Alastair Simpson is a leader and mentor, serving as VP, Design at Dropbox. In this role, he leads the talented and diverse Design team at Dropbox across Brand, Product Design, Writing, Research, Future of Work, and Strategy. He loves working with multi-disciplinary teams to solve complex business and customer challenges. His passion --turning human centered-design inward to create the future of work— was a catalyst behind Dropbox’s innovative and unique Virtual-First approach to remote work. It also inspired the Virtual-First toolkit, which was developed to capture Dropbox lessons working Virtual First and help businesses navigate the most dramatic shift in office work, since the invention of the 40 hour work week.
Prior to Dropbox, Alastair was Head of Design at Atlassian for six years where he helped scale the design team from 20 to over 250 employees, a company from 900-5000 employees as well as through a successful IPO. He’s also worked with other large brands, start-ups and scale-ups across the U.S., UK, Europe, Australia, and South East Asia.
Alastair earned an honors degree that spanned consumer behavior, psychology, business studies, marketing and sport sciences from Brunel University, London. Alastair is a father, currently living in the Bay Area with his partner and two young kids, Frankie and Buddy, ages 7 and 4, who are a daily source of inspiration, pride and learning. He’s also quite proud of his ever-growing sneaker collection.
Many designers aspire to move into leadership positions at some point in their careers. They want to become a fearless design leader without a clear understanding of what it's all about. What is it really like to be a design leader? Time for real talk!
Andy will take your questions for Alastair.
Design leadership is a tough job. You juggle hitting business goals, addressing customer needs, setting vision and strategy, along with a myriad of human needs that come with the job. How do you know what to prioritize and invest your energy into when all factors are arguably important? I’m a firm believer in the designing your people and practices first so the rest can follow. But how do you do that in one of the world's fastest moving industries? Let’s talk about how to develop your ability to be an empathetic people-centered leader.
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