• gretchen kish


    experience innovation




    product + service design



  • hey-oh


    i am an experience research, strategy, and design expert. i lead teams to breakthrough innovation.


    i solve for complexity and help organizations build simplicity as a capability. i have been at the forefront of innovation for 15 years, working on software, social media platforms, medical, financial, and IoT product design and service delivery.


    well-designed products + services show tremendous respect, and create great outcomes for the humans who use them.


    my mission is to design the future. contextual inquiry, deep customer understanding and radical collaboration deliver transformative experiences with demonstrable business results.

  • recent research projects

  • future state

    experience lab

    what is a future state experience lab?

    i created this multi-step process to enable all stakeholders to envision the target state ecosystem. in this way, teams are able to effectively plan, design, validate and implement great experience outcomes. designing into the future in an orchestrated, holistic, cross-functional effort. in this way, insights are able to be effectively actioned and brought into the real world. this methodology makes teams more successful during implementation and delivery.


    the challenge:

    product-driven companies sometimes struggle with experience design innovation. internal resources may focus on delivering products, while experience and service design, far less tangible, are not always intentionally designed. teams face competing missions and priorities, cross functional projects can lose momentum if the process is not effectively managed.


    to help teams navigate to the future state, even before the hardware technology and capabilities arrive, i saw a need to create a framework for envisioning the future and the ability to meet users evolving (future) expectations with new product deliveries. outcome driven innovation.

    a compelling story for change

    where are is the friction

    technology innovation brings with it change management and new experiences to design. xlab starts with a compelling story for change. insights based on user needs and evolving expectations, new technology, a new product implementation, behavior changes, friction for customers or employees, an organizational challenge, a reason to operate differently in the future. create beautiful visualizations to motivate and inspire teams.


    step 1: bring teams together and share the story.

    peer to peer support

    cross functional alignment

    change is hard for organizations and customers. create a framework within the organization for cross-functional peer to peer support to manage through the process. use stakeholder mapping, set clear expectations, create shared goals, expected outcomes. create visualizations, map the ecosystem to understand upstream and downstream impacts, co-design and set realistic milestones and timelines.


    step 2: create a framework for the project.

    envision future state

    direct observation workshops

    hold a series of workshops. cross functional teams explore the functionality in a myriad of contexts. create imagined future journeys validated by product and delivery teams. run journeys through happy and dark paths with cross functional teams. through direct observation and extreme user research expose gaps. iterate.


    step 3: predict user confusion and frustration to pre-solve prior to launch by testing.

    co design

    pain relievers and gain accelerators

    once you understand future pain points, co-design solutions. work with content teams test instructions, messaging, and to take your customers on a seamless journey from initial trial to habituation. workshop with messaging in place to make sure users are able find help in real time, rather than front-loaded.


    step 4: pain relievers and gain accelerators to refine. test and iterate for a seamless experience and good outcomes.

  • co-create and collaborate

    ideas become more powerful when built upon by others



    qualitative research

    quantitative research

    behavioral research

    attitudinal research

    experience lab

    jobs to be done framework


    empathy maps

    mental models

    direct observation

    extreme user research

    rapid prototyping

    business model canvas

    design sprints

    systems thinking

    ecosystem maps

    journey builder


    super powers


    design research
    1:1 interviews
    primary + secondary research
    user stories
    synthesis hacks
    cross-functional alignment
    actionable insights
    implementation hacks
    service design
    workshop design + facilitation
  • biometric authentication

    innovation at speed and scale







    biometric technology





    a large financial institution was rolling out new authentication technology. by using a fin tech vendor with an aggressive testing schedule we were able to move from PoC to launch in only 9 months for 70 million customers. this required extensive research and design to understand user adoption, and ease of use, as well as sentiment and appetite for the new authentication methods.



    bridgecrest medical

    designing the future state ecosystem


    our research showed varying degrees of comfort with the technology and bias against change. due to the regulatory environment, communications on the enhanced security features of the new tech were closely monitored. this required change management both internally and externally. stakeholder alignment and communication required precision. deep understanding of adoption hurdles and customer context was key. extreme user research and direct observation was helpful to the team as we tested and iterated to understand the multiple new authentication types and retirement of outmoded or less secure methods happening simultaneously.


    experience lab future state design


    outcome: adoption rates beat expectations and resulted in reduced customer friction and increased loyalty among mobile banking customers. this in turn droves significant cost savings as call center use was reduced by easing the journey. content design was provided throughout the user flows rather than front-loaded as a result of user expectations and preferences.


    service design lead

    primary and secondary research, sme interviews, customer interviews, user testing, cross functional alignment, user flows, user behavior prototyping and testing, future state workshop design and facilitation, service blueprints. key insights presentation to 300 stakeholders.

    large FI

    san francisco, ca

  • cloud-based saas

    innovation and transformation

    customer first transformation

    this connected planning company was looking to propel itself to high growth targets. in order to achieve this, a customer-centric mindset is the first goal for employees across the globe. 10 steps to creating a customer first DNA blog post.


    with multi-dimensional planning capabilities this complex platform requires change management is to implement and adopt the platform.


    continuous improvement and innovation

    this can be challenging for customers, requiring is a laser-focus on continuous improvement of customer outcomes. deep customer listening drives the insights for improvements in service delivery and innovation. launched customer research and insights program. launched customer experience center.


    research to insights to implementation

    • work life balance study and implementation
    • corporate social responsibility program implemented
    • company values redefined and implemented
    • remote worker guide
    • persona-based service blueprints for delivery ecosystem
    • xlab methodology for innovation
    • workshop design and facilitation training course
    • extraordinary presenter training course
    • empathy training for all employees
    • customer journey mapping and touchpoint experience design
    • ecosystem mapping, for customers, partners and employees
    • stakeholder mapping and alignment 
    • customer CoE research discovery and transformation design
    experience strategy principal
    ipo 2018
  • IoT, wearables, service design

    preventing accidents before they occur for the mining industry.



    fatigue management solutions




    a gold mine in argentina found 60% of accidents were caused by worker fatigue. the open pit site is located at 15,000 ft elevation: a low oxygen, high altitude environment that affects worker health, safety, and productivity.




    bridgecrest medical

    research to close the empathy gap


    we learned about mining operations and culture to design and implement a new system for fatigue management, using real-time health data.


    we designed a choreographed alert system that was empathetic to workers and effective for medical staff and management, service design and IoT brought together to increase safety, empathy, health and wellbeing in dangerous conditions.



    health advisories 

    via wearable and smart phone alerts



    miner sleep metrics and heart rate are now tracked with wearables. smart watch, mobile, and dashboard alerts are automatically triggered if worker fatigue thresholds are reached, before a shift begins and as shifts continue.


    workers, supervisors, and medical staff are alerted. workers are given the opportunity to sleep or assigned less dangerous tasks so that they can continue to contribute and earn.


    workers become partners in health + safety



    our research showed an empathy gap between miners and management, as well as a strong mining culture and values. we recommended a mobile data tracker for miners to monitor and manage their own health data in real-time on their smartphones. miners are provided training in healthy habits and sleep, enabling a healthy habit partnership with their employer.


    lead product designer

    bridgecrest medical

    san franccisco

    acquired by ability wearables

    june 2017



  • e-boo​k search

    ux for a.i.

    contract assignment


    stealth ai project, smart website for an online library of digital content, show c-level executives what is available and provide visual of books, ability to create custom book lists, personal library, wish lists, save for later, history, favorite books, authors, subjects.

    exploring classifications

    key features: infinite scroll, single call to action, search by title, author, subject, isbn. conversational tone, browsing feature, sliding tools follow browse, binary fiction/nonfiction multiple categories, preferences, history, and exclusions to aid search optimization.


    affordances and

    information architecture

    translucent book information window animates over homepage on book click, book details, another click takes you to ebook or synopsis, sliding toolbar stays with you to jump to search, settings, or book lists.

    removing distractions,

    clear call to action

    cover art remains as you read details and synopsis of books for constant visual reference. call to action is clear, and draws attention.

  • let's keep in touch