Spotlight on Douglas Ferguson / by Haley Smith

Meet Douglas Ferguson- founder of Voltage Control who utilizes design sprints and workshops to help companies innovate and strategize.

Tell us about Voltage Control.

Voltage Control is an Austin-based workshop agency that specializes in Design Sprints and innovation workshops. We also facilitate and program executive strategy sessions, leadership retreats, kickoffs, team building, and corporate conferences. I founded Voltage Control out of a desire to help people bridge the gap between knowing and doing. We empower organizations and teams with the human-centered design methods that allow them to design better products and experiences. In addition to holding private workshops for corporations, we also host public workshops where we sell tickets and shorter free workshops for the community. 

I'm am actively conducting market research and customer discovery for our next generation workshop offerings. I would love to speak to any members that have experience buying or participating in workshops or other team-based activities. 

 

You bring the design sprint experience to many companies - tell us about this work and how it helps the companies you work with!

Design Sprints are a great way to accelerate your learning. In Agile and Lean the promise is to learn and adapt and that learning is all predicated on building things in an iterative loop. Design Sprints allow you to front-load this learning with a room full of stakeholders. Depending on the specific team, there are also other benefits as well. Sometimes the team is already drinking the design thinking kool-aide and just need a bit of a push to start putting these principles into practice. Design Sprints are a great way to help teams cross that knowing-doing gap. If nothing else lingers, my main goal is to make sure that the team is left with a realization of the true power of human-centered design and empathy based decision making.  

When did you first become interested in entrepreneurship and tech?

Ever since I can remember, I was always interested in learning new things and new ways of doing things. I loved to take things apart and figure out how they worked. In middle school, I learned FORTRAN and wrote a program for my father that simplified models he had created in spreadsheets. Soon after I became focused on playing guitar and recording music. I started my own recording studio and rented audio equipment for local concerts and raves. These early experiences taught me the importance of grit and the significance of observation.