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Autodesk X Summit: From 3D Tools to a Family Playing Together

Written by 
Mariano Suarez-Battan
October 27, 2015

Maria Giudice, the new VP of Experience Design at Autodesk, is on a quest to transform a company. How? By shifting their focus from providing industry-leading products and services to creating remarkable experiences.

Autocad is the company's flagship product in an expansive suite of tools. The software allows creators make blueprints of ideas become real, whether that's on a screen or in the physical world.  Now they want to go a step further.

At the Autodesk X Summit 2015, Maria made it clear that the company will become one that provides a more holistic "client" experience.

Autodesk X Summit 2015

Taking cues from industry leaders, Maria set her sights on building a culture where all the departments within Autodesk are invited into design. She urged the stakeholders present to be the change-agents, responsible for driving this transformation.


You can watch Maria in action at a TEDx event where she talks about the Rise of the DEO.

Sparking Inspiration

After Maria kicked things off, Lisa Kay Solomon discussed design leadership. Next, Doug Powell from IBM Design and Sarah Brooks from the Veteran Affairs Office shared how they're transforming their large organizations. Doug shared his team’s experience using MURAL and explained how it helped them bridge the gap between their multiple studio locations and folks working remotely.


After everything wrapped up, there was a tangible energy in the room. The sessions were meant to create a new mindset within Autodesk, allowing everyone to see their world through the eyes of a designer.

Sandbox Play 2.0

When I started chatting with the Tinker Play team, I saw the experience-first future. The team combined products and services to create a great app that lets you design your own creatures. It reminded me of Spore Creature Creator back in the day!

Sandbox Play 2.0

Autodesk’s software makes those models ready for 3D printing. And physical models can be digitalized in a few snaps with 123D.

I began to imagine how Autodesk could help me play with my son. We could come up with our own character, or remix one from their libraries. Then, we'd ask the magic mailman to bring us home a custom-printed set of toy parts to bring our character to life. Our co-designed character would become part of the family.

Someday Autodesk could have a store for parts, 3D shipping, and printing. Their Gallery at Market Street could become the Madame Tussauds or LEGO Land of the future.

Gallery at Market Street


To make these ideas stick, Autodesk is sending their top designers through design-thinking trainings. Built on LUMA Institute’s methodologies, the trainings are aimed at creating a common language and set of frameworks within the company.  As of today, 250 Autodeskers have gone through formal design-thinking training, with the goal of reaching 7,000 in the next few months.


Many individuals shared their experiences collaborating across multidisciplinary teams. They attributed their successes to the new methodologies that helped them focus on understanding problems before jumping to solutions.

Distributed Teams & Remote Solutions

A popular question in many of the sessions was: “How do we apply all of this in a remote team setting?” Individuals talked about utilizing different tools, like MURAL, Google Docs, and Trello. I was able to offer some guidance from my vantage point as the CEO of MURAL. My team works alongside many top companies who are trying to overcome these challenges, working together to find innovative solutions.

Will they make it?

It's amazing to see how many different types of people you can find at Autodesk. They are a 7000-strong, global company with offices around the world. Maria planted the initial seeds at the X Summit. It will be exciting to watch their transformation over the next 12 months. They've already found their strong leader and their vision - I'm confident they'll bring it to life.

Finally, I'm looking forward to the new Autodesk Experience, especially if it involves playing with my son.

Author: MURAL CEO Mariano Suarez-Battan

About the author

About the authors

Mariano Suarez-Battan

I run MURAL, where we are making creative teams become better design thinkers through our collaboration software. We started MURAL because of a game we were designing. Ask me about that.