A winning design: Cecilia Ambros embraces chaos and creativity

- February 7, 2018 2 MIN READ

As head of design research at Amazon, Cecilia Ambros has an innate understanding of what makes for a great user experience, after all she’s been responsible for some of the flagship brand’s most effective campaigns.

Foremost in everything Ambros does is a need to know more, learn more and be more for her customers. Whether its leading the charge as Studio Director at Nike or heading up the design consultation for iconic brands such as McDonalds and Whirlpool, Ambros knows what it takes to grab a customer’s attention and keep it.

In Melbourne to speak at Pause Fest, Ambros says “great products and services take time to craft”.

“When you were a student at art school you heard a concept and then maybe you were cooking or out surfing and you had time to mull it over. In giving it freedom and energy you were able to come up with a great idea,” she says.

“Sometimes we don’t allow for that process. So, for me building a justification for a design thinking process – that’s the job – but the real thing is creating the story around it,” she says.

Ambrose suggests it’s important for designers to be comfortable with the uncomfortable and educating people around design is all part of the process.

When dealing with corporates she suggests sometimes it’s just a matter of “talking about it”.

“I’ve been in meetings where the value of design or research – there are people in the room who have never worked with either – so you’re educating in the process while you are forming the output.

“It’s almost like you’re doing two or three projects at the same time. And there are power dynamics and unspoken agendas or a business might have a different priority.  And that is the ebb and flow of design.”

She likens the design process and dealing with client expectation to training as an athlete.

“You might stumble along the way and there are hurdles with time but the muscles will develop.”

She says in some instances you may have five or ten different versions of how you get to a concept – but eventually, you and the client will arrive at a point.

“It’s all about educating people.”

For Ambros that can mean using collaboration tools like sketchbook or testing a design.

“You always have to challenge, debate and provide value,” she says

Ambros presents Creating Chaos at Pause Fest



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