The Speed of Culture Podcast: The Power of People, Passion and Purpose

Design plays a vital role in crafting meaningful experiences and driving innovation across industries.

Whether it’s product, graphic or user experience, design is about more than aesthetics. Designers must grasp user needs, solve complex issues and ultimately create value. To explore design’s impact on consumer and business growth, we sat down with Mauro Porcini, svp and chief design officer at PepsiCo.

Porcini holds the distinction of being PepsiCo’s inaugural chief design officer, a role he assumed in 2012. He has been instrumental to integrating design thinking into PepsiCo’s organizational ethos. Through his leadership, Porcini has led a new approach to innovation by design, influencing both the company’s product platforms and brands.

Porcini joins Suzy founder and CEO Matt Britton on the latest episode of The Speed of Culture podcast to discuss the intersection of design and business, the power of purpose-driven brands, and the significance of seeking happiness in one’s career journey. 

Learn more about design’s transformative power in the key takeaways from the episode below.


  • 01:25 – 07:07 — Connecting the Worlds of Design and Business — Porcini sees design as a realm of art and creativity that can interact with business, strategy, finance and marketing. Acting as a mediator, his role is to bridge the gap between these areas. He stresses the mutual respect that must be fostered between these two worlds, acknowledging their unique potentials and gaps and understanding how to create real value for the company and its consumers. He also points out today’s unique alignment between financial and human value, unlike in the past.
  • 07:07 – 09:29 — Maslow’s Pyramid and Purpose-Driven Brands — From product to packaging, service to content, today’s consumers demand not just good, but extraordinary. Porcini believes the definition of extraordinary can be found in Maslow’s Pyramid, which encompasses functional value, emotional value and, at the very top, purpose. Brands need to tap into this purposeful dimension, standing for something beyond profit by contributing to society and giving back. Understanding consumers deeply and meeting their functional, emotional and purposeful needs is essential for success in every brand touch point. 
  • 14:37 – 23:24 — The Power of the Shiny Object — Porcini emphasizes the pivotal role of human centricity, which is connected to the ability to make things happen. Human centricity allows insights to be transformed into prototypes and ultimately, products. Prototyping’s power lies in aligning the organization around ideas and catalyzing cohesive teamwork, both internally and externally. Moreover, the shiny object effect excites stakeholders and secures vital sponsorship and resources.
  • 23:24 – 28:42 — Purposeful Innovation Brands with massive reach possess incredible potential for positive impact through design. Beyond generating significant business value, such changes can create positive outcomes for people and the planet. Porcini considers the CPG industry’s challenges, like excessive packaging and the sustainability initiatives that showcase the power of scale combined with purposeful innovation.
  • 28:50 – 34:35 — Top Trends and Technology — Porcini identifies three major trends driving change across industries: sustainability, health and wellness, and personalization. While these trends vary across sectors, their essence remains constant. Businesses must explore how technology can revolutionize these realms, unlocking fresh opportunities and innovation. For instance, PepsiCo’s Gatorade Gx Sweat Patch exemplifies tech-enabled personalization. It analyzes sweat composition, suggests a customized Gatorade mix via an app, and syncs with a smart, eco-friendly bottle. 
  • 34:40 – 41:03 — Projecting Pepsi Into the Future — The new Pepsi logo received overwhelmingly positive feedback, with a 99% favorable sentiment and over 7 billion impressions. Redesigning a globally recognized and cherished logo was a challenge. Striking a balance between the brand’s essence and its future was vital. Moreover, Porcini underscores the necessity for a logo that seamlessly integrates into the digital realm, a pivotal factor in today’s marketing landscape. 
  • 41:05 – 48:32 — Finding Happiness in Your Career — Porcini reminds us to prioritize happiness in your career, as it not only benefits you but also enhances productivity within your company. If you are not happy, take proactive steps—communicate your needs, initiate change and, if necessary, embrace leaving for the sake of your own well-being and the company’s success. Maintain your passion by always having a dream, setting goals and embarking on continuous projects. This drive keeps you engaged and fulfilled.

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