Image of a café room filled with tables and chairs

Hearing the perennial discussions around getting a “seat at the table” from designers and design leaders who feel neglected or misunderstood results in a good debate but often one that often overlooks an important fact: most companies have more than one table that designers should strive for.

In fact, it sometimes feels a bit like going to a dinner party or a wedding, when guests complain about the seating plan. Planning of seating is up to the hosts. …

Throughout my career, I have enjoyed working across a number of disciplines. I began as an engineer who gravitated to digital in the early to mid-90’s where I worked (as many did in those days) across multiple disciplines; mine being project management, development and design. I later settled on design as it gave me the opportunity to pursue a more creative endeavour, work with a variety of people on challenges ranging from tactical to strategic, solving problems and ensuring I always progressed, with the intent of never growing bored of what I did. …

Many times in my career, I’ve had the chance to experience exactly the kind of transformation that’s so often talked about: re-shaping a team into journey-focused value streams (or squads, themes, or whatever term you prefer). And in the process, I’ve repeatedly witnessed a decision-making process that confuses and confounds me.

Let me set the scene.

Moving from more traditional waterfall (or even Agile) delivery structures to something that focuses deeply on engagement or ROI can be a real jolt, not just to an organization’s operations, but to its culture. …

Words have meaning.

Words can be defined in many ways — and can be misinterpreted in just as many ways depending on the context in which they are used.

Have you ever had a conversation about ‘design’ with a development team only to find half-way through the conversation that you are talking about the UI and the Customer, and they are talking about the design of the database structures, the code, or the technology stack?

It’s easy if the context isn’t clear to get confused and get into a position of having said — or done — the wrong thing…

Let’s consider for a moment how many large organisations are coming to the realisation that their size, legacy and ways of working have industrialised the ability to think and act creatively out of their businesses. They study start-ups and create innovation teams to try and emulate some of the practices they deploy to disrupt service, products and business sectors and they study agencies to understand how to create people and culture programs to engender better ways of working for their employees.

The Agency Equation

Digital agencies have a natural creative, people, environmental and collaborative culture. Often they are of a…

Over the years I’ve seen the approach to innovation vary in organisations. Where organisations are design-led an innovative approach is part of the cultural fabric or ethos of the organisation. This can be seen in organisations like Apple and Tesla. It can also be seen in many start-ups, where a founder, in pursuit of defining a vision sees obstacles as challenges to be solved and the perceived risk of large organisations as opportunities.

In the eighties and early nineties I worked in telecommunications companies that due to the nature of our move from an electro-mechanical to digital environment lived in…

“Digital Transformation” has become an interesting buzzword that in its own right seems to be rapidly transforming. Not so long ago, replacing software systems with integrated, customer-facing digital systems, and putting digital more at the core of your business was simply a large-scale technology infrastructure program.

But everything requires a buzzword, and perhaps “large-scale technology infrastructure programs” had become laden with everything needing to be “enterprise-scale” using large “systems integrators” in an eco-system where technology — not the Customer — was in the driver’s seat.

In an effort to show how projects could be structured to take advantage of agile…

In my experience it never fails that many stakeholders come to usability testing with the question of “will” vs. “can” Customers use their products or services.

It’s a natural and desirable outcome of conducting user research. A positive answer can lead to acceptance of a business case, sign-off on a product launch, or pre-mature glory for the product owner and team.

A negative answer can help to avert a disastrous build and launch.

Unfortunately, there isn’t really any valid means to discern from usability testing whether or not a Customer “will” use a product or service. …

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail Better.” Samuel Beckett

Fail fast is a nice alliteration — which is one of the many reasons I think it has gained such momentum in the product design space. “Succeed fast” or “iterate quickly” doesn’t roll off the tongue nearly so well.

Fail better seems only moderately more hopeful.

How many times can you fail fast before you need to succeed in something?

Small organisations — e.g. start-ups — might be better positioned to fail fast — if only because their idea-to-launch cycles can be quite short, and the…

Many organisations are undertaking digital transformation programs to “put digital at the heart of their businesses”.

This isn’t a new thing. In a way, by replacing legacy systems, upgrading IT infrastructure, and putting in CRM and distribution systems, we’ve been on this path for the better part of the last decade.

In parallel to this, User Experience and in a larger sense, Customer Experience, have been gaining traction at putting the People closer to the centre of our designs and our organisations. …

Brian Hoadley

Design Change Leader, Novelist. NY | London. Founder at Kreate Change. All comments my own.

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