April 28th / 52 MIN

NASA’s Steve Rader: Redefining the moonshot with diverse teams

Listen to Podcast

Steve Rader

Steve Rader

Deputy Director for the Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation, NASA
About The Episode

We’re nominated for a Webby Award! Vote for the Design Better Podcast here:


There’s a lot of talk in the tech world about moonshots, and what it takes to build a team capable of achieving them. We thought it might be helpful to speak with someone at an organization that has achieved actual moonshots, and so we were thrilled to get a chance to chat with Steve Rader, who is Deputy Director for the Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation at NASA.

We chat with Steve about how he communicates across teams where expertise and vernacular might be very different, and the importance of having teams that are diverse on an array of different levels, from personal background to expertise. We also learn how vision gets communicated by leadership at NASA, and the lessons he’s learned in his career about leading people.

You’ll hear:

  • How to counteract fear of change in an organization by setting the right vision.
  • How an innovative solution for potato chip manufacturers (delicious!) was brought about by crowdsourcing input from a diverse set of skilled people.
  • Why it’s important to define the problem before jumping to a solution, to lead people effectively.

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.

:: P

Uncover insights from the world’s top designers and creatives

In our sixth season, we’re looking beyond the design team to explore the far reaches of collaboration, and we’ll surface a cross-disciplinary approach to doing complex work with diverse teams.