"Turning Data into Knowledge and Turning Data into Something Personal”: A Conversation about Innovating at Southwest Airlines

The Resonance Test 27: Heather Figallo

November 6, 2018
by Lee MoreauKen Gordon

Heather Figallo, the Head of Design, Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Southwest Airlines, wants to “raise the expectations of the type of experience you should have when you’re traveling in commercial aviation.” So do we. The digital wayfinding project EPAM Continuum did with Figallo and her crew was very successful and we learned a lot from it. “I’ve never had something with 96% customer satisfaction, 94% employee satisfaction,” Figallo says, adding: “I’ve never seen something like that.” In the latest episode of The Resonance Test, Figallo and Lee Moreau, our VP of Design, take a payload of project insights and launch them into the world. The conversation has stops in a number of fascinating places: human-centered data, innovating in the highly regulated airline industry, responsible prototyping, and Southwest’s sui generis culture. Moreau and Figallo make it clear both Southwest and EPAM Continuum put their whole hearts into the digital wayfinding project, and the result was a very human outcome: “The real magic was turning data into knowledge and turning data into something personal.”

Host: Pete Chapin
Editor: Kyp Pilalas
Producer: Ken Gordon

The Resonance Test 27: Heather Figallo</

filed in: transportation, user experience, employee experience

About the Author

  • moreau lee
    Lee Moreau

    Lee Moreau is a Principal at Continuum, a global design and innovation consultancy. An architect and strategist, Lee combines a unique capacity for complex-systems thinking with a deeply empathic perspective, which he uses to critically engage and re-imagine the contemporary world.

    Through research, analysis, and imagination, Lee helps Continuum’s clients understand their entanglement within their own complex set of cultural, material, and economic circumstances. Lee has led service design projects for a diverse group of clients that blur the boundaries between content and experience.

  • Gordon Ken
    Ken Gordon
    Principal Communications Specialist

    Ken makes Continuum’s work visible to the necessary people. He creates superlative content, works with colleagues to do the same, and employs social networks to share it widely.

    A card-carrying humanist, Ken co-founded QuickMuse, the improvisational writing website, and JEDLAB, the Jewish education community. He has written for, the New York Times, and many other pubs.

    Ken has an English degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an MA in English from the State University of New York at Albany. He framed both diplomas long ago, but can’t seem to find them now—a fact he considers all-too-human.