Leading Through Design to Connect with Consumers


Nate Young, Senior Vice President of Design for Newell Brands, believes design and innovation are critical to the company because of consumer trends in the market place.

“Our customers are far more sophisticated. Our markets are more competitive. You have to lead in the best possible way to deal with the competitive environment, and that would be through innovation and design,” said Young.

At the heart of everything we do is the consumer and our commitment to strengthen innovation.

“We are connecting with people where they live, learn, work, and play. The way we are connecting with them is through the aesthetic, design, and functional appeal we provide in our leading products,” said Young.

Also central to the company’s success is the partnerships between functions at Newell Brands and how design and innovation are integrated throughout the development process.

“Even though we have a Design Center that’s in Kalamazoo specific to our mastery, the partnership is the key to making it a success. Working with Marketing and Brand, our engineering partners and our R&D partners is what makes it work. Anybody can bring in design, but not everyone can partner the way we do internally for the benefit of our consumer,” Young explained.

With each of the company’s Business Segments, the design team strategically looks at where they may be in five years.

“Design is heavily involved in what that future state may be. One of the things you have to do when you’re designing products is to look out beyond what the consumer is thinking about and anticipate what their future could be and visualize that for them,” said Young.

Visualizing that future is critical and a key focus for the Newell Brands team at the Design Center. Young considers his team a community of extraordinary designers who can meet the needs of the company’s consumers, empathize with them and design for their future state.

“Our opportunity here isn’t just designing products, it’s impacting people’s lives and that’s what we’re offering,” he said.