The 5 Growing Pains of Global Innovation

Patricia Wang & Lenka Cechova, Sr. Design Researchers, WorkSpace Futures, Steelcase

“In a global economy, ideas get even better when we have a team that is not only diverse professionally or ethnically, but also geographically. People who come to the innovation process immersed in the sights and sounds of other cultures bring a deeper layer of insight to the problem at hand.” — Cherie Johnson, Steelcase Director of Design

As organizations seek to remain competitive, scale, and reach new people, many are leveraging diversity, becoming more agile, and seeking to be more relevant to local markets around the world. This geographic reach puts strain on teams collaborating across cultures, systems, and timezones. As leaders define the new goals for innovation, not all organizational functions evolve at the same pace. The gap between the goals of the organization and its support structures leave workers caught in the middle, experiencing frustrations and feeling ill-equipped to do their jobs.

Steelcase Senior Researchers Patricia Wang and Lenka Cechova were studying this shift before COVID-19 happened, and their insights are even more important now that we’re all distributed across the globe and working to constantly innovate, even while collaborating remotely.

They asked: How might we help teams address the growing pains of global innovation? And uncovered 5 key growing pains of globally distributed innovation, as well as insights and directions to mitigate a changing economy and multi-cultural society.

Join us for Design Museum LIVE as Patricia and Lenka share their research, walk through the 5 pain points, and discuss how they’ve seen organizations overcome these barriers to global innovation. They’ll answer your questions and interact via a virtual whiteboard to make this research actionable for everyone.

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Patricia Wang and Lenka Cechova are design researchers in Workspace Futures for Steelcase Inc, the global leader in the contract furniture industry. Patricia and Lenka use human-centered design methods to support new market strategies and product development efforts in workplace environments, conducting design research wherever work happens.

Prior to Steelcase, Patricia has worked with Procter & Gamble, Autodesk, and SC Johnson to envision and create a more user-centered world.

Patricia earned a bachelor of science in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University and completed masters in design and business administration with a focus on design research and strategy from the Institute of Design, a part of the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Lenka, came to Steelcase from HP Inc., Columbia Sportswear and eBay where she supported various UX research activities. Lenka earned a bachelor of fine arts in Graphic Design from University of Illinois and masters in Human-Centered Design from Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology.

Jun 12 • 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Video Webinar

Webinar, Instructions

All times are Eastern Time.

Patricia Wang

Lenka Cechova

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What To Expect

11:30amET • We’ll open the event

Sign on early to check your audio and chat with us — we’ll open the webinar or live stream 30 minutes before the presentation begins so everyone can get settled in and ready.

12:00pmET • Presentation begins

We’ll kick things off with news from the Design Museum and share what’s upcoming, then our keynote presenter or moderator will launch into the day’s presentation.

12:45pmET • Questions & Answers

Sometimes our presenters will take questions throughout, but we’ll always leave time towards then end for your questions, submitted via the chat box — and we’ll get to as many as possible.

1:00pmET • LIVE event ends

We’ll send a short survey to get your feedback on the event, and we’ll follow up with any additional info from the presentation — then we hope to see you at the next LIVE event!


Design Museum LIVE is our ongoing series of virtual events featuring talks and conversations with design thought leaders around the world. We’re bringing together a global community around design impact using interactive live streams and webinars to share design stories, demonstrations, and actionable knowledge. Join us twice per month as we bring the Design Museum directly to your screen, online for all to participate in and enjoy!