Let me help you evolve your design practice.
Right now, more organizations than ever recognize the value of a strong user experience strategy, and as such are looking to evolve their own design teams. The problem is one of supply and demand: there simply aren’t enough experienced design leaders available to lead all of these teams.
Certainly, there are training programs, workshops, conferences, and other avenues for skill-building. But the majority of these options focus on developing proficiency in a specific tool, or introducing one specific methodology, when the actual practice of UX needs to be fluid, flexible, and adaptable. What most teams need are practical skill building in the context of their actual work; learning not just best design practices, but how to understand business needs, how to work within the unique organizational landscape, and how to create a design culture that fosters collaboration and innovation.
When I work with teams, I do more than help them design products or services: I help them build competency and expertise in human centered design. I focus on developing foundational skills to help teams not just better meet current needs, but to adapt and scale as the organization grows and the business goals evolve. I focus on project-based learning: working with teams in the context of specific projects, helping structure activities and timelines effectively, introducing and practicing specific methodologies appropriate to the project needs, creating frameworks for collaborative activities to ensure healthy and efficient feedback loops, and evaluating success against measurable benchmarks.
Discovery is about asking “What do we need to learn” and “What is the most effective way to do that?” An effective discovery process reveals opportunities, particularly unexpected opportunities, to help your organization and your users be more successful. Qualitative research is the foundation of my discovery process, and I employ a variety of design activities to build and expand understanding. During discovery, we’ll focus on:
Understanding our users. The real users.
We’ll talk to real, complicated, often messy humans to identify common goals, motivations, and patterns of behavior.
Identifying our riskiest assumptions.
Solutions built on assumptions rarely survive in the market. We’ll translate assumptions into hypothesis that we can then test and validate.
Setting Direction, with a Flexible Destination
The goals we set during discovery will serve as guardrails as we make design and execution decisions throughout the project.
Experience Strategy & Execution
A practical, targeted experience strategy allows the team to most effectively explore and evaluate possible solutions while ensuring design decisions are informed both by user needs and the business goals. There is no “off the shelf” process or approach that works all the time; each project not only can be, but should be unique based on the size and character of the team, the goals of the project, and the constraints around the solution. One of the most important considerations is the ambition of the project:
Enhancing and optimizing your current solutions, in your current markets.
Designing complimentary solutions to your current offerings, or expanding into complimentary markets.
Designing new solutions to explore new markets or new technology.
Designing and delivering solutions is always a team effort. We’ll break down organizational silos, build an intentional practice of collaboration, and develop habits and practices that support engagement and creative growth.
FOCUS ON THE QUALITY OF THE PROCESS, NOT THE TOOLS.
Thoughtful, structured collaboration helps teams share and explore a diverse set of ideas and move together towards a single solution that is greater than the sum of the individual parts. It’s not about the post-its or templates. (Although there probably will be post-its.)
AIM FOR ALIGNMENT. NOT AGREEMENT.
If everyone on your team agrees, it’s a sign you are lacking in cognitive diversity. The right amount of friction ignites creativity. When you are transparent about the process, team members can get behind the solution and work together even if they don’t always agree on the details. That’s a sign of a healthy team.
MOVE QUICKLY FROM DISCUSSION TO ACTION.
You know why people hate meetings? Because they tend to involve a lot of noise without moving the team any closer to a solution. Effective collaborative work always drives the project forward and brings you closer to the project goals.