IBM Fellows

Fellows are the standard-bearers for IBM’s technical and scientific leadership

Charlie Hill

Platform Experience
IBM Design
BSc, Systems Engineering with French, University of Bath
Master of Design, Royal College of Art
Ph.D., Engineering (software design), Imperial College London

Charlie, instrumental in establishing a scaled program of human-centered design at IBM, led the creation of IBM Design Thinking, which today is helping all IBMers and many of our clients create more innovative offerings and solutions with a focus on human outcomes.

Because I’m the first designer to be named an IBM Fellow, it’s a wonderful recognition both for me and for the whole community of designers at IBM.

What does being named an IBM Fellow mean to you?

Because I’m the first designer to be named an IBM Fellow, it’s a wonderful recognition both for me and for the whole community of designers at IBM. It’s great that IBM is treating design as a technical discipline on par with engineering.

And it’s good for IBM! We’re entering an era in which our clients will consume almost any capability that we bring to market either partly or wholly as a digital service. In such a world, our ability to design experiences that delight our end users, and not just IT buyers, is fundamental to how we compete and win in the market.

Greatest influence in your life?

Like many people, my parents have been the greatest influence on me, and I owe to them my core values and many formative experiences. For example, when I was in my teens, my dad started an agricultural seed company, and from helping him out, I learned a lot about dealing with people, even people very different from myself.

I would add that learning from my peers at various stages in my career has been an amazing privilege and a huge source of enrichment. Even in college, what I learned about design came as much from my fellow students as from the professors. I've since worked with many world-class designers, engineers and business leaders, and I hope to keep learning from my many brilliant colleagues in my new role.

What’s your passion project?

Design thinking has long been associated with small teams in agencies and academia. Our vision to scale design thinking across the enterprise, and deliver differentiated outcomes with significant velocity, was broader and untested. How could tens of thousands of people who work on everything from software development to human resources programs to consulting services use the same approach to produce better, more human-centric outcomes? By focusing on three core principles – understanding and focusing on our users and their goals, treating everything as a prototype, and empowering diverse teams – we were able to turn design thinking into a scalable movement that can make any initiative or organization move faster with human outcomes at the center of their value system. 

After helping to establish this way of working all over IBM, my focus is now shifting to using this human-centric approach to drive a more unified, more differentiated user experience for our users who consume multiple capabilities from IBM's cloud, data and AI platform. I am very excited to be able to contribute to this strategic opportunity for IBM. 

History of the IBM Fellows

An overview on extraordinary achievements by exceptional individuals

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