IBM Study Advance

An exercise in Design-led strategy & deployment


IBM Watson Health had been interested in Protocol Authoring, and had several pilots into the field, but nothing was sticking enough with IBM to continue producing, despite a valuable market opportunity.  We needed to develop a plan to succeed and then bring that project to market.


Through the creation of a design strategy practice that put design research at the forefront, a small team over 6 months conducted comprehensive research and created assets that helped create a proper use case that IBM could fulfill in the protocol authoring space, vetting the opportunity with potential customers and multiple stakeholders. As we worked to bring the product to market, we used the opportunity to show the value of design outside of asset production by assisting with buyer research, market efforts, the creation of demo videos.

Randy's contributions and responsibilities involved starting the project, conducting research, synthesizing insights, collaborating with a multidisciplinary team, taking on storytelling efforts, conducting EDT workshops, and building playbacks, leading design activities, delivery of design assets, and eventual handoff of design lead responsibilities.


  • Vetted market research derived from 25 hours of insight from industry experts
  • Vetted product concepts from 23 hours of ideation sessions with IBM SMEs
  • Over 1000 individual quotes labelled and annotated for sentiment from primary research
  • Creation of a conceptual product roadmap to hand-off to a product team
  • Creation of conceptual product guidelines, design principles, and a bed of research for further guidance.
  • Creation of Design Research Strategy team which would go on to produce 3 more strategic efforts (sans Randy)
  • Launched 2 months early to market
  • Developed story focused materials shown at prominent conferences & delivered to potential clients
  • Displayed the value of design as strategic thinkers
  • Collaborated with marketing on multiple projects
  • Buyer research to understand buyers in the clinical trial space have been used on multiple projects
  • Creation of a separate service   

Collaborated with

2 UX Designers
2 Design Researchers
1 Visual Designer
Full stack Development Team
Product Management

Date: 2018 - 2020
Client: IBM Watson Health
Role: Design Strategy / Design Thinking / Design Research / Design Ops / UXD / Branding