Hi, thanks for visiting.

Professionally, I express myself through creating new products and businesses, for myself and others. My first business was designing and printing t-shirts in my parent's garage at 14-yrs old. Since then I’ve been fortunate enough to play either a founding or leadership role in several companies. To share what I've learned, I speak at conferences, run workshops, write articles, books and am a regular guest on industry podcasts.


In the late 90’s I started a small design agency with a focus on web and digital product design. Our business got the attention of a friend and she asked me if I’d join a new web business within Multichoice, which is the largest broadcaster in Africa. We launched a digital ad sales platform on top of DoubleClick’s technology. It was tons of fun and that’s where I met the brilliant Stephan Pretorius. Together we imagined a new venture that would bring strategic online marketing to the world’s best brands. With this vision, and venture funding, we left Multichoice and created Acceleration.

Acceleration was, and is, a marketing stack integration firm to partners like Adobe and Google. As my first venture funded business, I got to work with the legendary investor Jonathan Beare and alongside the talented Jacques Van Niekerk and Grant Keller. We grew the business to 250 employees and had offices in London, New York, Atlanta, San Francisco, Johannesburg and Cape Town. The company was sold to WPP, where it now lives under the Wunderman Thompson umbrella, under Grant’s capable leadership.

Soon after Acceleration, I was recruited to run global sales and marketing by a software startup called Win Win Technologies in the marketing analytics space to run international sales out of Boston. That was 1999, the height of the dot com era. Traveling the world I learned a lot about how the different cultures do business, which has proven invaluable in my global leadership roles since then. We raised a lot of money, spent a lot of money, and eventually came face-to-face with the dot com crash.

After a failed attempt at an on-demand printing startup and a more successful attempt at being a stay-at-home dad, I started the product design firm Fresh Tilled Soil. We were one of the first dedicated digital product design agencies. Voted Boston's Best Place To Work several times, we delivered more than 700 projects to Fortune 500 enterprises and startups alike. Our clients ranged from Fortune 500 and public companies like Intel, Microsoft, GE Healthcare, Walgreens and Time Warner Cable, to top brands like Titleist, BWIN, Ritz-Carlton, Harvard University, MIT, Boston University, CSpace, and Innosight. I'm very proud of the team we assembled and the work we created together. In 2019 we sold the business to ADK.

During my time at Fresh Tilled Soil, I also wrote four books, launched a podcast called The Dirt, and pioneered the first UX apprenticeship program, and was an active mentor to TechStars, MIT, and MassChallenge startups.

Today I split my time between my writing, advisory work, and my art. You can see my latest art at Richard Banfield Art.

The Books

Design Sprints was the first book and was co-authored with C.Todd Lombardo and Trace Wax. This was the first book to be published on design sprints, preceding even GV’s design sprint creator’s book by several years. That book was followed by Design Leadership, an inquiry into what makes a great design leader. Along with my videographer, I traveled to 26 cities to interview design leaders in their studios and amongst their teams. These interviews also lead to the Product Hero workshop and speaker series.

My third book, Product Leadership, was co-authored with Martin Eriksson and Nate Walkingshaw. Martin is the founder of the world's largest product community, Mind The Product and a partner at EQT Ventures. Nate was CPO and CXO of the learning platform Pluralsight. Product Leadership has sold over 25,000 copies and has been published in 16 languages.

My fourth book was Enterprise Design Sprints, which was a collaboration with InVision prior to me joining the company. The book has been downloaded over 100,000 times and was the basis for dozens of articles, workshops, webinars, and conference keynotes. I continue to write for InVision’s blog, which is read by 4 million readers a month.

Recent Work

In 2019, after selling Fresh Tilled Soil, I joined InVision to run design transformation for the company's Fortune 500 customers. Our team’s work was primarily product and community focused. We used the company vision and a discovery-led process to surface new product opportunities, find product-market fit, and then build and deploy them. Our transformation team’s products included the Design Maturity Assessment, InVision Learn and the Design Leadership Forum.

Although it was eventually folded into the marketing channels, InVision Learn was a huge success. Taking a discovery-led approach, we were quickly able to establish product-market fit and secure early customer interest. Over just three months, by scaling our content and instructional design efforts in tandem with experimental product work, we generated $500K in ARR and created a $1.8M pipeline. Not bad for a beta phase. Leaning on my background as a practitioner, I have also developed, scripted and presented the core curriculum pieces in Learn’s course inventory.

I was also responsible for the InVision Films division. In 2021 our studio completed its fourth film, Transformation By Design and launched the documentary Squads. As Executive Producer it was my responsibility to manage the business side of these productions. As a product and design thought leader I also have appeared in our films as a domain expert.

Working alongside InVision’s analyst relations team, I frequently meet and advise Gartner and Forrester analysts on the future of product and design.

Advisory Work

Currently I provide senior leadership advisory and interim executive services. My current and recent clients include Crystal, The Pan-Mass Challenge, Whoop, Sell Better, Raven360, Toucan, Medusa Brewing, and Maginative.

I'm available for work either on a contract or long-term strategic basis. My fee for this type of work ranges from $2,000 to $10,000 per month depending on the scope of the work.

Outside of Product Work

I also race cyclocross, run, paint, illustrate, make furniture, read way too many self-help books, and travel to places with my boys.

I was born in South Africa and spent the my first 30 years of my life experiencing much of what Africa has to offer. My wanderlust nudged me out the door at an early age, first to Malawi and Botswana, and then to Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Zanzibar, and Madagascar. Whether over-landing in Land Rovers across the open plains of East Africa, or wading through the swamps of the Okavango, I've always been drawn to the world outside.

With age and the responsibility of a family, my travels are less about dodging sharks in Cape Town or minefields in Mozambique, and more about exploring our beautiful world from the vantage of a bicycle. Most recently, my cycling adventures on a bicycle have been in the mountains of Europe and the unforgettable landscapes of the US. From Washington State's river valleys to Utah's red rocks, where I have discovered there's an endless supply of inspiration at our doorstep.

While Europe's mountains are my current favorite place to explore, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel and work in some of the most interesting places on the planet. I once made a living as a dive master and skipper in the Islamic Republic of the Comoros.

Sadly, my wife recently passed away so now I live with two of my boys outside the beautiful city of Boston. We’re fortunate to be surrounded by some of the most creative and innovative people in the world. Being educated as a scientist and raised as an artist has given me a deep appreciation for combining evidence-based and bold experimental approaches.

My core product skills and knowledge

Work effectively to align technical and creative teams
Light touch manager with a focus on outcomes
Generate high impact ideas with bottom-line results
Deliver conisistent product value to customers
Create compelling narratives and enablement paths
Simplify sales motion with clear PoV and experiments
Solve problems with big 'D' design thinking
Research & Experimentation
Build an in-the-moment learning culture

My top leadership skills and knowledge

Inspiring and compelling customer-focused vision
Assembling and aligning cross-functional teams/squads
Strategic thinking
Differentiate with defensible market leadership
Align behavior to incentives and measures
Autonomous decision-making cross-functional squads
Business maturity
People and practices before tech

I am not...

...a micro-manager or a bureaucrat
...a babysitter to the status quo. I'm not suited for organizations that claim they want change but really prefer to stay the same.
...an overly technical leader. While I'm technically savvy (and a bit of a nerd), my current focus is people and practices.