August 3rd, 38 min

Ford’s Sandy Fershee: Driving innovation with human-centered design

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Sandy Fershee

Sandy Fershee

Lab Director, D-Ford Detroit at Ford Motor Company
About The Episode

The most innovative electric car announced in 2021 was not a Tesla, but a Ford. The new Ford F-150 Lightning, a fully electric version of the best-selling vehicle in America for the past 30 years, is the culmination of thorough user research and fresh thinking on a familiar product.

We were curious to learn how design and innovation are playing a role in Ford’s transformation, so we’re excited to bring Sandy Fershee, lab director at D-Ford Detroit, on to the show. 

Sandy talks about her role at D-Ford, and we also discuss the challenges of doing research & development in a large organization, how her team shares their design and innovation tools with the whole company, and how they approach design at the intersection of hardware and software.


Sandy leads a human-centered design team at At D-Ford Detroit, pushing the edge of Ford’s future strategies. They design new products, services, and ventures that customers love and drive business profitability.

Prior to this role, Sandy was the global leader of Experience Design at Ford, transforming Ford’s ways of working through human-centered design and creating new possibilities for future customer and business value.

Sandy was also Managing Director at the agency Punchcut, and Design Manager at Motorola.

Meet Your Hosts

Aarron Walter
VP of Design Education

Aarron Walter is Director of Product on the COVID Response team at Resolve to Save Lives. Previously, he was VP of Design Education at InVision, and founded the UX practice at Mailchimp where he helped grow the product from a few thousand users to more than 10 million. He’s the author of a number of books, the latest of which is a second edition of Designing for Emotion. Aarron’s design guidance has helped the White House, the US Department of State, and dozens of major corporations, startups, and venture capital firms.

You can find Aarron on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Eli Woolery
Director of Design Education

Eli is the Director of Design Education at InVision. His design career spans both physical and digital products, and he has worked with companies ranging from startups (his own and others) to Fortune 500 companies.

In addition to his background in product and industrial design, he has been a professional photographer and filmmaker. He teaches the senior capstone class Implementation to undergraduate Product Designers at Stanford University. You can find Eli on Twitter and Medium.

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