AT&T Foundry Innovation Strategy

AT&T Foundry Palo Alto


Team of Product Managers, Business Analysts, Data Scientists, Software Engineers, User Experience Designers and Researchers, Marketers

Head of User Experience Design and Research, Business Development and Partnerships Lead, Business Innovation Strategist, Innovation Lead, and Product Manager

Since I joined the Ericsson team at the AT&T Foundry Innovation Center in 2015, my experience has been extremely diverse and fulfilling. My work at the Foundry spans a number of disciplines and industries as we worked to create innovative solutions to challenging problems.

The Foundries were originally created several years ago as an open, collaborative environment to inspire and promote the rapid invention and innovation of strategic ideas from concept to commercialization. Foundry team members drive their own projects and champion them to stakeholders, much like entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. Projects emerge from personal passions, business unit needs, external partnership opportunities, and our employee crowdsourcing platform.

As one of the top internal brands to AT&T, the AT&T Foundry is highly regarded internally as the reliable source of all types of innovation, with a special focus on efficiency and disruptive innovations.

AT&T Foundry Innovation Center Overview


The AT&T Foundries are a network of six innovation centers across the world–Palo Alto, Atlanta, Houston, Plano (2), and Israel, each sponsored by a different company or internal organization. In Palo Alto, we are sponsored by Ericsson and jointly innovate with team members from both AT&T and Ericsson. As a member of the Ericsson team at the AT&T Foundry, I served as a bridge between the two companies.

Design Leadership

I was hired to lead design at the Foundry, and since then I’ve led numerous design projects, trained up team members, and worked on initiatives to bring design thinking to all of AT&T. I am frequently consulted on how to apply design to products, teams, processes, and business models. My work ranges from exploratory research to ideation to prototyping and implementation.

Enable AT&T’s transformation into Domain 2.0 with modern, self-service products
Understanding AT&T’s enterprise customer needs around dynamic network management
Tools that allow network capacity engineers to focus on higher level assignments

I collaborated with my teammate on the design portion of building a highly trafficked, enterprise product to provide a complete, seamless, self-service experience to incubate and validate any virtual network function against AT&T’s Domain 2.0 Architecture as part of the release of ECOMP (Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy).

Read more:
Has AT&T ICE’ed VNF Onboarding?
AT&T ICEs Vendors of Virtual Network Functions

I immersed myself with our key enterprise customers to understand their needs and expectations around our new Network on Demand product. I conducted interviews with IT professionals to CIOs at Fortune 500 companies across the country.

My research uncovered key product strategies and features that our team was able to champion within both AT&T and Ericsson.

We worked with Executive Leadership and Product managers to translate our research findings into actionable product decisions.

I led design for yet another engaging, enterprise design project, though for an internal tool this time. Our machine learning efficiency innovation reduced the time for network capacity engineers to plan out how to decommission legacy network machines from several weeks to hours!

The business unit that benefited from this project were so impressed that they allocated some of their budget for the Foundry to continue to innovate for their team.

Read more:
Legacy Network Machine Decommissioning Tool


Over the years as the head of design at the Foundry, I have trained my teammates in design thinking through collaborative projects, coaching, mentorship, and workshops. In turn, my colleagues are now applying design thinking to their work and even leading training sessions of their own.

Training design thinking leaders
Guiding designers to success

One such instance occurred when my colleague and I conducted interactive design thinking workshops for middle school and high school women interested in technology: AT&T hosts Girls in Future Technologies (GIFT) Day

Read more:
Design Thinking at AT&T

My design team has found success identifying and solving difficult problems they could never have imagined in short periods of time through my guidance. One team member dove into understanding the needs of Uverse and DirecTV installation and maintenance technicians for several weeks.

His research uncovered so many high impact opportunities that when we presented our work to the Senior Vice President responsible for these teams, the SVP allocated millions of dollars in resources to addressing these findings immediately.

Read more:
Design Thinking at AT&T

Business Strategy and Partnerships in Emerging Technologies

While at the Foundry, I had the pleasure to engage with hundreds of startups working in emerging technologies. In early 2016, I became especially curious to learn more about Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality and identified these emerging technologies as a high potential path to new revenue streams.

Augmented and virtual reality strategy and market landscape research
Augmented reality filmmaking tool
Hands-free, immersive entertainment for hospitalized kids

With my market research, I educated, championed, and began the dialogue within AT&T to apply these emerging technologies to our business strategy. As concrete demonstrations of strategic AR/VR plays, I sought out and developed strong partnerships with leaders in the industry to create cutting-edge projects.

In one such project, my partners and I created an augmented reality, spatial tagging tool for camera teams and film production crews using the Microsoft Hololens in collaboration with FOX Studios.

Read more:
Augmented Reality Filmmaking Tool

In another, my partners and I developed hands-free, interactive, virtual reality entertainment experiences for hospitalized children. Then, we tested this immersive entertainment as a form of distraction therapy.

Read more:
Immersive Entertainment for Hospitalized Kids


Along with our numerous technology and design projects, marketing, partnerships, and thought leadership are similarly top of mind. I have contributed on visual design, information architecture, content strategy, startup partners, and developing marketing and brand collateral for several key initiatives, some of which are elaborated below.

Futurcast Thought Leadership Series
Re-branding the AT&T Foundry
Futurist Reports

Specifically, six times a year, we hosted the Futurecast Series, where we invite an honored guest to participate in a deconstructed panel where the curated audience is invited to participate in the conversation between the guest and moderator.

Before the discussion, we also invited relevant startups to demo their latest and greatest to attendees.

Read more:
Re-branding the Futurecast Series

Since joining the Foundry in 2015, I have been the biggest proponent of unifying our AT&T Foundry brand. Each Foundry location put their own flavor on their work, which were often inconsistent with the bigger AT&T brand.

When AT&T released a revised brand in 2016, we swooped at the timely opportunity to re-brand the AT&T Foundry as well and enforce a new standard.

Over a series of workshops with stakeholders, myself included, we worked with an external design agency to assess our audiences and brand values. After establishing our value proposition, the agency returned to us with several visual identity proposals. With some back and forth, we settled upon our final brand and since have implemented it across all the Foundries.

In 2016, we also began the Futurist Reports. In this series, we dig into technologies and trends while highlighting key insights that are reshaping entire industries and our world-at-large.

Each report includes an industry-wide view from a diverse array of leading experts and features select startups at the forefront of technology. We delve into broader business implications of these technologies and explore indicators such as collaborations, investments, market demands, and technology advancements.

Check out our inaugural reports on the Future of Drones and the Future of Entertainment.