Fast Company features top design thinker Melody Roberts (MDes 1998) in the recent article Dynamic Duos: Don Thompson and Melody Roberts Of McDonald’s On Serving BillionsThe Yale and IIT Institute of Design alumna was poached from elite design consultancy IDEO seven years ago. She is now the senior director of experience design innovation at McDonalds, and “one of the most important figures driving the company’s reinvention.” She leads teams at one of the most secretive programs at McDonald’s Innovation Center where any McDonald’s partner can come and try out new concepts in a neutral design environment. It was in this warehouse that the chain’s new interiors—softer lighting, comfier seating, and a more grown-up, hangout-friendly vibe—were originally workshopped.

Using design thinking across the organization requires figuring out what the organization needs to build and grow broadly, versus focusing on a design team.
–Melody Roberts

Roberts has said that she structured McDonald’s innovation programs into 100-day “bursts,” with ample breaks for analysis and downtime between each, explaining that the pacing “just seems to fit our natural human and social rhythms.” She and Don Thompson are also studying the firm’s global network for initiatives that might be worth instituting company-wide.

Melody was also featured in the article 3 Big Insights From Today’s Top Design Thinkers and judged the 2012 Innovation By Design Awards: Service Design category.