Alberta Soranzo

Design Teams Are a Design Exercise: How to Build, Inspire and Keep Design Teams (Happy)



Design Teams Are a Design Exercise: How to Build, Inspire and Keep Design Teams (Happy)

An effective design team requires a multitude of diverse skills, and it's impossible for any one individual to possess them all. So, how do you go about putting together a team that’s balanced, powerful and can work effectively with other teams? What is the right mixture of junior and senior practitioners? What skills, soft and hard, do you need to design and deliver outstanding products and services that support meaningful outcomes? In this workshop, we’ll take a look at how to assess the skills of our colleagues (as well as our own) to best shape, inspire and lead a design team that works together (and stays together). A team where more experienced practitioners thrive and more junior ones are supported, mentored and enabled to grow, and where complementarity and teamwork are the foundations of success. You will leave this workshop with a different point of view on design leadership, and ready to build, motivate, grow and keep design teams happy.

Why do I need to know about design leadership?

Bringing design attention to the context of design teams and design leadership is critical for the success and sustainability of our practice and industry. At a time when our ways of working, our design remit and materials change, we need to pay attention to supporting and growing our teams to successfully embrace these new challenges. As organisations continue to value the importance of design, more and more companies act on the need to establish a design team. These teams have specific needs to thrive in an organisation and to create value for the business and users as well as happy designers.

What topics will be covered? How does this work?

Learning by doing is one of the most effective way to acquire and share knowledge. In one long role-playing game, groups will work through the stages of development of a team — you will start collaborating from the get-go, forming fictional organizations that will be the backbone of the exercises you and your group will participate in.

The workshop is structured as a series of micro-modules on:

  • Leadership styles
  • Building vs inheriting a team
  • Hiring
  • Culture and fit
  • Team structure
  • Motivation
  • Retention
  • Conflict resolution
  • Skills assessment
  • Skills development
  • Mentoring/coaching
  • Letting go (post exit-interview)
  • These modules are followed, and sometimes preceded, by practical exercises and simulations that will flex your leadership muscle.

    Will I learn anything practical that I can use straight away?

    Absolutely. You will leave this workshop armed with:

  • Understanding of the traits of an effective design team
  • Tips and techniques on how to hire, motivate and keep design teams happy
  • Methods and tools (and a bit of science) to assess your team's skill set, create development plans and support maximum performance
  • A strategy to help you foster a culture of learning in your organization
  • Is this workshop for me?

    This workshop doesn’t require any prior knowledge and is suitable to anybody who works in a team, and especially beneficial to team leaders, new managers and managers new to design. But, really, if you work with other humans, this is for you.