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Matthew Cunningham Profile


*Not really, but using data I can get really really close!

You can learn more about me on LinkedIn or read some of my thoughts on Design.

About Me

What I do

As Vice President of Design and User Experience at Kyndryl, a spin-off from IBM, I bring over two decades of expertise in product innovation across diverse settings.


My commitment lies in:

  • Crafting UX strategies rooted in genuine human needs.

  • Setting the benchmark in modern design and championing industry best practices.

  • Prioritizing innovative design techniques for quality and cost-efficiency.

My passion drives me to pivot businesses towards user-centric software solutions. I specialize in introducing holistic design thinking for major enterprises, reshaping their daily operations. Moreover, I excel in forming and nurturing globally-distributed teams, fostering a culture rich in creativity and trust.

How I Manage

Servant Leadership

At the core of my leadership is a genuine commitment to the needs of my team. Before addressing my concerns, I prioritize theirs.


I value:

  • Empathy: Recognizing and valuing diverse perspectives.

  • Empowerment: Offering robust support to help my team achieve professional and personal milestones.

  • Mastery: Ensuring team members have a voice in relevant decisions.

  • Purpose: Fostering a cohesive community within the team, united by shared goals and vision.


Leader-Leader Approach

Believing in decentralized decision-making, I champion the leader-leader model. This approach empowers individuals at every tier of the organization, enabling them to focus on high-impact tasks. In doing so, I trust my team's competence, understanding that they know best how to execute their responsibilities.

Authentic Presence

Taking inspiration from Mike Robbins' philosophy, I advocate for authenticity in the workplace. I lead with humility and acknowledge our shared human experiences, ensuring that we remember our collective strengths and vulnerabilities.

Culture of Success

Success isn't just about the big milestones; it's a cumulative result of everyday victories. I make it a point to celebrate these incremental achievements, fostering an environment where confidence thrives and individuals are inspired to deliver their best.


Allocation of My Focus:

  • Strategy & Planning: 40%

  • Delivery & Execution: 30%

  • Team Development & Growth: 30%


My Why

For me, design is not just an Art form, it’s the expression of an idea or a solution to a problem. Good design inspires people and creates connections that are meaningful.

My Mission Statement

Teach people the value of a design mindset. This means implementing user-centered methodologies like design thinking and aligning cross-functional teams on innovative solutions that are user-centered.

Purpose, People, Pay

(In order of importance) The Purpose is why I show up to work every day. I have a mission, I believe in that mission, and it aligns with my personal “why”. The People are whom I show up to work with every day. The Pay is being compensated well for my experience, execution, and value I bring to the company.


How I Build Organizations

A thriving culture isn't just a bonus; it's foundational to attracting and retaining top-tier talent. It reduces turnover and enhances the caliber of output. I firmly believe that our greatest asset is our people. In my leadership, I emphasize creating an environment where individuals feel intrinsically connected to a grander vision. After all, labor without purpose breeds stress, while dedication to a beloved cause ignites passion.

To fortify this culture, I've instituted guiding principles tailored for a comprehensive and efficient UX organization. These principles seamlessly integrate across all facets of a UX department, from Design and Content to Research, Strategy, and Systems.


In addition to the tenets, I employ techniques that foster an inclusive, fun, and engaging creative culture, maximizing individuals' potential.


Social Channels

Social channels, whether via Slack or other platforms, serve as avenues to connect over hobbies we enjoy outside of work, such as cooking, DIY, or the latest media we're consuming.

Creative Activities

We offer drawing sessions, invite guest speakers, organize hackathons, and host other virtual social events, allowing globally dispersed teams to interact and bond.


Onboarding Buddies

New hires within the organization are paired with team members who act as resources for questions and guidance, ensuring that newcomers establish connections beyond their immediate teams.


Cultural Awareness

We provide awareness and sensitivity training tailored to cultural nuances, ensuring everyone is mindful of potentially sensitive terminology and respects cultural differences.

Collaboration Time

Specific hours are designated for collaborative work. Outside of these times, immediate communication isn't expected."

Human Centered

Human Centered Methodology


Design thinking is a framework for teams to collaborate and work more efficiently while placing end-users at the center of the design process.

  • Design solutions that better meet the needs of end-users, to delight customers and ultimately increase profits.

  • Refine business strategy by identifying and investing in the most impactful user problems to reduce business risk and improve results.

  • Energize employees to be more collaborative, do better work, and achieve heightened job satisfaction.

  • Discover redundant or wasteful processes to streamline efficiency.

  • Complete projects faster with reduced costs and labor.

Proven Impact on the Business

Design Thinking is best known for rapidly scaling these practices across geographies, organizational boundaries, and projects:

  • Studies of Design Thinking ROI have estimated anywhere between $2 and $100 per $1 invested.

  • Increases customer’s willingness to pay by 14.4%

  • Reduces reluctance to switch to new brands by 15.8 %


Design thinking has applications in every part of an organization, and therefore it should be of no surprise that its impact is a fundamental culture shift. 


Ultimately outperform
the S&P 500 by


Design Value Index

Prepared by Design Management Institute

Increase revenue over traditional organizations


Business Value of Design

Prepared by McKinsey

See a return on their design investment of


Total Economic Impact of IBM’s Design Thinking Practice
Prepared by Forrester

Discover & Delivery

Balancing Discovery & Delivery

Dual-track agile is an agile methodology that contains two separate tracks of "discovery" and "delivery."  I've been using this method to successfully deliver higher quality results than lean UX or other 'agile' methodologies.  Dual-track agile provides a way to link the UX process, Design Thinking methodologies, and agile development. 

While these are two separate tracks, they are not separate teams! The goal is for the product teams to be working in" 3-in-a-box" model (Product Management, UX, and Engineering) to explore concepts in the backlog discovered by shifting needs of customers and users, and test those to see of the amount of effort, desirability, and strategic interest warrant further investment. 

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