Forward Faster By Design


Event Archive

Designing Extraordinary Experiences

Friday, May 11th, 2018

Designing extraordinary experiences requires two things at the start: being aware that it's possible, and being intentional about crafting the experience we want people to have. Unfortunately, when it comes to innovation efforts, we often focus on the new product, service, or process we're building and fail to devote enough attention to the associated experience for the people who will be impacted. Luckily, there are some excellent resources and practitioners we can learn from.


In this session, we will share specific principles and practices you can use to intentionally design experiences for customers, employees, and other constituents. We'll hear about the innovative approach Movement Mortgage is taking to create an environment in which their employees (and their families) can thrive. We'll also learn how General Motors and other large organizations have used design principles to create a culture of innovation.


Special Guests

Michael Arena
Chief Talent Officer
General Motors

Aimée Dodson
THRIVE Director
Movement Mortgage

Innovation Begins With An Eye

Friday, Apr. 13th, 2018

Where you look and what you see has a big impact on whether or not you can spot unmet customer needs or opportunities hidden in plain sight. In this session, we'll explore how in-context observation can uncover insights that drive innovation. We'll also examine the concept of the "Beginner's Mind" and the difference between looking for inspiration versus validation. Lastly, we'll share actions anyone can take to become an "Explorer of the World."



Speaking of exploring, you will also have the option of taking part in a 15-20 minute guided tour of the McColl Center's galleries and Artist-in-Residence immediately studios after the program. 


Special Guest

Jeff Grant
Director of Product Innovation

Rethinking How We Innovate

Friday, Mar. 9th, 2018

For far too long, we've accepted the notion that innovation efforts involve a great deal of luck. Sure, we conduct research to better understand WHO our customers are and WHAT they want or need. And we use that information to develop products and services, but it's a roll of dice as to whether or not they'll actually buy our new products. Is there a better way?


Join us as we dig into the theory and application of the Jobs To Be Done approach to innovation. Going beyond WHO and WHAT, Jobs Theory provides a roadmap for uncovering WHY people "hire" certain products and services in specific circumstances.

Special Guests

Ann-Somers Hogg
Innovation Director
Atrium Health

Rahul Mohan

Disruptive Innovation (Or How To Blow Sh*t Up On Purpose)
Feb. 9th, 2018

For this session, we'll explore how organizations can apply the principles of disruptive innovation to intentionally blow up successful processes, products, services, and even business models. Or as former GE CEO Jack Welch put it, "Change before you have to." We'll also discuss how leaders can spot opportunities for disruption, both internally and externally.

Speaking of disruption, we're moving to a new location for 2018. Special thanks to our friends at McColl Center for Art + Innovation for their willingness to host the series!

Special Guests

Jay Gerhart

VP, Consumer Strategy

Innovation Engine at Carolinas HealthCare System

Vanessa Vaughn


Asfalis Consulting

The Big Payoff of Little Bets

Dec. 8th, 2017

It has been said that operational excellence secures a company's present, while innovation excellence secures its future. But with mounting pressures to meet financial expectations, companies and organizations of all stripes find themselves increasingly focused on delivering, not discovering. Might there be a way to lower the time, costs, and risks related to innovation?


In this session, we'll discuss how leaders can develop a culture that embraces "failing fast" so the best ideas and solutions emerge with minimal investment. We'll also have an extended conversation with Jeff Grant, a brilliant inventor, designer, and storyteller, who will share some of the lessons learned from his journey from Stanford to IDEO to Bank of America to his current role as the Director of Product Innovation at InVue. 

Leadership By Design: Next-Gen Skills
Nov. 9th, 2017

Empathy. Imagination. Curiosity. Resilience. These are just some of the attributes leaders will need to be successful in a hyper-changing world that values design-driven innovation. But how do we cultivate these capacities in ourselves, our teams, and our organizations?


In this session we will explore this very question. We'll also share insights and resources you can use to develop next-gen leadership skills in yourself and others. 

Innovation is a Contact Sport
Oct. 13th, 2017

The myth of the lone genius is just that, a myth. To solve truly wicked problems, it's critical to call upon the talents and perspectives of a diverse team. However, like any other team sport, creative collaboration inevitably leads to conflict, which can be constructive or catastrophic.


In this session, we'll explore how the most productive creative teams across a wide range of industries channel internal conflict into an invaluable force for good.

Special Guests

Rob Cannon

Chief of Public Affairs

City of Charlotte Fire Department

Munro Richardson

Executive Director

Read Charlotte

Jean Wright

Chief Innovation Officer

Carolinas HealthCare System

Building a Culture of Innovation
August 11th, 2017

At Faster Glass, we define "innovation" rather simply: People implementing new ideas that create value. We also believe the most important word in that definition is the first one, people. As such, the environment in which people work can have a big impact, positive or negative, on an organization's innovation efforts.


In this session, we'll discuss how leaders can build a culture that enables individuals, teams, and entire organizations to innovate in a sustainable way by addressing three specific subjects: fear, frames, and a focus on efficiency. 

The Art of Visual Thinking

July 14th, 2017

As much as we might agree with the notion that "a picture is worth 1,000 words," most of us default to using words to convey ideas. And when there's a communication breakdown, we wonder why "they" didn't get it.


In this session, we'll share some of the tools and principles of visual thinking that can help us collaborate and communicate more clearly. We'll explore:

  • Dan Roam's work, including his latest book, Draw to Win

  • Mind mapping, both analog and digital

  • Tips and resources for creating and delivering clear, compelling presentations

Strategic Planning By Design

June 9th, 2017

We've all heard the maxim that "failing to plan is planning to fail." However, simply taking time to formulate a plan is no guarantee of future success. Unfortunately, for many organizations, the strategic planning process is too internally focused. (What are OUR goals, what should WE offer, what technology do WE need?) So what can WE do differently?


In this session, we will discuss how the tools of Human-Centered Design can improve strategic planning and enable leaders to make more informed decisions about what actions to take, and just as importantly, what actions NOT to take.

Cultivating Resilience in the Face of Disruption

May 19th, 2017

In an age of constant change and disruption, how might we not just survive, but thrive? One school of thought suggests that we focus on building resilience, but what exactly does that mean? In their new book, Option B, Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant define it as "the strength and speed of our response to adversity," and they make the case that resilience is not a fixed personality trait, but a capacity that can be developed over time.

In this installment of the Forward Faster By Design Breakfast Series, we'll talk with leaders who will share their first-hand experiences with cultivating resilience in organizations, communities, and individuals. We'll also discuss the benefits of being the disruptive force that upsets the status quo. 


Special Guests

Paula Broadwell, a graduate of West Point and Harvard, will share her experiences in advocating for women's rights around the globe and in promoting gender equality through the non-profit she co-founded, Think Broader.


Mike McGuire, CEO of Grant Thornton, will discuss his approach to leadership in the midst of turmoil and uncertainty, which was put to the test during the downfall of Arthur Andersen as a result of the Enron debacle.


Carlos Salum, international entrepreneur and peak performance coach, will provide insights into how teams and individuals can achieve breakthrough performance by strengthening their capacity to bounce back from defeat.


Charles Thomas, Program Director in Charlotte for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will offer food for thought on how we can build resiliency in our communities by fostering a culture of civic engagement.

Can Design Spark Employee Engagement?

April 6th, 2017

Can Human-Centered Design be used to spark employee engagement? Absolutely, and in more ways than one.


In this session, we'll dig into how the tools of design can be applied to truly engage employees in an accelerated, creative, and collaborative process to solve complex problems. We will also share tips on how to intentionally create meaningful experiences for customers, employees, and other stakeholders.


Special Guest


Tim McCleary

Founder & Managing Director

The Involvement Practice


Nurturing Civic and Social Innovation

March 10th, 2017

When we think about innovation, we often focus on new products, services, or business models that will fuel business growth. However, the tools and techniques that serve for-profit entities can also be applied to civic and social challenges, such as income inequality, affordable housing, and literacy rates in under-resourced communities.


In this session, Amy Chiou, Executive Director of Queen City Forward, will moderate a discussion with people from organizations who are at the forefront of thinking differently about addressing wicked problems in Charlotte and beyond.


Special Guests


Laura Belcher

President & CEO

Habitat for Humanity Charlotte


Eric Gorman

Business Growth Strategist

Social Venture Partners / Faster Glass


Deepti Panjabi

Data & Research Manager

Read Charlotte


Designing for Adoption: Nudging Behavior Change

February 10th, 2017

When creating solutions to complex problems, we often fail to consider what behavior changes will need to be undertaken by key stakeholders (customers, employees, students, etc.) to achieve sustainable success. As Tim Brown and Roger Kelly argued in their September 2015 Harvard Business Review article, design principles can also be employed to help people "engage with and adopt innovative new ideas and experiences." But, like most things, this is easier said than done.

In this session, we'll explore how we can leverage principles from the worlds of design thinking, behavioral economics, and decision science to "nudge" people to make different choices and adopt new products, services, and programs. We'll also discuss the importance of using our "superpowers" for good, not evil. 


Overcoming the Curse of Knowledge: Diversity & Innovation

December 8th, 2016

When faced with big challenges, many times we turn to experts for solutions. If we have a problem in marketing, for example, it seems to make perfect sense to assemble a collection of marketing gurus to help us. However, by simply convening the usual suspects, we may also fall prey to the "Curse of Knowledge." In other words, the very same experience and expertise that we find so valuable can also serve as invisible blinders to other ideas and approaches.


This month we'll experience how Cultural Intelligence helps us to overcome some of our implicit biases and to value diversity as an asset. We'll also discuss how to utilize diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences to uncover innovative solutions and approaches to complex problems.  


Our special guests this month are Carrie Wagner and 
Elaine Beattie from Cultural Intelligence Works

The Best Story Wins: Storytelling As A Design Tool

November 10th, 2016

As human beings, we are wired to tell, remember, and react to stories. Yet for some reason, when we're at work, we rely far too often on facts and figures to inform people in hopes that it will influence their decisions and behaviors. (And then we grumble when it doesn't work.) Could there be a better way?


Join us as we explore the use of storytelling as a design tool to both uncover unmet needs and to influence others. We'll also dig into specific techniques to make our messages "stickier."

Special Guest

Nora Orton


Charlotte Storytellers

Equipping Tomorrow's Innovators

October 13th, 2016

It's often said that schools today must prepare students for their future, not our past. Although certainly easier said than done, a number of area institutions are doing just that. But development doesn't end with formal education, so growth-oriented employers also have a role to play in nurturing talent.


This month we'll talk with educators who are leading the charge in equipping students with the skills and mindset to disrupt, innovate, and ultimately succeed in the world they will inherit. We'll also look at what companies can do to attract, develop, and retain the newest generation of innovators entering the workforce.


Special Guests


Chris Elmore
Director of Product Strategy


Hannah Levinson

Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Davidson College


Mike Realon

Career & Community Development Coordinator

Olympic Community of Schools


Terik Tidwell

Director of Innovation

Johnson C. Smith University

Art and Creativity As Catalysts For Innovation

September 8th, 2016

Business leaders are constantly scanning their environment for innovation best practices to bring into their organizations. However, they often fail to consider another rich source of inspiration for how to think, see, and work differently: artists.


Join us as we discuss how the practices of professional artists and other 'creatives' can be applied to individual, team, and company innovation efforts. Understanding artists' tolerance for ambiguity, willingness to explore new methods, and passion for disrupting the status quo can help the rest of us expand our own boundaries. Our guest panelists will share how they develop the creative capacities of their organizations and communities and what they've learned along the way.


Special Guests 

Matt Olin

CreativeMornings Charlotte


Blair Stanford


Charlotte Chamber of Commerce

Can Government Services Be Transformed By Design?

August 11th, 2016

It's clear that brands like Apple, Virgin Airlines, and Disney have mastered the art of designing memorable experiences. But can these same practices be used to improve government services?


This month we'll share how government agencies around the country and around the world are integrating design principles into how they work. We'll also talk with local government leaders to learn more about their efforts to improve services and positively impact the lives of citizens and employees by fostering a culture of human-centered design.​

Special Guests

Pat Mumford


City of Charlotte - Neighborhood and Business Services

Sarah Hazel

Assistant to the City Manager
Special Projects and Strategic Initiatives

Big Game Hunting: Using Design To Sell Your Products, Services, and Ideas

July 14th, 2016

We know that Design Thinking can used to develop new products and services, but can it be applied to sales? And what about "selling" ideas internally?


Join us as we discuss how human-centered design tools, such as ethnography and rapid prototyping, can fuel sales efforts. We'll also talk with business development professionals, entrepreneurs, and intrapreneurs, about uncovering the needs and aspirations of prospects, and getting buy-in from key stakeholders, both internal and external, for new ideas.


Special Guests


Sheila Mullen
Former Executive Director of Innovation Institute

McColl Center for Art + Innovation

Former Enterprise Software Sales Executive



Kent Panther
Director of Strategic Planning & Business Development

Wray Ward


Henry Rock
Executive Director and Founder

City Startup Labs

Rapid Prototyping + Feedback: Design's Secret Sauce

June 9th, 2016

An oft repeated mantra for developing a culture of innovation is to "embrace failure." Sounds good on paper, but how do we operationalize that, especially in organizations where there is no time or tolerance for mistakes?


This month we'll discuss how iterative, rapid cycle prototyping enables teams to "fail fast" while also getting critical feedback and sustainable buy-in from teammates, senior leaders, customers, and other stakeholders. And because prototyping is all about making instead of simply talking, this session will include a hands-on exercise to allow participants to experience the art of prototyping for themselves.

Spotting Opportunities Hidden In Plain Sight

May 12th, 2016

What do moonwalking bears and suburban driving habits have to do with innovation? And what can we learn from hot dog eating champions about seeing differently?


This month we'll share how our "frames" (the way we see the world, ourselves, and our challenges & opportunities) all factor into if and how we innovate. We'll look at how companies like Alcoa, SPANX, and Grameen Bank discovered unmet needs and successfully developed new products, business models, and strategies to address them. We'll also chat with Devin Patel, VP of Transit Products at Passport about how they're using ethnographic research to inform the design of their products and solutions.


Lastly, we'll offer up ideas on what we can do differently to overcome the invisible constraints that often limit how we see, think, and work.


Special Guest


Devin Patel

VP of Transit Products

Passport Parking

Designing Experiences For Customers AND Employees

April 14th, 2016

Creating products and services that provide a delightful experience for customers is a goal for most organizations, as great experiences often translate into customer loyalty. But that same focus can be applied to employees, as well, perhaps with even more powerful benefits.


Join us as we share how customer and employee experiences can be intentionally designed. We'll also talk with David Campbell, CEO of Boxman Studios, about his perspectives on creating a culture of innovation and the impact he's seeing on his company's performance.


Special Guest


David Campbell


Boxman Studios

What Is Human-Centered Design And Why Should I Care?

March 17th, 2016

In the kickoff event, we'll share how design has evolved from primarily focusing on products to being applied to services, experiences, and holistic systems. We'll also discuss how intentional design, or the lack thereof, can impact individuals, communities, and organizations.


Special Guests


Nheeda Enriquez

User Experienece Consultant

Ally Financial


Christie Kahil

Program Director

Queen City Forward