DE / 2023

Akshan Ish

I shape products people love, and build design teams that do great work together.

Head of Design @PowerUs. At PowerUs, we're empowering skilled blue collar workers to find fulfilling economic opportunities, learn new skills, connect with peers, and thrive in their careers.

Dad & designer who likes nerding out on how cultures intersect, human behaviour, civic-tech, basketball, building new ventures, and personal finance.

I've been leading design and building teams for startups, scale-ups and large organisations across the globe for the past decade.

2021 — 2023


                        As the design lead for the Play Squad Group, along with my product partner and our teams, I was responsible for defining the vision for the surfaces that play things on Spotify’s mobile app to respond to growing consumer expectations and business ambitions. 

We created a strategy that focused on enhancing creator-fan connection, prototyped and tested numerous design directions. I presented the work to senior leadership and in other company forums to drive alignment and generate excitement.

Tests showed an increase in listener engagement and creator-fan connection by more than 20%, and a 4x increase in revenue through merch & concert sales.

In parallel, I've hired and grown the design team who thoughtfully craft and prune these surfaces.

︎︎︎ Out in the world

2019 – 2021


              My journey with Babbel began while I was working at IDEO. I led a 10 week project for Babbel focusing on qualitative research across 3 markets, uncovering new opportunities and an articulation of the product vision.

A couple of years later, I joined Babbel, and started off working with a small team running scrappy experiments to validate the vision, and answer questions such as what new learning experiences should we offer, and how should we guide learners through these experiences?

After the vision was successfully validated, I transitioned to leading a design team of 7 members that was focused on integrating new experiences into the core product by rethinking the information architecture of the app.

︎︎︎On Tech Crunch
Thoughts, Stories, Learnings, and Features         


December 2021
Work Notes 

3 things that have helped me become a better designer

An attempt to distill the myriad of things I’ve learned over the past decade to just three that have had the most impact on my design practice.