Get to know Abbey, Product Design Director
What was the most exciting thing that happened yesterday/this week/this month?
Yesterday was Pitch Day! About a hundred of us piled into an auditorium to hear new Product Ideas and concept pitches (Shark Tank style) that some of our colleagues want to bring to life to better serve our guests. It’s inspiring to see products come to life that start with just one person’s idea based on trends they are seeing from our guests. These people have built a business case, lean teams and ended with gaining business buy-in to try a proof of concept. It’s just another way that Target proves you are in the driver seat in your career. Target is interested in testing diverse ideas with our guests to see what resonates with them, and they acknowledge those great ideas can come from anywhere.
Who/What should every designer be reading/following right now?
I’m really enjoying the podcast called “This is Product Management” that highlights both the business and design aspects of creating products. I love that they highlight different perspectives from people that span from large companies to three employee start-ups.
What’s your greatest accomplishment in your career at Target so far?
As a Director of Product Design that serves our guests through improving team members’ experiences, my real accomplishment is simply getting out of my team’s way. 😉 By that I mean we have extremely talented Product Designers that work cross-functionally in their Product teams. The most valuable thing I can do is make sure they get the support they need and help remove blockers that come their way.
Also, the understood need and excitement to include Product Design’s perspectives in how we create internal tools here at Target is growing quickly. It’s exciting to see the impact we are able to make and I’m proud to have been a small part of that shift in thinking that creating easy-to-use experiences is not just important for our guests, but for our team members that serve them as well.
What is the best thing about being in UX/Product Design?
At the end of the day we are problem solvers, which I love. Some days you feel like “Inspector Gadget” trying to uncover the root cause of a problem. And some days you get to really know our team members by walking a mile in their shoes… by seeing what they go through to do their work and tasks. It’s more than just about influencing the digital screens a person touches. It’s about understanding the bigger picture of what a person is going through, interacting with, and how the tools we create can best support and empower them.
What is your favorite thing about working at Target?
That if you are truly passionate about something or a problem, nothing is stopping you from playing a role in the solution. You can easily connect with people who can help make that happen. Target has something called a GTKY (Get to Know You). It’s a chance to just put 30 minutes on the calendar with someone you don’t know and want to know. It’s a great way to meet other smart people, but also to connect and learn more about the business in a way that helps us all do our work better.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Disney Animator. #Disneynerdforlife
What is the hardest thing about being a Product Design Director?
Part of our role is being the voice and advocate for our users (in my case our team members) and making sure the digital tools we create truly serve their needs as well as delivers on the goals we set out to accomplish as a business for our guests. The hardest thing is often prioritizing what problems to solve first when your heart wants to help solve all their problems right now!
Best career advice that you’ve received?
If you want to prove to someone that you’re up for a challenge don’t just tell them what you could do if given the chance, find a way to start doing it and show them.
What is your favorite thing to do in Minneapolis?
It’s amazing how many awesome art galleries and museums we have at our finger tips. The creative community is alive and thriving here (check out Art-a-Whirl or the dozens of Art Fairs we have going on). My perfect Saturday would be a walk around Lake Calhoun with friends or family, and grabbing the best chocolate chip cookie ever created (seriously!) across the street at Rustica.