DL Meetup: DesignOps, Unleashing the Digital Innovation

Updated: Aug 30, 2021

DesignOps - components
Source: Slide from Norman & Sons presentation at the meetup

Thank you all for making it to the Digital Leadership meetup on Monday evening.

As mentioned we were looking forward to running a theme about innovation and UX (User Experience) for some time. We are so pleased with the response. It was a fantastic turnout, taking two rooms at SkillsMatter. For the first time we finished all the pizzas as well, we will order more next time.

It was also our pleasure to have two presentations and four speakers on the theme of DesignOps.

Louise and Denise from Norman & Sons described the challenges of innovating, notably in the environment of financial services. Many constraints get in the way of innovation. Business want too much at once; we have to compose with the technology legacy, regulation and compliance, silos, risk aversion and very often, self-inflicted hurdles: “Thy shall use Sharepoint!”. Innovation needs Time & Space, Creative Friction, Structure(!!), Experimentation and Evidence-based Decisions. The structure element was a surprise to us at Lead-Digital, but this is the essence of DesignOps. We loved the quote: "You cannot innovate on products without first innovating the way you build them". Louise and Denise then walked us through aspects of Process and Governance, Tools, Collaboration and Feedback and last but not least, People. They also took the time to answer questions from the audience and share their real-world experience. Please access the presentation from the shared drive. Please see the video from SkillsMatter.

Matt and Ben from Centrica followed with a second talk, sharing their journey of implementing DesignOps at Centrica. In their own words, Makers turned Leaders. Their journey started facing unprecedented team growth as a result of the Design function moving into Group. At the same time, User Experience became more critical for the business to drive Digital innovation. The small family-like team had to structure through expansion, welcome to DesignOps. Another quote epitomises their  efforts: "Design Operations focuses on the health of the practice, the people, and the projects." They adopted four pillars of People, Design Toolkit, Collaboration and Design Value. Matt and Ben presented a fascinating journey, genuinely living the User Experience values, not just with the customers but also with their team, down to the details of the recruitment and the onboarding process. The collaboration grew naturally over time with Designers asking for more open-sharing sessions. As the team and the function established themselves, it is also much more recognised by the business. They truly live the value of their concluding comment: "A happy designer designs better, stays around, innovates more". Please access the presentation from the shared drive. The see the video from SkillsMatter.

As I mentioned, please do not hesitate to contact our speakers (or us) if you have the talent to join their organisations or would like to commission some work to implement DesignOps in your organisation.

Our next meetup will be on the theme of "SenseMaking your way into the HR of the Digital-Agile age". Please register from the meetup site.

We also have to ask a little more of your participation this time. Please also complete the SenseMaker® survey,  which is part of the experience of the next meetup. You will try SenseMaker® from Cognitive Edge, and you will contribute to the results that we will share at the meetup. The meetup will provide an education about SenseMaker®, discuss the results of the survey and open the discussion about how Human Resources have to change in a more Digital-Agile word of work. We will have Tony Quinlan, who is an experienced SenseMaker® practitioner for this meetup and I will also share some of the positioning.