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William Lidstone

Executive VP, Razorfish International

Everyone has a favorite teacher, who at some point during their education, sparks an interest, or even a life-long passion.

In my case, it was a visionary art teacher who introduced me to the world of design — the intersection of ideas, art, science and technology. Twenty years ago, this fascination with ideas, problem solving and product design also became my career — coinciding with the timely and meteoric rise of digital media.

In early 1995, I led the design team of the U.K.’s first online shopping mall. A few years later I became head of business development at OgilvyInteractive, and later head of digital at Foote, Cone & Belding. Since then I’ve spent almost a decade at AKQA working with Daniel Bonner (chief creative officer, Razorfish International), delivering ideas, technology and products for the likes of Coca-Cola, Ferrari, Fiat, Heineken, Nike, Unilever and Xbox.

As well as client work, I’ve also been involved in a number of important initiatives: developing competency frameworks to nurture expertise, establishing professional development and leadership programs and finding ways of supporting employees with young families, despite the demands of digital agency life.

Inspired by a great teacher myself, I’ve recently had the privilege of educating the next generation of digital product designers, most notably on Jonathan Ive’s industrial design course at Northumbria University, as a visiting lecturer. It’s through teaching that I’ve learned that a truly world-class product requires a blend of only two key ingredients: the highest standards and the most capable talent.