David Butler

The best, most agile companies are design-driven companies.

Co-Author of Design to Grow | Former VP, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Coca-Cola | Chief Growth Officer at Kids II

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David Butler | Co-Author of Design to Grow | Former VP, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Coca-Cola | Chief Growth Officer at Kids II
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

David Butler first joined Coca-Cola to revolutionize the company’s approach to design—not just how things look, but a holistic, systems-based approach to create growth across the business, through design. It’s the subject of his book, Design to Grow. In his talks, Butler reveals how any company, from early-stage startups to very established multinationals, can strategically use design to grow and adapt to today’s world of “digital transformation.”  

“Whatever the size of your enterprise, you’ll find in [Design to Grow] a master class in problem-solving, in cross-cultural marketing, and in decision-making.”

— Daniel H. Pink, author of To Sell Is Human

David Butler has over 25 years of experience helping startups scale and global companies grow. His book Design to Grow: How Coca-Cola Learned to Combine Scale and Agility (and How You Can Too), co-authored with Linda Tischler, explores the relationship between design, startup culture, and corporate growth. It is the first book written by a then-current employee at Coca-Cola, and it’s published in over 25 countries. Currently, Butler helps the company Kids II scale globally as its Chief Growth Officer. He is also co-founder of BE Curious Partners, a venture capital firm focused on reinventing parenthood.


In his role as Vice President, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at The Coca-Cola Company, Butler led a new venturing platform—Coca-Cola Founders—designed to create seed-stage startups by opening up some of Coca-Cola’s biggest challenges to a global network of founders to co-create new solutions together. He joined Coca-Cola in 2004 as the Company’s first VP, Global Design. He established a cross-functional, systems-based approach to design across more than 200 countries. Prior to Coca-Cola, Butler led digital brand strategy for Sapient, consulting with UPS, Gucci, United, and Catepillar. In the dotcom era, he was the CEO and co-founder of a Process1234.com, where he designed CNN’s first streaming audio and video platform. Butler has taught systems theory as an adjunct professor and began his career designing large-scale brand identity systems and experiences for a wide range of companies and organizations including Delta, Cartoon Network and the 1996 Olympic Games.

Along the way, Butler was named “Master of Design” by Fast Company and to Forbes’ “Executive Dream Team.” He was asked to co-chair the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Design and Innovation, and he currently serves on the board of the Center for American Entrepreneurship. He has given keynotes around the world including Design Indaba in Capetown, the Web Summit in Dublin, The CEO Summit in Auckland, The Economist’s “Big Rethink” in London, and Hong Kong’s Design Week.   


“He was great. The client really liked his content. Wouldn't surprise me if they have him back again next year. And he was an absolute pleasure to work with!”

Meeting Planner, SAGE Summit 2017

Speech Topics

Design to Grow How Any Company Can Learn to Use Design as a Growth Strategy and Become a Design-Driven Company

Tomorrow’s business winners—regardless of size or industry—will be the ones that know how to combine both scale with agility. In his talk, David Butler shares concepts from his book highlighting both the successes and failures of one of the world’s largest companies on its journey in leveraging the full power of design across its business to become a “design-driven” company. He uses a very engaging, TED-style, storytelling approach to reveal a simple yet powerful framework with case studies from around the world.

· What is design and how does it create value for companies (in plain language that any business manager can understand)?

· How can a systems-based approach to design help any size company in any industry become a “design-driven” company?

· How can “non-designers” quickly learn how to leverage the full power of design across their team, function, or business unit?

The Next Wave How Established Companies Can Ride the Next Wave of Digital Transformation by Collaborating with Startups

“Digital transformation” seems to be the topic of every article, blog post and book in today’s business world. The topic is so hot, it’s tempting to think it’s a new idea. It’s not. Digital transformation has been happening since the early days of the Web. It’s just that some companies have embraced it and others are struggling to adapt. In his talk, David Butler walks through the first and second “waves” of digital transformation and leads up to the third or “next wave” which every company is faced with today. He shares how Coca-Cola, one of the world’s largest, “non-tech” companies is collaborating with startups to create entirely new products and services through new business models and digital technologies. This keynote is a must-hear for executives inside large, established companies challenged with the need for disruptive innovation and the challenge of adapting to digital transformation across the enterprise.

· What is digital transformation (in plain language that everyone can understand)?

· Why is it so difficult for big, established companies to do what startups do?

· How can non-tech companies begin to leverage their assets (relationships, resources, and reach) to collaborate with startups to transform?