Speaker: Adena Friedman

January 26, 2015 • Tami Evnin

Adena Friedman, President of Nasdaq, will give the welcome remarks at Pro/Design. She has served many management roles at Nasdaq for over a decade, and most recently served as CFO and Managing Director of The Carlyle Group before returning to Nasdaq as President. She is a strong supporter of our Product Design team and infusing our company’s product development process with design.

What does “design-enabled” mean to you as an executive?

Design helps us deeply understand our customers. We utilize personas that our design team creates so that we can then make sure that whatever we build fits to the personas we’re trying to sell to. This exercise is huge to making sure our customers can actually use what we build – they can find what they need, they have a workflow that actually makes their lives easier, and they have a really wonderful experience when using the product.

No one team should own a process or a product. It’s a community that has to be created between design, development, product management, and sales. Design has to play an equal role.

Have you seen the industry trend towards companies saying they are benefiting from design?

It depends on the industry. The consumer industry has been there a long time. Most consumer companies these days have to appeal online. They’ve done an increasingly good job at creating workflow that makes it very easy for people to find what they need—and buy it.

I would say that in the financial industry, we’ve got a long way to go. If you think about the systems we’ve been relying on for many years, they’re big, and the industry is used to work-arounds.

On the consumer side, I still think Finance is way behind, but they are recognizing the fact that they have to compete for consumers. When consumers report to work, they have to go to these antiquated, black-screen systems where they have to know specific key-strokes to get to what they want. But that’s just not the way the world works anymore. The world is working toward being more accessible, easy to find data, and workflows that make you more productive. We are extremely focused on a good experience in our Next Gen platforms. We want to make sure that our clients can become more productive because of the user experience they have with us.

What has led to the continuing investment in a product design team at Nasdaq, instead of potentially outsourcing it?

There’s an industry-agnostic expertise brought in by design, but at the end of the day we want our design team to become intimately involved with our clients. You don’t do that overnight, or by hiring an outside firm.

For us this is a continuous product development exercise. We have more products we want to build in this way, and we want to have a long-term experience with our clients. So, we need to have an experience team inside to help us on that journey. And frankly, in the long term it’ll be cheaper and more efficient.

Why is Nasdaq hosting a design conference? What do you want attendees to take away from Pro/Design?

Get to know each other! Hear ideas that you can take back that are actionable in your organization. It can be something very big or very small, but something that is actionable and will improve your organization.

We can gain a lot from the attendees – this is still relatively new to us, so we want to try to learn from people who are already established so that we can shortcut some of the pitfalls they’ve overcome along the way. Some of the companies are our clients or prospects, so we want to create a community for companies who might go public one day, or who are already public.

Finally, we are excited to host the conference at our newly renovated MarketSite. We are in the middle of an incredibly creative city and we feel MarketSite is a great venue to inspire creativity. It is our showcase of who we are. It will be nice for people to see how some of the design elements we brought into the physical space match up to what we do in the virtual space.