UX Advantage 2015: Keynote – The Challenges of Making UX a Competitive Advantage

Karen McGrane
– wanted to make an event for people who are already making it happen as leaders in their orgs
– 6 interviews – executive sessions, huge global corporations where design initiatives are big and working; 4 interviews on more focused topics
– gaining executive support: frustrating: orgs want design but aren’t will to make changes to pull it off; how do you get budget; how do you convince; is there a crisis; what space do you get to play (and fail) in
– reinvent corporate structures: small local group -> central team with budget -> pervasive design thinking across organization; where does the UX function and leadership live
– restructuring incentives and rewards: hard incentives: how are execs rewarded; how is success recognized and rewarded; how to not focus just on shipping but quality of its product; soft incentives: how to reach the hearts of individual designers; how do you know its working; how do you motivate, even across stronger vs weaker team members
– shift to continuous deployment: it’s a very deep change; how do you make it work for more than developers; can you tweak your way to design success; big companies and the government
– taking advantage of fear: what if you are the next healthcare.gov; what about a new competitor or market disruption; can be a catalyst for change but hard to admit
– governments’ design lessons: seem to be the slowest movers, but have done some amazing things; US Digital Service and Los Angeles County; fascinated by people who don’t come from a design background but realize there are techniques and tools out their to make their work and business better
– inventing the ‘yes’ lawyer: legal is a blocker to many ideas; how do you get legal on your side; struggle with contracting especially in highly regulated industries; contracts that allow iterative and creative work rather than laundry lists of requirements; how to not be in conflict between UX and legal; incorporate the actual meaning and spirit of the law into design; agile/iterative methods
– designing a global UX: many companies have plans but have not achieved; how do you operate a global business right; how do customers in different places make decisions; executive buy-in; where does globalization live in org; how can it be infused
– the role of outsiders: is there still a role for design agencies; eg. Capital One acquired Adaptive Path; how to think about internal vs external resources and teams; reasons to use outside agencies beyond just extending capacity

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