their users. Understanding that all of the above categories are very much inter-related, this final award will evaluate the finalists of all categories and select an overall winner that best represents the holistic organizational movement powered by Design Thinking and Doing. 

Successful organizational transformation requires progress across many of the above award categories; excelling at culture change, delivering impactful outcomes for users and employees, and the broad adoption of practices like user design research and design thinking.

The winning case will display:

a.    Design Thinking used beyond a workshop, but as a way of work

b.    Core principles of Design Thinking ingrained through the entire story

c.     Outstanding results tied to the design thinking and doing mindset.

d.    This award recognizes the organization that has made the broadest and deepest progress toward sustainably delivering human-centered outcomes.  




If you have any questions on the entry process, please contact the organizers by email to