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How this Ideo veteran elevated design at the world’s largest retailer

For instilling a single design language across the company, Walmart Head of Design Valerie Casey is one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People of 2019.

How this Ideo veteran elevated design at the world’s largest retailer
[Illustration: Artur Tenczyński]


Valerie Casey joined Walmart in mid-2018 and oversees 160 designers responsible for developing in-store experiences and challenging Amazon’s nearly 50% online-sales market share. A veteran of design firms (Ideo, Frog, Pentagram), nonprofits (the Aspen Institute, the World Economic Forum), and a consumer-tech company (Samsung), Casey has grown the department by more than 75% and eliminated silos that had led to inconsistent products from one department to the next—what Walmart pharmacists saw on their screens, for example, differed dramatically from what customers saw in the pharmacy app. She created a single design language for approximately 200 of Walmart’s digital services, including both consumer- and employee-facing apps. “When the design looks, feels, and behaves the same, it’s easier for the customer and associate to communicate,” Casey says. She also organized a team of computer scientists and traditional designers to prototype and test concepts in stores, from financial-services products to groceries, giving a historically risk-averse company a quick, reliable way to evaluate new ideas.

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About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D

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