Design Strategy Talks & Workshops

“Helping Teams Paddle in the Same Direction” talk on Clubhouse

Is your team on the same page when it comes to design strategy? Is there a greater alignment with what your design team wants to achieve with the business it represents? In this presentation “Helping teams paddle in the same direction through Design Strategy”, I talked about some key questions you should ask your team to help you challenge the notion of being aligned on a proper design direction.

I’ll be joining a crazy experiment on Monday: myself and few others will be chatting about “Helping teams paddle in the same direction through Design Strategy” using design strategy, product design and product vision principles in a conference that is not only completely remote, but also completely over voice only in Clubhouse (thanks to Robert Skrobe for the push, and Eugene Koplunik for hooking me up to Clubhouse!). 

Do we have a shared vision?

In my practice, I’ve found that — more often than not — is not for the lack of ideas that teams cannot innovate, but because of all the friction or drag created by not having a shared vision and understanding of what the problems they are trying to solve.

Shared understanding is the collective knowledge of the team that builds over time as the team works together. It’s a rich understanding of the space, the product, and the customers.

“Creating Shared Understanding” in Lean UX: Applying lean principles to improve userexperience, Gothelf, J., & Seiden, J. (2013)

It’s very easy to verify if the team lacks understanding around the problem the team is trying to solve. Just ask some fundamental questions in your next meeting, like “what is the problem we are trying to solve”? “And for whom”?”

If you get different answers from key stakeholders, it is probably a good indication that you should jump in and help facilitate the discussion that will help the team to align.

Six Strategic Questions, adapted from "Strategy Blueprint" in Mapping Experiences: A Guide to Creating Value through Journeys, Blueprints, and Diagrams (Kalbach, 2020).
Six Strategic Questions, adapted from “Strategy Blueprint” in Mapping Experiences: A Guide to Creating Value through Journeys, Blueprints, and Diagrams (Kalbach, 2020).

Facilitators are here to enable groups to succeed by (“A Few Reasons to Hire a Facilitator” in Thrive: The Facilitator’s Guide to Radically Include Meetings. Smutny, M., 2019):

  • Asking questions. Creative questions allow a composite picture of the organization to emerge before a strategy event. This listening prepares the consultant to facilitate with knowledge and skills.
  • Designing a planning process that is unique to the team they are working with. An experienced facilitator creates a meeting designs from a wealth of methods, tailored to the objectives to the team.
  • Helping the group get specific action plans. She or he will not let teams get stuck with vague generalities.

Helping Teams Paddle in the Same Direction

More on Clubhouse

If you’re interested in joining discussions like these, don’t forget to follow us on Clubhouse:

Recommended Reading

Anderson, G., (2019), “Mastering Collaboration: Make Working Together Less Painful and More Productive”, 228 pages, O’Reilly Media; 1st edition (April 2, 2019)

Gothelf, J., & Seiden, J. (2013). Lean UX: Applying lean principles to improve user experience. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media

Greever, T. (2020). Articulating Design Decisions (2nd Edition). Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media.

Hammond, John S., Ralph L. Keeney, and Howard Raiffa. “The Hidden Traps in Decision Making.” Harvard Business Review 76, no. 5 (September–October 1998): 47–+.

Maxwell, J. C. (2007). The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership: Follow them and people will follow you. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

Meyer, E. (2014). The culture map: Breaking through the invisible boundaries of global business. New York, NY: PublicAffairs.

Smutny, M. (2019b). Thrive: The facilitator’s guide to radically inclusive meetings. Civic Reinventions.

By Itamar Medeiros

Originally from Brazil, Itamar Medeiros currently lives in Germany, where he works as Director of Design Strategy at SAP.

Working in the Information Technology industry since 1998, Itamar has helped truly global companies in several countries (Argentina, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Germany, India, Mexico, The Netherlands, Poland, The United Arab Emirates, United States, Hong Kong) create great user experience through advocating Design and Innovation principles.

During his 7 years in China, he promoted the User Experience Design discipline as User Experience Manager at Autodesk and Local Coordinator of the Interaction Design Association (IxDA) in Shanghai.

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