Hello, I’m Kate Lydon

Senior Portfolio Director, IDEO San Francisco

I help shape ideas and make them happen in the world. I'm equally obsessed with creating compelling, meaningful, beautiful experiences, and designing for the complex systems that support them.

What you won’t learn from my bio:
I grew up an embassy brat around Southeast Asia—my first grade classroom was in the middle of rice paddies.

Joined IDEO:
2008

My Work

Full Bio

Kate Lydon is a Senior Portfolio Director at IDEO, leading content excellence and client relationships across a broad Service and Experience Design practice that includes sectors from retail to government to financial services and travel. With a background in brand strategy, creative direction, and architecture, Kate guides cross-disciplinary teams towards visionary, innovative, human-centered solutions. Together with her clients and teams, she reframes complex, systems challenges and develops strategies that are both meaningful and tangible.

Kate is passionate about creating design work that inspires wonder and builds human connections. Her work is informed by a passion for cultural trends, community, and storytelling—and expertise at the intersection of digital and physical space. Since joining IDEO in 2008, her work has included scaling low-cost education in Peru, designing new service models for retailers, building a movement around emergency preparedness, and designing networks of innovation hubs across the United States. 

Prior to IDEO, Kate’s career encompassed creative direction at the Smithsonian Institution, editorial strategy and branding for the Washington Post, iconic retail and experience design, and global trend-spotting. Kate holds a Master's degree in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, and Bachelor's degrees in Urban Planning and Art History from the University of California, San Diego. She taught at American University and the Corcoran College of Art and Design, and is a frequent speaker and guest critic.