About Russell Douglas

Russell Douglas
Auckland | New Zealand

Creating meaningful experiences that enhance the lives of real people

Russell Douglas D&Co, Founder & Principal Strategist

I founded D&Co, an experience design consultancy, that leverages the power of innovation, brand, human-centred design and technology, to create connected experiences that enhance the lives of real people. 

We are a new breed of creative company designed for the experience age. We recognised the need to reinvent the traditional model so we created D&Co, a networked collective of CX & Design specialists that come together to solve today’s ‘wicked’ problems.

Our vision is simple, we want to create the very best customer experiences in the world.

We believe that customer experience excellence is a critical component to delivering business growth.

Visit the D&Co website

A bit about me

I'm a customer experience strategist and creative consultant currently living in Auckland, New Zealand. I've worked across the world leading projects for many top international brands including Panasonic Avionics, British Airways, NAB, Australia Post, O2, Lufthansa, Dorling Kindersley and Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotels.

I've spent a considerable amount of time over the past few years in North America helping IDAIR (a Panasonic Avionics and Lufthansa joint venture). This project involved developing an entirely new product suite for their VVIP in-flight entertainment clients ranging from heads of state and royalty to billionaires – perhaps one of the toughest customer segments in the world.

Closer to home I was instrumental in the development of Air New Zealand’s latest in-flight entertainment experience. I'm also behind the idea for Z’s new innovative, and 'Best Award' winning, Fastlane fly-through fueling experience and Sharetank, a product that allows customers to lock in fuel prices and share with family and friends via the Z App. Alongside my  team we used primary design thinking methods to design a vision for the Future of Loyalty which has led to several ideas, including those above, being green lit to exit the innovation process into commercialisation. I've has also been working with Foodstuffs NZ on the development of their New World 'Moments that Matter' CX Strategy, in-store service design, and brand experiences.

My philosophy to all things CX is a simple one. I'm passionate about the end user and believe that human-centred design methods are essential in delivering business growth. When the customer is delighted, more often than not, revenue and brand engagement quickly follows.

I'm also a regular international keynote speaker and design thinking facilitator and have recently keynoted for ASB, House of Travel, Foodstuffs NZ, Mitre 10, Bupa, and The Marketing Association to name a few.

Outside of D&Co I'm pretty much addicted to kitesurfing and if the wind is up and the tide is right there may be some gaps in my responses to your calls and emails!

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We’re excited to be working alongside Z’s CX and Innovation offerings to help design a vision of the future. 

From designing and facilitating human-centred design sprints, future of mobility pop-up experiences, collaborative customer testing and concept validation to rapid user story prioritization, ethnography, insight synthesis and a new CX strategy - we’re on a journey, together with Z’s internal teams, to reinvent the customer experience across key Z brands.


Design thinking for innovation sprint - What might the future of loyalty look like?

We were asked to conceive a human-centred design sprint that would explore a vision for the future of loyalty and expose key Z staff to design thinking methods. We used key methods from across our Experience Innovation System to create the ideal programme recipe and embarked upon a 6 week design sprint.

“As part of introducing the new Innovation Refinery at Z, Russ and the team at D&Co designed and facilitated the first design sprint. This included an introduction to primary design thinking methods as we co-created a vision for the Future of Loyalty. We then partnered with D&Co to go out into the field with customers to validate the desirability of key concepts where they shared evaluative research methods resulting in concepts being green lit to exit the innovation process into commercialisation in the coming months. 

D&Co’s fresh thinking, collaborative and flexible nature combined with their creativity and storytelling has resulted in them being engaged across multiple areas of the business.” 

— Scott Bishop, Chief Innovation Officer, Z Energy 

We worked through 3 key stages across the 6 week sprint; insights to ideas, ideas to concepts and concepts to experiences. We synthesized workshop outputs into 11 key concepts for further exploration including several InVision prototypes. Concepts were tested with customers throughout the sprint. 

A vision for the future. The final output of the sprint included large format boards clearly communicating the key ‘moments that matter’ across 6 months in the life of a customer. An InVision prototype was also developed to assist in communicating and testing key ideas. 

Founder & Principal CX StrategistRussell Douglas


The first concept to be green lit through our design thinking for innovation programme was Fastlane which is now in beta across a number of Z sites up and down New Zealand. 

The challenge

The how might we statement used in our design sprint was ‘How might we (HMW) make the forecourt experience perfect for her (a key segment) preferences?’ 

The solution

This HMW statement set the scene for divergent ideation with key stakeholders from across Z with scores of ideas forming. From these broad ideas we synthesized them down to key ideas and prototypes for customer testing and validation before the successful concept was green lit to move to trial. 
The original concept - paper prototype.

As the name suggests Fastlane is a simple concept to help customers fly-through Z. Customers simply download the Z App, load their credit card and car registration into the App and the next time they visit a Z with Fastlane they simply drive up to the pump, refuel and go. 

The cars registration plate is recognized by on site cameras and a friendly ‘Hello Russ’ appears on a small digital screen next to the pump alongside the car’s registration and fuel type. 

When a concierge is present, he/she greets you by your first name before refuelling for you. You don’t even have to get out of your car! 

It’s the first concept to go into beta and so far it’s receiving great feedback. As with all new ideas there have been a few learnings and in it’s latest iteration customers can now earn Airpoints or Fly Buys the same way they can by paying at pump or going in store. 

It’s an exciting time for Z & D&Co and it’s been a great journey so far. Look out for more green lit ‘Future of Loyalty’ concepts to hit the market in the coming months.

Check out Fastlane here

Founder & Principal CX StrategistRussell Douglas


In today’s highly competitive marketplace, and with disruption hitting every industry, defining the critical moments that matter to our customers and delivering customer experience excellence is one of the surest ways to drive differentiation and growth. Creating new value and gaining brand loyalty is achieved not by focusing on specific product features or design, but by re-imagining the broader experience of how customers use our products and services.

Our 'Moments that Matter' strategy lays the foundation for accelerating our CX and Innovation efforts in our pursuit of Customer Experience Excellence at New World.

Our objectives To develop the New World CX 'Moments that Matter' strategy to act as a north star for the business to rally behind. To identify the moments that matter most to our customers and the prioritised customer benefits we need to deliver in our pursuit of differentiated experiences. To develop a common CX framework for all Foodstuffs NZ banners.

Our approach We used the D&Co Experience Innovation System to set out a customer orientated pathway to identify the key customer moments to focus on and a set of customer benefits to deliver. We did so by taking the following approach; Through a series of stakeholder interviews, assumed customer journey mapping workshops, qualitative customer interviews and quantitative customer surveys we have defined the prioritised 'Moments that Matter' to our customers. We highlight the customer journey stages, the touchpoints, the current experience levels, customer pain points and substantiation. From our research and subsequent synthesis we present 3 prioritised 'Customer Benefits' for each stage of the CX Journey and the backlog of benefits in order of priority. These customer benefits are split into 3 levels of focus; Brilliant Basics, Performance Enhancers, and Experience Differentiators.

Key outcomes;

• We can now make strategic decisions based on genuine customer insight. 

• This work is helping us to prioritise and inform CX, data, technology, marketing and customer engagement investments. 

• We have identified where we can truly differentiate in ways that are authentic to New World. 

• We have a CX measurement framework for success. 

• We have aligned diverse stakeholders through a common language, framework and decision making process – from senior mgmt to marketing, general managers to owner operators, CX strategists to technology delivery teams.

Founder & Principal CX StrategistRussell Douglas

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