(d.school fellow 2013-2014)
Fred Leichter is a senior vice president for Fidelity Investments and has designed customer experiences there for more than 20 years. He has served as the company's Chief Customer Experience Officer, and prior to that was the Senior Vice President for User Interface and Design.
“I was always drawn to visual things and experience,” Fred says. His early interest in Web design coincided with the realization among Fidelity’s leadership that the company would need a site of its own to remain competitive and interact with customers where they were. His passion has since evolved to include interfaces and how to fulfill human needs through effective design.
No stranger to the d.school, Fred said the institute caught his eye in 2006. Since then, he's been developing a mastery of design thinking, bringing the methodology to Fidelity in an effort to improve the company’s digital and analog customer experiences.
Fred has centered his design-thinking approach around a key goal in the financial community: improving workers' capacity for saving money. Fidelity has since done numerous partnerships with the d.school, and Fred has been an ardent proponent of design thinking, appearing in a Wall Street Journal piece on the d.school in 2012 and publishing a piece for the Harvard Business Review on how Fidelity applies the process.
His time studying and applying human-centered design has taught Fred to “fall in love with the problem, not the solution,” and to appreciate the value of measuring learning more than measuring the end result. He believes that these and other lessons have helped him make progress on behalf of the company, but that he still has far to go.
During his time as a d.school fellow, Fred hopes to further refine his understanding of design thinking and implement the process over a longer period of time with small innovation teams. Fred says he looks forward to teaching, having served as a mentor to d.school fellows in the past.
Fred is a curling enthusiast who has participated in four national championships and two Olympic trials. He also coaches his son, who hopes to be an Olympic curler.
How Fidelity Used Design Thinking to Perfect Its Website Fred Leichter, Harvard Business Review