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Spotlight on Data: Creating Smart Products Requires Collaboration with Gretchen Anderson

Avoiding pitfalls in the face of technical and logistical complexity

Gretchen Anderson

Watch the video recording of this event.

We're experiencing a boom in smart products and services, from virtual assistants like Alexa to robotic surgical tools. But as we design and develop products of increasing complexity—incorporating machine learning to drive autonomous decision making—measuring output and outcomes also explodes in complexity.

In the face of all this complexity, how do you design your teams and collaborative processes to ensure a successful product? Teams have to move away from merely seeking “approvals” and toward collaborating on the goals and parameters; they must also target use cases that will make or break the experience for end users. The more dynamic the technology, the wider the range of diverse perspectives that must inform the process. Data scientists, designers, developers, lawyers, and regulators all need to weigh in, and their voices need to be heard and accounted for.

Join us for this edition of Spotlight on Data with Gretchen Anderson, author of Mastering Collaboration, to learn strategies and tactics that teams can use to design smart products and services that serve people—not the other way around.

The O’Reilly Spotlight series explores emerging business and technology topics and ideas through a series of one-hour interactive events. You’ll engage in a live conversation with one of our experts, sharing your questions and ideas while hearing their unique perspectives, insights, fears, and predictions for the future.

In every edition of Spotlight on Data, you’ll learn about, discuss, and debate the tools, techniques, questions, and quandaries in the world of data. You’ll discover how successful companies leverage data effectively and how you can follow their lead to transform your organization and prepare for the Next Economy.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live online course, you’ll be able to:

  • How effective collaboration is a competitive advantage
  • The importance of harnessing unique organizational assets to avoid missteps
  • How to find and avoid problematic weaknesses in your product creation process

This training course is for you because...

  • Your team develops smart products that must satisfy a complex array of needs from multiple stakeholders.
  • You need to ensure product quality and project success while balancing these competing demands.


  • Come with your questions for Gretchen Anderson
  • Have a pen and paper handy to capture notes, insights, and inspiration

Recommended follow-up:

About your instructor

  • Gretchen Anderson consults with clients to inform their product strategy and improve team collaboration skills. Her past clients include Virgin Records, Samsung, and Johnson & Johnson. She spent the first part of her career in design consulting for firms like frog design, Cooper, and LUNAR. More recently, she was head of design at PG&E, California’s largest energy company; led the design of the hardware and software of a next-generation surgical system; and was VP of product at GreatSchools.org, where she worked with local communities in Detroit and Indianapolis that were looking to improve education for their families. Gretchen is a Bay Area native who left only long enough to get a bachelor's degree in history and literature from Harvard.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Monday, April 15, 2019 at 11:00am PT / 2:00pm ET

  • Introduction and presentation (15 minutes)
  • Interactive discussion and Q&A (45 minutes)