Ovetta Sampson: From Wanting to be Queen of England When 9 to Her Role as CD at Microsoft

I was very lucky to speak with Ovetta Sampson, Principal Creative Director at Microsoft. I enjoyed our animated discussion about how she got her start wanting to be the Queen of England when she was a nine-year-old in Chicago while learning to code with her father to being a journalist/activist for 20 years and then making a dramatic transition to technology and finding herself doing design research at IDEO. Along the way, Ovetta became an expert at designing for ethical AI and amplifying the need for diversity in AI. During our chat, she shared her secret workshop icebreaker, “What did your 14-year-old self want to be?” (I plan on stealing it for my workshops!)

As Principal Creative Director at Microsoft Ovetta works with designers, engineers, researchers, and technologists to help the nation’s biggest companies visualize and realize a digital transformation. She gets to play with the entire spectrum of technology from plain old enterprise systems design to exciting opportunities in Mixed Reality, IoT, and AI. Before her job at Microsoft, she was a Design Research Lead at IDEO where she focused on ethical AI and integrating data science with human-centered design.

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