May 19 / 55 min

Pinterest’s Naveen Gavini: Knitting different disciplines together

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Naveen Gavini

Naveen Gavini

Head of Design and User Experience, Pinterest
About The Episode

We’ve spoken to a lot of design leaders of the course of the Design Better Podcast, but this episode is the first chance we’ve had to speak with someone who has made the move from being an engineering leader to being a design leader. Naveen Gavini, Head of Design and User Experience at Pinterest, spent time as an engineering manager and then as head of product engineering before taking on his current role, and he brings a unique perspective on leading design teams with him from his journey.

We speak with Naveen about how they “Knit” different disciplines together at Pinterest, and explore what he’s learned from scaling a team in hypergrowth. We also ask about the strategic advantage that co-founder Evan Sharp’s design background has brought to the company from day one.


  • How magic can happen when the boundaries blur between designers and engineers.
  • Why scaling a team in hypergrowth is a lot like cooking a soup or a stew.
  • How design ops serves as the connective tissue at Pinterest.


Naveen Gavini began his career as a software engineer at Yahoo, and then rose up the ranks at Pinterest from Technical Lead, to Engineering Manager, to Head of Engineering and then Head of Design and User Experience. In April, after our interview, he took on the role of SVP of Products at Pinterest.

Meet Your Hosts

Aarron Walter
VP of Design Education

As the VP of Design Education at InVision, Aarron Walter draws upon 15 years of experience running product teams and teaching design to help companies enact design best practices. Aarron founded the UX practice at MailChimp and helped grow the product from a few thousand users to more than 10 million.

He is the author of the best selling book Designing for Emotion from A Book Apart. You’ll find Aarron on Twitter and Medium sharing thoughts on design. Learn more at http://aarronwalter.com.

Eli Woolery
Director of Design Education

Eli is the Director of Design Education at InVision. His design career spans both physical and digital products, and he has worked with companies ranging from startups (his own and others) to Fortune 500 companies.

In addition to his background in product and industrial design, he has been a professional photographer and filmmaker. He teaches the senior capstone class Implementation to undergraduate Product Designers at Stanford University. You can find Eli on Twitter and Medium.

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Uncover insights from the world’s top design leaders

In Season 3 of the Design Better Podcast, we’re exploring the connected workflow: how designers work more effectively and efficiently with their engineering and product counterparts. We’ll talk about how  building key partnerships throughout an organization can help you ship better products, faster, with companies like Google, Airbnb, Atlassian and the Wall Street Journal.