Payload Pioneers 2023: Zoe Ingram

When Zoe Ingram left her career at LinkedIn and Google to work in aerospace, she encountered an outdated, tedious technological experience the consumer tech world had long ago left behind.

Now, as a product designer at the workflow management company Stell, Ingram is taking the intuitive and clean design principles from the tech world and infusing them into the antiquated, clunky software used by aerospace and defense sectors. 

“We can do better,” the 28-year-old said. “Aerospace tools should support science and engineering by being lightweight, intuitive, and evolving with the user’s needs, not slowing down innovation.”

Zoe’s path: Ingram left the tech world to get a master’s degree in design, only to move on to NASA JPL to build out software that would allow Mars missions to leverage artificial intelligence. 

She became the #4 employee at Stell, which allows enterprise-heavy companies to manage compliance requirements in their supply chains. At the company, Ingram focuses on a user-friendly experience by channeling her career at the big tech firms. 

A must have: Intuitive, beautiful enterprise technology may sound like a nice-to-have, but it’s really not—the lack of user-friendly technology in the space world makes it hard to collect, store, and parse through data. In turn, that technology slows down the rate of innovation, costing companies time, money, and scientific breakthroughs. 

“When you’re trying to do something new, bring a fresh perspective to a problem that’s existed for decades, it’s crucial to not only think forward, but also to immerse yourself in the history, and understand the amazing accomplishments achieved by engineers and scientists in the past,” Ingram said. 

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