Roger Rohatgi on Value Frameworks and Working as a Global Head of Design for BP

Roger shares with us the value framework his team uses to quantify design and talks about the 'invisible' work of a design leader.

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Global Head of Design @ BP

Roger Rohatgi

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Brian Pagan

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This transcript is provided by an automated transcription service and might not be entirely accurate.

Christian: Welcome to design meets business, a show where design leaders talk about practical ways to quantify design about making our work more transparent, and about how designers can make a bigger impact in their organization. I’m your host, Christian Vasile, and before we begin, I’d like to thank you for tuning in today.

On this episode, I’m talking to Roger Rohatgi, Global Head of Design at BP. It’s such an easy conversation to get pulled in because he’s a really good storyteller. We’re talking about his experience as a design leader in a titanic company about the value frameworks, his team is using to quantify design and about building trust with your stakeholders.

This is a big episode, so settle in and enjoy!

Roger. Welcome to Design Meets Business. I am really excited to have you. I can’t wait for our conversation today. I can tell you I haven’t slept much last night. That’s just how much I’m looking forward to this. You’ve got so much experience in design community. No, this role that you’re having right now as a global head of design at BP, where I know you’re doing some great work, we’ve talked about this.

Um, a couple of weeks ago, I talked about how you’re trying to put your teams at that intersection of design and business. Uh, talk about value frameworks. So we’re going to be talking about all of that today, but before we go into that, I’m going to throw you a curve ball. Now, please tell us about your previous life.

Yeah, I just got 

Roger: to know. Oh, well, thank you so much, Christian. First of all, I just want to thank you for inviting me to be a guest on on this show. It’s a really honor to be with you. Yeah. So look, I think if I go back to those days, there was this passion in me. Uh, well it really came from when I was a kid.

Right. Um, you know, I think I, I always inspired to be the one thing that I probably couldn’t be, which was the. Nice and hopefully use the force one day. Uh, and film captured me at a very young age and, uh carried me all the way through. I ended up oddly having a dream. I woke up and it was an idea for a script.

This is the weirdest thing, but I wrote this script, ended up producing a film out of that script. And yeah, that film ended up winning an international film festival award and a myriad of other things. And it kind of shifted my life in an amazing way.

And it all came from kind of that, that childhood passion and, and a wonder that you get from the movies and all of that, so, right. 

Christian: But you did all of that at the time when you were also designing, right. You are already working as it. 

Roger: Oh, yeah. Yeah. So I’ve been in the design space or doing different types of design for the last 25 years.

So, uh, it’s always been part of what I’ve done even into college. So, that was just an extension of it. I felt the biggest thing for me was how do you, how can we bring our designs or how can we bring these experiences to life and these stories to life and one amazing medium to do that is film.

Christian: Yeah, of course. So how did you find your design career helping you doing that? Or maybe, maybe writing scripts and being in the movie industry in a way helped you in your design career. Was there any patterns that you’ve noticed there? 

Roger: Yeah. Well, I think, yeah, it’s interesting. You say that in my past years, um, you know, in B2B B2C, B2B, B2C agency, side, brand side from designing it, you know, startups to leading design at large companies I found including television and film and all these other mediums They all have the same challenge and that’s how we reach people.

Right. And how do you reach people who have real heartbeats and real needs on the other ends of all these digital devices and screens, big screen, silver screens, even. And so I found that when you’re designing, it’s really about a story, right? No matter what it’s about connecting with people, it’s about engaging people and helping them elevate that experience of whatever they’re engaging with.

It’s the same principles, many ways that we have with film that can translate to design and user experience and vice versa. and you’ve seen that probably evident in some of the ways that even Airbnb talks about it. I think if you go back to some of the early videos and things about their organization, they use the principles of Disney.

And I think it was snow white to, to. To storyboard out what a great experience would be with their customers, right. And interacting. And it’s the same thing in film you’re storyboarding and telling that story to bring people along a journey, to bring that story to life and to help them experience something or sometimes even carry a message across.

And, and I think the same thing as in business, and I think the same thing as in. Yeah, well, 

Christian: this reminds me of, well, Disney Disney is such a great example of design designing for humans. And I’m not necessarily talking about Disney, the movies, I’m talking more so about the rest of the business that they’ve created off the back of that.

Whether it’s the parks and everything else, if you go there, you’ll see every little detail is just designed to perfection, to delight people. And I find that to be such an interesting. Proof of the power of design and how design. More, so a business function than anything else. And at the end of the day, that’s what I brought to you on the show for to discuss about that and to talk about how design is that function of a business that can drive change and innovation and all that good stuff that you know, that we’re here to talk about.

So. Throughout your career a bit creative design here and there. And then you started agencies and you, it became a bit more serious than you did some movies work in Hollywood. And how have you seen that transition throughout all of these years of what the role of a designer used to be 25 years ago versus what it is.

Roger: Yeah, that’s a great question. And honestly, a lot of my career has been I don’t know, somewhat, probably out of survival or shifting with the times, um seeing things evolve. Um if you go back to those days was early days, even I got started in it. It was this there was. You know, passion and, uh, wonderment, if you will, of how to illustrate and bring things to life.

But back then, we began using digital tools the early days of Adobe way before creative suite and all that. And, um and some of these other tools and I began to figure out like, how do we, you know, how, how can we create ways to enhance. Messages for nonprofit orgs, how do we create ways to bring things to life through, through design.

And a lot of that was in print, right? Print media, print, flyers, and that’s how you got the message out years ago. And then it evolved obviously to web. And so web was kind of the big transition there. I think early on a lot of people were really gravitating toward that.

And, and there was this really interesting time period where web was. Prince online almost. And then there was a shift to a flash and motion and for a time, as weird as it was, uh, the industry was getting into this place where we were starting to do flash websites, stuff like that. So I’ll just tell you a funny story.

So I, well, at least I thought it was funny, but maybe not then at the time, but when I w I remember. Wanting to do this flash website, and this is in the nineties. And it, it was, I had this idea. It was going to you, you, you open it up and it just, it transforms like a transformer and opens up and has this experience where you would click and it would retransform and re open back up again for the next page and it, all this stuff.

Right. And, uh, it was more about this theatrical feel than it was actually about. And so we did, we created, it took forever. It seemed like, and we launched it. It was like more money than I’d ever seen anybody invest in a website at the time. And it was incredible, right. It went from like the basic geo city pages and all those different things that people were doing.

Animated enhanced experience. But the big challenge was, is back then in the United States. We were just transitioning from dial up to broadband and stuff. So it took about 15 minutes. Some people could get six minutes, but 15 minutes to load the site. So, so, so we had to put up splash pages.

This is early, early days of user experience. We were like, okay, no one can actually. See the site. So they’re going to sit there for awhile, but they know, we know that they probably want to because it’s so freaking cool, but we had to put up a splash page that said please wait, see, you know, um, it’s gonna take six to 15 minutes don’t go anywhere or grab a coffee.

And had this loading bar. It was it was terrible. And even when they got in, it was amazing. It opened up, did all this. But then if you click to another page, it surely would transform and do all this stuff, but it could take a while for it to transform get to the next page. So anyway, so in the event of early days of of flash and all that, I realized early.

That user experience clearly was going to be. And I didn’t even know, it wasn’t even really called that, but you know how people experience, what you’re designing a was going to be something that I needed to focus on more and more and more. And that just kind of came to be a theme throughout my career.

Christian: It would be unheard of today to ask someone to wait more than a couple of seconds for anything to load. This is just really interesting how it has evolved. And I, yeah, I remember when he used to take minutes to just connect to the internet then here, where he had the noises and all of that, we’ve kind of along the way.

So, you know, one thing that I’m noticing, yeah, go ahead. 

Roger: Well, I was gonna say, yeah, I mean, I think it was in everything like, even in 3d, right? So early on, I remember that I was starting to create commercials and we were putting these on I don’t know, MTV and different sports, television networks and Nickelodeon, different things like that in the U S and we thought, well, I thought, well Hey, why don’t we just get into this 3d thing?

Right. This was all kind of new and stuff. So, um, I didn’t realize it would take 15 to potentially 30 hours to rent. One second, one or two seconds of 30 seconds, a 32nd commercial or a 15 second commercial. So I missed the deadline. I missed the deadline, getting it into the networks, because, um, because, it was rendering still and I couldn’t get it out of render mode.

So, uh you know, we learned a lot back then, so things just took forever and to get. I don’t people. I don’t think the, I don’t think designers and people realize the stuff that we’re doing now, the stuff that we have on mobile phones, the stuff that we have, like in the Palm of our hand used to take like eons for it to be produced, but also for people to actually consume it, you know?

Yeah. Yeah. For sure. 

Christian: I’m not missing one pattern here. Whenever you talk about contributing to all these projects you’re really excited, passionate. And in my mind when someone is so passionate about something, they obviously want to be able to do that for as long as possible. So I didn’t know we were going to take this conversation here.

It was something that I, I wanted to ask towards the end, but let’s start with that. I think a lot of these lines. Start out like you, they become really passionate about what they’re doing. They become really good at what they’re doing. And then sooner or later, they’re going to have to make that decision of whether they want to keep staying as individual contributors or move into management.

And very rarely is that chance of doing it as a hybrid role it’s either or in most of the places nowadays. So considering you’re so passionate about that idea of contributing and creating all of these projects, how come you’ve ended up on a management? 

Roger: Yeah. You know, that’s a great question. And actually my career and journey took an interesting turn early on, I think because when I was starting my path in design or just that, you know, it w you know, endeavor into figuring out what design was and how to.

Uh, that I knew that what I was trying to achieve. So I remember designing one of the first things I was trying to design for were flyers to get people to come to an event. Right. Which was, uh, like a positive, rave kind of thing back in the day. Right. Where people even had those, right. It was music and cool things.

Right. And we were building up to. Uh, so like these events where people would come and so we had to create these flyers. I want to create these flyers and different ways to get people’s attention. Right. And we’d pass these out. And I went from like just a hundred flyers to, to 200 flyers to, you know, to, to then one of the five by the time, you know, a couple of years later is about 30,000 flyers.

Right. And, um, and, and now I was trying to get people to come to a stadium for it. Right. And what I realized there was that when I was young, I mean, it was like, gosh, I had to been about, I don’t know, 20 something like very early. Maybe 21. So I like that. I knew that I needed to get on television. So I, I was talking on TV.

Some people were giving me air time. I knew I wanted to put commercials on TV. I knew that to do a stadium events somehow, and I was in college. So. I actually had this professor, uh let me pause here for a second and just tell you this. So this professor, there was a class I had in college that was called, uh, media management.

 And I took it as a younger classmen. But it was an upper-class, uh, you know, class, right. You’re supposed to take it much later in, in, in school, but I decided to jump into there. I was quite bored with your traditional. Classes. So I wanted something a lot more interesting. And so I did, and the professor was very interesting.

He looked at the whole entire class and it was quite a bit of people in this class and he said, what is your dream? And everybody just kind of sat back and said, wait, what, what is your. And that was the question. And so everybody kind of sat there for a little bit, wrote down some ideas. Uh, I can’t remember if we came back the next day or the next class, but at some point we said to him what our, what our dream was, each one of us and his, his direction then was do it.

And he made us pick one of those things and actually create it, figuring out how to do it. And so one of mine was to create this radio station type thing. Right. And so I had to know every detail possible, and this is the business and design side of things. Right. You have an idea. Uh, but then I had to figure out practically how to make it happen.

 If we pull this thread a little bit, I’ll, I’ll, it’ll come to the exact answer, hopefully that you were, you were asking, but what does that mean? So I had to know everything that I was going to spend on the music rights the details behind it. But if I was going to run a radio station, you know, how much I was going to spend on the cleaning products for the bathrooms, as much as I was going to spend on those rights for those songs and how I was going to work with artists and how I was going to have talent on air and everything you can imagine shows scripts and everything, but also projections and performance and business.

He was asking us to do. Projections and coming up with budgets and things that I, I was just a college kid. I was like, wait, what, what is this, all this I, I just wanted to have and design something amazing. Not, not, I don’t I don’t want to be in spreadsheets, you know, but all of a sudden I realized that it, that it was going to take that.

So when I did my first stadium event, just as a young, like really young. I, I had this idea, right? I wanted people to dive into the stadium, skydive for out of a plane to dive into the stadium. And while they’re diving into the stadium, I want it to be able to be on stage, talk to the crowd, and then they could talk to us in the air and talk back and forth and then have somebody, and then have somebody in the audience.

Talk to me on stage, back and forth, like one of my correspondents. So I pulled this off. It was the craziest thing, but what I, but to get that. I also had to have, like, I had to figure out how much I was going to get the money to have insurance, to cover the field. The skydivers, the people needed to go to the bathroom.

So there was portable bathrooms. I had to figure out how to spend on. And then I had breakdancers and big, like car competitions and skateboard, half pipes in there for people to come and all that, all that had details. And this. I realized two main things, everything that you want to do in a big way and design, it requires a lot of detail behind the scenes to pull it off.

And it requires a lot more people than yourself. And so early on, even though I was designing, I was never an individual contributor because I knew to achieve the. I had to have the detail and the people to help me pull it off, along with the money. But I could not do it alone. And to get there, I had to not just design myself, but I had to lead other people on, not just my vision, but practically how to execute.

So as an early young man, as a young man, early on in my career, I was already. Like having to direct people to get things done because I knew I couldn’t do it all. And honestly, because I didn’t have the skill or I didn’t have the time. And so I think that’s the key. That was the key for me.

And I think that’s the key that’s carried me along into business management or design management is that you need people and great people and teams of people to pull this off. And you need to be really clear on the vision, the excitement and the passion, but also on the. Yeah. 

Christian: So how is that translating into how you do today? Do you still have the same principles that you base your daily work-life on, you know, whether that’s the vision, whether that’s, you know, people, all of that is that, that is that translating 20, 25 years later? 

Roger: Yeah. I mean, I think, look, I mean, let’s, I mean, maybe I could just share a little bit about what’s going on here in our company.

 Because then I can maybe answer that question in a broader sense, but absolutely. I mean, just in a simple way, the answer is yes, it is a daily occurrence of a blend between vision and passion and design. Even aesthetic and education even, and the detail and the operations and the means to be able to get all that done.

And again, you can’t, and I can’t achieve what I believe we need to achieve as a company or as even a design leader. Without all these amazing people around me and making sure that we cover off on all of these little details. And it’s why design ops has become so important in what we do, but there’s so many other aspects to that. 

so just to give you a context of what I mean and what we’re doing and why. Um, the company I worked for BP, um, which is as you know a global fortune 10 company, one of the largest companies in the world, time magazine called this company in a category of the hundred, most influential companies, I think of, uh, I think it was 2020 or so there was a category called Titans and in there I believe was Amazon and Netflix and all these other companies, but.

Our company BP and it, and it got me thinking how big a company like this and companies like this are. And so they reached out to me at the end of 2019, via LinkedIn of all places and said, Hey, what you know, um, w would you be interested in chatting with us? We have a unique opportunity and, uh, we’d love to talk to you about it.

We see what you’re doing out there in the world and design and leadership and we’d love to talk to you. So I was. Surprised. Uh but my father had been the oil business for 50 years. And so I knew that there was these really brilliant minds and really amazing people doing some incredible things. And so I listened to what they had to say.

And it was extremely, uh, Interesting because they were, they had all these cool things going on. They have AR and VR and AI and robotic dogs walking around and fleets of drones. And you’ve got like, robots going up walls and through pipes and underwater and all these really interesting things in technology sake.

 But remember I told you my journey along the way had been. Very much about helping companies and organizations and groups figure out how to connect with people, right? How do you get that real true human connection? That could be a human experience. And it turns out BP was no different and they had all this technology and they were on embarking on this new digital transformation.

Right. Sometimes the center or the centering on a human can get lost. So when I jumped into the mix I said, look, let’s bring human experience design here, which Brian Pogon says, uh, that it’s, you know, combines UX CX, and, um, you know, the user experience, the customer experience and the stake stakeholders.

Right. And that makes up this full human experience. But what I realized was that I was the first design leader for user experience and digital and BPS a hundred plus year history. And, um, and my task ahead of me was to codify design for the first time in BP. And when I looked across the landscape, there were lots of designs.

But not, we weren’t doing design big design and big design in a way that could bring big change. And so I was excited to go on that mission and set out to really establish human experience, design and BP. This is going to lead to the answer. I think that you’re asking about how do we do that every day, but one of the things I, I realized.

Um, and got excited about early on was I think it was my second week I was in London and it was February of 20, 20 pre pandemic pre COVID, or at least as we knew it. And our CEO at the time, he had just stepped into his new role had announced that’s BP would be shifting and changing reinventing itself And we would be marching toward net zero by 2050, and there were five aims to help our company get there and five aims to help the world get there.

Now, since then, we’ve added more, but I remember feeling this, this overwhelming sense of excitement and gratitude. I went back to my hotel that evening and realized that I had, and we, as a company had been given a gift, a gift to help a company that was an international oil company become not just an integrated energy company, which is what’s happening in IEC.

So going from an IOC to an IEC, but a company that actually could make an impact on the world. And I could actually blend, not just doing designed to help humans, which is much needed in this company and around the world. But also our planet and that week. Re-imagined energy. So we talk about how we are harnessing human experience design, to reimagine energy for people and planet, and not just by words, but by deeds.

And there’s lots of that going on and how we design for that. The reason I tell you all that is because at a company or a tightened, like this design is massive. And so the scale is huge. And so you asked the question, how has those principles carried on? And so your daily life here in the company you’re with, so to give you an idea of that, Scale, there’s over 200,000 interfaces that we know of.

Um, we are building one of the largest design systems in the world and an amazing person with me who I couldn’t do it alone. Uh, his name is Gerald. He is, one of the best at this right. 60 plus design systems under his belt. He’s deep in the weeds of making this happen, but, we onboarded 470 plus designers to that design system in 11 months last year.

Wow. , 600 to 800 designers w churned through here last year. And the reason I’m saying that is because the scale of the amount of designers that came through, we needed to have an operations, uh which, uh, our head of operations, uh, design ops, is another amazing person.

His name is Richard, and he’s doing a great job of trying to figure out how to make all of this work on a detailed level for scale. So we have beets. Design and beats to C. Uh so for instance, in B2B, it could be a myriad of things. We work with lots of other companies from Uber to Amazon to, I mean, you can see these in the news.

We have all sorts of kind of partnerships with organizations. Obviously we have our own entities, that own companies that are business to business. And then of course we have B to C, right. And all of the things that we do in that. Uh, from Evie charging to to all of our consumer offerings as well.

And then, you know, the bigger things for consumers that people don’t know behind the scenes, the wind farms, the solar, all those things. But what’s interesting is it’s also B to N which I call business to nation. So helping whole entire governments potentially, or cities become sustainable in the future.

Like, like maybe the initiative that you’ve seen, that we started with, um Aberdeen with the hydrogen hub, uh, to, to enterprise software. So all the internal. Software and the employee experience and all of those things, which is quite massive. And so the reason I tell you all that is because the only way to achieve and accomplish design and transformation, and to move into more of a design led orientation of how we do things to put people and planet first, we have to.

I’m really conscious that we can’t do it alone. We need a lot of people to help us, including the community of design. That’s not even with us internally, but they are rallying us to help us change this company to make this difference in the world, but also the details and that operations. So every day we.

Um, thinking through, and I’m thinking through all those details on a small scale, like, uh, individually what’s happening, how do we get this? How do we move this? How can we accomplish this? But it’s all tethered to that larger vision that we have of how to embed best practice of human experience design.

And, and re-imagine how we do this for people and planet and tethered to our aims as a company. Right. And there’s a lot of business outcomes. Th those aims are tethered to as well as outcomes that we know that will benefit, not just our generation, but generations to come when we’re no longer here for our planet.

So I know I talked a long time, so forgive me for that question. But I wanted to just give that bigger picture, because that question that you asked is not a, it’s not a S it’s not just a cut and dry answer other than the answers. Yes. But there’s so much more that goes behind that, of why it’s so important to have your, your understanding.

Uh, the vision, the people that actually can help make it happen, the talent and the details that have to go along with that. and so if I look back to that college class and go all the way back to what that man and that wonderful professor asked, what is your dream? And then he said, now do it. I had no idea that I would be doing that years later in the same manner that he taught us.

Christian: Yeah, that’s a nice way to loop it back to your college professor. He’d be proud. You told me, you told us about being the first. The design director in BP’s history. And I want to draw a bit of a parallel to the, if I’m not mistaken, the first design director in BGS history, British gas, who, with whom I had absolute pleasure of working with.

And a lot of the work he was doing, obviously BG is not as, as big as, as BP, but still quite a large organization with a lot of clients. And a lot of the work that he was. And at high level was about framing design and advocating for design in front of people who didn’t really know what design was doing.

And in front of people who are still thinking that design is just a matter of making things look good. And he was doing that through a lot of these frameworks, through a lot of bringing numbers through a lot of even bringing some of these directors. Never had, we’ve never spoken to one single customer, bringing them to two testing sessions and things like that on the ground to see they got to see what design really was doing.

So I’m wondering in an even larger organization that you’re working for, how are you talking about design and how are you advocating that the work that design can do in front of all those massive C-level stakeholders? 

Roger: Yeah, no, I think it’s a great question. And I, you know, I think once. So, so there’s a part of, um of this that is so massive.

It can be overwhelming, right? The scale is so big. And, and when you talk about a Titan company, I kind of refer to it just in my head as, as kind of tightened design because you know, that it there’s so much that has to get done and it’s gonna affect the world. I remember I was talking to a cousin of mine on my mom’s side were Hispanic and, and so my cousin was living in south America.

She was saying, oh, you work for BP. That’s so exciting. You know, BP built my village many years ago or her town or whatever. And you realize that these companies that are out there like these big ones are they’re making massive global change. We all want them to do good and make this difference.

And I think that’s the journey we’re on and getting an impact. So there’s that big vision, but to your point, how do you tether that to the daily stuff, but also how. The interesting thing is the question is like that you asked, like, how do you get that done? And I mentioned, people are a big part of that.

And I mentioned it’s about the talent and the people around us and around me to help make that happen. But it’s also equally important. To have your stakeholders and leaders and or organization come along with you and that’s not always easy. And so we talk about human experience design, as I mentioned about being a UX CX, but also.

Yes, right. The employee experience with the enterprise experience, or even what we call stake X stakeholder experience. And that stakeholder experience needs to be just as delightful and just as informative and just as, clear as it is for your external customers. And when we talk about stakeholders, they’re the people that we work with in different products and projects, which are, are massive, but it’s also our leaders.

Right. And to your point, I mean, the first question I got when I came here from a lot of people that were in executive roles was. Well, what, what do you mean by design? You know, welcome, welcome. But what do you, what do you mean by design? And then when I answered that and help them understand what this means, and it’s not just about UI and pixels, but it’s about the user experience.

And it’s not just about these experience, but it’s about the whole service design and how it all ties together. And that end to end journey. And that storyboarding that we talked about, which, which could be also called story framing. Right. Instead of just wireframing how do you story frame this right.

And how do we elevate that? And I think they got it right. But then they’re like, well, what do you, what? So so now that we know what design is, what, what do you, what is design and BP, and then had to bring them along that journey. And for a while, it seemed to be an intangible thing for people to grasp.

Right. And we learned, or I learned how to, and, and thinking back again, going back to that professor. Um, wait a minute. This is also about the business value and the numbers, just this is it about the impact and the experience. And so, so to give you an example of how people started understanding it better and how we started articulating it better is something that goes like this.

Uh, so in one of our areas of business there’s over. 1400 types of applications. Now we have many, many, many more than that. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s massive. Okay. But just imagine just this one area and what we found in, if you take one of those applications of the 1400, right. And I’m just kind of rounding the number.

We found that there were 3,500 users and people, right. Humans using this program and. The user experience was quite poor. As a matter of fact, it was taking quite a bit of time for people to get through several key user journeys, key navigational elements, to be able, to get to a certain, outcome.

And so if you take 3,500 employees, At an average $50,000 salary with 1,920 working hours. And you work out the math of how long it’s taking for people to get through that journey. It looked like it was costing the company around $16 million. Now I’m just, I’m just giving you a rough example, right? No, not, not trying to give you actual numbers, but just an example.

So 3,500 employees, average $50,000 salary, 1,920 working hours. And it’s costing the company $16 million of lost time and, and a myriad of other things we took that’s as an approach, we began to change some of the user journeys and actually it was one of our designers that came up with this amazing formula that was with us and.

Uh, when we looked at it, we actually realized that we’re saving the company about $6 million, by applying better user experience. So if we were to take that same pattern and apply it to a myriad of other apps in that particular area, not all could use it, but let’s say a hundred of those 1400.

Could you see that it could be. Six, a hundred million dollar savings and so forth right now. I know it’s a stretch and I know we’re kind of, you know, using kind of fuzzy math here, but the point is is that there are ways to be able to tether the impact that we have of design back to the value we can bring.

In numbers that can be shown through what we can save people internally or save our customers in time spent, or time lost and so forth. Simultaneously, we can also look at numbers that we could achieve and finance that we could achieve by making, um, changes in the user experience to be better for customers that in turn, allow them to purchase more , or engage with us more, or what have you.

Now we also know that value, isn’t just tethered to numbers. And so there are a myriad of other metrics and things that we’ve looked at to also quantify. And we can also say that well, even with that save time, it also is reduced time on screen. And so therefore there could be a CO2 savings as well. So so there’s a myriad of things that we can look at to bring value.

And when you start showing this to stakeholders and leaders who think that way anyway, from a business perspective, it starts to show that there is a real. Impact that UX and design can bring to a daily business a mode of operation, as well as elevating the experience of people internally. 

Christian: Yeah, I love the fact that you brought the conversation to this value framework, because I assume that it, at that level that you’re working at these numbers and being able to quantify design is very important to be able to get buy in from all the other stakeholders to continue investing in design.

What I’d like to know a bit more around is more on the ground, the actual designers doing this work. How do you empower. To always make sure that there is some sort of quantifiable impact to their work because let’s be honest design education. Doesn’t teach that. We’re not really talking too much about it as an industry where we’re still kind of in that gray area of a lot of people and a lot of other stakeholders, not really understanding what design does.

So on a daily basis, is there anything that you or your team are trying to do to make sure that every single little effort you do in design. He’s quantified in a way or another. 

Roger: Yeah. So that’s a great question. I think it’s important too just be as transparent as possible to say that look, you know, we, this is all brand new for our company.

Um, design is new here even though a hundred plus years and design has been here, but not in this way, not in a codified manner, not big design, right. And even brand has done stuff. And there have been great brand leaders for brand design, but as it relates to digital and user experience and what we’re doing, it’s all new.

And so. We’re still to be honest, figuring this out, right. Trying to figure out how to quantify this and actually show value and we can’t do it alone. Right. We need to do it together and we need help on a daily basis and the other part of that messages, the fact that, you know, a lot of times we have designers jumping in the mix of products and projects that they weren’t brought in at the beginning.

So they’re coming in, in the middle, of course, or, or sometimes they’re at the end, just putting a layer of UI on which is not where we want to be. Things are shifting now. Right. We’re starting to see people, um really dive into the way that we want to do design thinking and have. Early on in the equation and being more upfront in how we approach things from service, design and research, and really getting to understand our customers and our users needs and pain points before we actually.

So I think there’s, we’re on a journey here. We don’t have the exact formula to do it. Right. But we do have a value framework that we’ve created. We do have a way to say, if we start something, uh he look, here’s what we can do from elevating the experience to what we can save, what we can, um, maybe achieve or, or how we can grow the company.

And then here’s, here’s maybe even, the, uh, some other lenses like around CO2 and things like that. But. But is it always the case where we get to start at the beginning? It’s it’s not the reality is that, you know, it’s sometimes we’re getting pulled in everywhere in between.

So how do you do it in that world? And that’s where you have to continue to, to help educate our stakeholders and help educate our leaders and even, even our partners and people around us to say, let’s go back and have more. Iteration of hearing back from our customers. let’s hear back from our users.

let’s be able to get that data point and continue to look at those data points. So a lot of the data that we need at the beginning may not be there, but if we can get it throughout the product or project, then that’s something that I think is important. If we can get the data upfront, if we can get the research upfront, if we can look ahead to say, this is what we’re trying to achieve, this is how we will measure together.

Here’s the KPIs or the OKR and all those. And then we can actually see what we’ve achieved. So there are moments when we’re doing that, there are awesome, examples of how we’ve done that. Some of, I just mentioned. but it always doesn’t happen right up to the front, but like I said, as we’re growing and evolving as an org and as a discipline, and as we’re evolving as a company, we’re getting better at that over and over every day.

I think some of it though is also going to be realized in time. So take the design system, for instance, one of the most powerful thing. But, some companies can do what we believe that we could do to be able to achieve, um, reusability circularity, allow for designs to be able to be picked up in a way that can, can be leveraged across all of our apps and services and areas.

And obviously there’s a time savings, a speed to market. Design systems also designed and coded and basic code including reacts. So we know that it can help developers as well. And it’s that cross section and bridge our design engineering group is just as important as our design ops group, right?

As well as all of our other sub-disciplines of design from research to service design, to product design, to content design and on and even, you know, all of the things that we look at as, as we look at business design, but what we’ve realized is that these things take time.. Things that scale to understand the efficiencies and gains that you’re going to get.

You can predict, you can forecast, you can put a formula to it, but sometimes it just going to take some time to be able to fully realize it. So we know that thankfully we have leaders in a company that believes in us enough to know that we are marching toward the right path. They get it.

They’re ready to see how it’s going to, materialize. There were other things that we can show today where we’ve saved millions of dollars. And then there are times and that, but we know that in the future, some of these things could save hundreds of millions of dollars and not only that, but make a better experience for our customers and our users even internally and externally, but also make it.

For the future of, uh, of our planet. So that’s kind of where I believe we are trying to learn, right? This is a journey, but also do at the same time, 

Christian: I want to highlight something that you’ve mentioned a couple of times already, which I think is actually one of the more important parts of what you just said, which is.

Changing got changing organizations takes time, the larger they are, the more time it takes. And I feel that sometimes especially maybe younger people join organizations and then things aren’t necessarily going according to their plans and they want to implement change, but they don’t realize that change doesn’t happen overnight.

Change takes time. And you said earlier, you’re fortunate enough to have leaders who believe in. Who are willing to give it a time to make that change, but that’s not always the case. The leaders don’t always buy into design straight away. And I find, and I’d be curious to hear if you agree with this, that if you’re able is a.

To build trust with everyone in your organization, trust in you as a person, but also trust in your design process and the powers of design. Then you’re much more likely to get a longer runway to be allowed to make those changes as well as more, let’s say more. More confidence from the people around you that whatever you’re going to do is going to work because you’ve built that trust.

So how do you find that concept of trust? How important is it and how do you build that with everyone 

Roger: in a company? Yeah, so, no, I think, I think you’re hitting on something that’s really, really, really important. And you mentioned like, you know, young designers or designers in general, where we’re on a huge hiring spree.

We want to bring as, as, as much great talent to BP as possible. and so that we can make this change and do that. And a lot of times when people come here, they are used to a certain lifestyle, uh, Lifestyle where they’re on a quick sprint basis and things are they’re happening really fast.

And, and th that does happen here too. Again, we have some people ask me, like, what kind of design do you do at BP? I’m like, w what kind of design don’t we do here? It’s just so much. It’s it’s one day you could be working on something for Evie, or you could be working on something for shipping or finance.

And then next thing you know, you’re working on something for, like I said, AR VR, or even humanizing the way we do autonomous robotics and things. So it’s very, very wide ranging and sometimes it’s really fast. And sometimes though, when we look at the change that we’ve got to make, it’s a marathon and you have to build relationships like, like you said, and when I found.

Some people could be the best designer in the world and come here. But if they don’t know how to build that relationship and have that great stakeholder experience, as much as they can have a great user experience, they may not be as successful in their will they be successful? Sure. But will they be as successful as they could be?

Right. Those stakeholders are the gatekeeper of our designs. They could approve them or deny them. And in that relationship, like you said, really tethers to trust. Right. And so that good steak. If you have really good steak, X and your design isn’t as great. You can go very far now. It’d be great if both of them are there, but sometimes it’s okay right now.

Um, as long as we can make sure that we are building that trust and growing. And I think what’s interesting too, is to kind of go back to some of the tenants of what we believe. Because at the end of the day, human experience design is really about.

 Building that trust. Right. and I think with stakeholders one of the, one of the biggest things that we find is if they, if they don’t trust us we’re not going to, to achieve where we want to get. Right. And I think one. Uh, one of the things I talk about a lot of times is the four CS that I kind of discovered through some research and stuff around what makes us human and those four CS are that humans.

What separates us from AI and other, other things on the planet is that we are cultural, right? So humans, we communicate using. Are written and oral language and ideas and knowledge and practices, and it’s our culture that makes us unique. Right. we’re innately curious, right? So, uh, we are always exploring and have a desire for, and we’re full of wonder, just like, if you think about me as a kid with the movies and all of that, I mean, Is what I was curious about too, to bring along and we’re seeking those new experiences, and how we can change our lives and the lives of others.

And that’s, that’s a separation we’re also creative, right? So we can use our imagination to create something new in the world. And it’s something very unique to us and we can constantly seek to, you know, make new things, that set apart from other creatures and so forth. but. Piece of that.

The, of the, of the four CS cultural curious, creative is compassion and being compassionate. We are, um, driven by the need and our very core, to understand others hopefully. And that empathy is what connects us there, and compassion. And this is tying it back to what you said. Believe it or not.

Compassion equals. So the very thing to be able to get to trust that our stakeholders will believe in us and want to be a part of what we do. And we bringing them along the journey, tethers back to how much compassion or empathy we have for them as much as we have for our users and customers. That is the key.

And truly, if we can dial that in and double down on that compassion that will equal trust and trust, as we know, will really elevate us as a company, as a brand. And what you do as it is. 

Christian: Yeah. I want to add a practical way to build that, go to show that compassion I only remember exactly where this comes from, but, or maybe I’ve read an article, where they were talking about doing this.

But whenever I joined a new company, the first thing that I do is I make a list of all the stakeholders that I will be working with quite often. And then I go on a 15 minute call and ask them questions that the question. Are mostly about them. What can I, as a designer do to make your life easier?

What’s important to you? What has the previous designer done that you would have wanted to be done differently? It’s not about me. The call is not about me. I’m they can ask questions that they want to, but it’s mostly about me trying to understand how can I fit into the, if I’m a puzzle piece, do I fit into and how can I fit into this puzzle piece that I’ve just joined?

And I think what that does is straight off the bat create. ’cause you’re, you’re not just a guy who joins and comes in like a raging bull and wants to change everything you’re coming in and first listening to the needs of everyone else. So that’s a practical example of how you can actually do something like this. build a trust in, um, and show compassion and empathy for, um, stakeholders as much as you do for you. 

Roger: Yeah, it really does come down to, to be all about people, you know, at the end of the day. Right that’s kinda what we’re here for. 

Christian: Yeah. Roger. I know we do not have a lot of time. So, um I’d like to ask you the two questions that, uh, that I usually ask at the end of the podcast.

Every guests, uh, gets these. So the first one is what is one soft skill soft skill that you wish more designers would that. 

Roger: Well, I mean, I think we’ve talked about it, right? Like how can we really build trust and how can you have really good communication with stakeholders at the end of the day? Can you treat them as much as, and care for them as much as you care for your your external customers and the designs that you’re doing?

Um, can you elevate and delight them just as much as you delight your customers, that soft skill comes in in, um, Yeah. Thinking about the details following up, answering those emails, making sure that you don’t let things wait in your inbox. You know I know we’re busy designing and doing those things, but, but we, we need to respond to people.

We need to care for them. Let’s put them and people above our designs and then our designs will elevate above to impact people. Right. So it’s kind of this circular concept there. So I think that’s really important. 

Christian: Yeah. And, uh, what’s one piece of advice that has changed your career for the better. 

Roger: Well, it’s funny you say, change your career because I think that’s the very thing.

So I think, you know, early on the advice I got was embrace change. So embrace the messy. And I, I like to refer to it as when you look at, a Chrysalis, right, or a cocoon, um, you know, something’s going into, you know, that going into that cocoon and it weaves this thing, and it’s very dark.

There’s lots of there’s this moment in that. You know that life that’s is very violence, right? Lots of reactions. There’s lots of changes happening. There’s true elements that are just really, struggling and there’s a big struggle there. Right. And it’s messy and it’s it’s tough.

It’s not easy. And it’s, and it seems like there’s no way out, but then all of a sudden, There’s a way to break through and break free and all this stuff that happened inside that Chrysalis shows that something has been completely created brand new. And if you look at a lot of times, companies call things, a digital transformation. And even our company we’re going through that or what I like to call digital awakening. but I like to call it also a digital metamorphosis the basic definition of transformation is going from one thing to another. The definition of metamorphosis is going from one thing to something completely different, and it’s not just something.

Along the same path, but it’s something completely different and it really is messy and tough sometimes to get there. There’s a lot of ambiguity, but if, if we can embrace that, and that was what I learned is that sometimes it’s inevitable that those moments are gonna come. Those times are gonna come to get to that vision, to achieve that vision, to achieve that outcome.

Right. It takes people, it takes details. It takes time, all those themes that we just mentioned, but it also. Has to be understood that there is a period where it’s going to be dark. It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be a struggle, but that’s part of the process. And if you embrace that change, if you embrace that messiness, if you embrace that struggle, then you can see what that true metamorphosis that you were hoping to become or what you were hoping to make an impact.

The quote. That I live by years ago was change is the only hope we have. And now, now this, this quote came from my, the guy that was cutting my hair, uh years ago. So I thought maybe he was making, he may have been making fun of my hair. I don’t know, but, but I still took it personally as something for life.

So change is the only hope we have. I think that was what I learned years ago. And it’s not easy to put in practice. I’m not always still good at it, but if you can embrace the messy, embrace the struggle, embrace the change, then you can truly see the transformation or, or really metamorphosis that you’re you are envisioning for your life and for your company.

Christian: I love that. It’s so great. We’re nearing the end. Where can people find out more about you? Where can they get in touch with you if they have any questions. And I also know you said earlier, you’re hiring. So where can people go if they’re interested in. 

Roger: Yeah. Yeah. We’re hiring so super excited. Yeah. They can find me on LinkedIn.

Um, you know, obviously Roger Rohatgi , uh, if you want to search my LinkedIn you know, obviously reach out and apply directly on our site@bp.com. There’s there’s ways to apply, but if you, uh, ping me directly messaged me on LinkedIn I’ll direct you to the right person and maybe we can also have a conversation to.

Christian: Amazing. We’ll make it easy for people to find all these links in the show notes. So Roger, once again, thank you very much for being part of the design meets business journey. This has been a great conversation and honestly, I don’t know when the hour has passed. So I’m wondering whether maybe it’ll be time to bring you on a further season, to talk even more.

So, yeah. Thanks again for this conversation has been awesome. 

Roger: Yeah. Likewise, Christian, I’d be honored to come back and I’m so privileged and thankful and grateful that you had me here today. So thank you so much. 

Christian: Yeah.

That’s so wrapped for today. Bye. Hope you found this episode useful in that you’ve learned something that you’re ready to implement at work tomorrow. If you’ve enjoyed this as always, it would mean the world to me. If you’d share it with your community, if you’d leave a review. And of course, if you’d remember to tune in for the next one, peace.