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Going Up: Higher Expectations and More Opportunities for Design Leaders in 2023

Learn from the best of design leaders and ICs we’ve hosted at our DesignX events and conferences.

Chris Avore

VP Design

Many more organizations are aware of the business value of design now. Their executive leadership has read the articles in Harvard Business Review, they've seen what happens when they don't invest in design, and many know how hard it can be to find and retain good designers and effective design leaders. While that certainly seems like good news, it means that the bar is now higher for design leadership to show up and keep its seat at the table. The post-it notes, paper prototypes, and workshops with cross functional teams are no longer enough to show our impact. It's up to us to elevate how we deliver--both as leaders and practitioners--to really drive change and improve the experiences for our customers, our partners, and of course, our teams. This talk examines how we got here and where (and how far) we have to go. By improving the management acumen of our front-line design managers, creating new and more frequent opportunities to improve craft, and by stronger partnerships with our partners in business, engineering, and product management, we'll meet and ultimately exceed these higher expectations that we'll now face. We'll discuss how we not only need to measure our design decisions but also frame them within the context of business objectives and how our choices unlock downstream or 3rd order value. We'll talk about how just relying on design critiques aren't enough to elevate craft, and how our practitioners will have to sharpen their delivery capabilities to move Design forward. And we'll talk about what works and what doesn't when trying to align your teams to the goals, objectives, and outcomes of the rest of the business, while still maintaining our own identify, unique contributions, and soul of our teams and our teammates. Walk out or log out of this talk with renewed confidence that you can meet these new expectations without stress or surprise. It's not only possible, it's what we'll all have to do in 2023.

Chris leads the product design, UX research, design strategy, content strategy, and design program management efforts at Northwestern Mutual. He previously led teams at Meta (Facebook), InVision, and Nasdaq. Chris is also the co-author of design management book Liftoff! Practical Design Leadership to Elevate your Team, Your Organization, and You (2020).

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Learn from the best of design leaders and ICs we’ve hosted at our DesignX events and conferences.