We’re going virtual for our Design for Business Impact speaker series! This event will feature case studies from Lindsay Mindler, Head of Core Design at Pinterest, and Collin Whitehead, Head of Brand Studio at Dropbox.

After investing in multi-billion dollar companies across industries and advising hundreds of design leaders at Designer Fund, one of the biggest opportunities I’ve seen for designers to increase their influence is to demonstrate how their work aligns with the success of the business.

Often as designers, our natural tendency is to emphasize the importance of our craft, instead of focusing on the impact it has on the bottom line. For example, if you approach your manager and propose moving from a static style guide to a component based design system, that sounds expensive. …

After investing in multi-billion dollar companies across industries and advising hundreds of design leaders at Designer Fund, one of the biggest opportunities I’ve seen for designers to increase their influence is to demonstrate how their work aligns with the success of the business.

Image courtesy of Adobe

Often as designers, our natural tendency is to emphasize the importance of our craft, instead of focusing on the impact it has on the bottom line. For example, if you approach your manager and propose moving from a static style guide to a component based design system, that sounds expensive. It’s not obvious to managers how a design system could save the business money in the long run.

Gusto HQ

We’re at a pivotal moment in our tech industry where more people are aware of the importance of design. Finally, there’s credible research like McKinsey’s Design Index (“MDI”) which tracked 300 publicly listed companies over five years and showed that top design performers increase their revenues and shareholder returns at nearly twice the rate of their industry. Also in a recent survey of over 2,200 designers around the world, InVision found that companies with high design maturity are more likely to see results like cost savings, revenue gains, and market position improvements. A key takeaway from the reports is that…

Humans love convenience and the path of least resistance. Companies have figured out how to take advantage of this with products ranging from fast food to Uber. Many of our bad habits form because it’s too easy to adopt them. Everything around us — media, substances, fossil fuels — makes it hard for us to be happy in a sustainable way. One of the most radical things you can do to resist the “system” is to take care of yourself with healthy habits. In addition to hacking your motivation, when you’re first developing a new habit you need to lower…

Habits are like fundamental building blocks that can support or block you from what you want in life. Conscious and unconscious habits — from social media to who you spend time with — heavily influence your belief system and vice versa. Tara Brach recently talked about how our beliefs become our thoughts and emotions which influence our behavior. Our behavior creates our character and then that determines our destiny. In other words, our habits of thought and behavior are key to shaping our life experience. But as you age your habits harden and become more difficult to change unless you…

We all want to change our lives in some way, whether it’s to get in shape, pick up a hobby or learn new skills. If you want to get better at something beyond dabbling, the key is to be more intentional about the habits that support whatever outcome you want. In my last post, I talked about the importance of selecting habits that make sense for your unique context. In this post I’ll focus on defining habits that set you up for achieving your goals. I’ll mostly draw from my recent journey learning how to surf and also weave in…

From fear to surfing Ocean Beach

Changing human behavior is one of the most difficult things to do on Earth. Even if you write a 1,656 page report saying that we could lose $141 billion from heat-related deaths, $118 billion from sea level rise and $32 billion from infrastructure damage by the end of the century — people resist change. Arguably forming and sustaining a new behavior until it becomes a habit is even harder, especially as you get older. Which also means if you’re lucky enough to create a product that becomes a habit for people at scale, you hit the jackpot. So last year…

I recently returned from Costa Rica, Argentina and Brazil and I’m gearing up for more travel this year as I look for insights and investment opportunities for Designer Fund beyond the bubble of Silicon Valley. One of the most surprising things to me was how much I enjoyed coming home to the SF Bay Area — where I was born and raised. Below are a few reminders to myself that I typed while standing crammed on BART to remember this feeling of appreciation:

Be curious on familiar streets

We’re creatures of habit and once we develop a pattern, like a…

One of the things I’ve realized so far while beginning to surf is that you need to turn towards your fear, literally. When you see a wave that looks big and scary approaching, if you hesitate and wait for it, it’s going to smash and toss you around.

The counter intuitive solution is to actually paddle towards it. Then you realize you can get over or around the wave, with only a little splash in your face. …

Enrique Allen

Co-founder of Designer Fund. Investor in design leaders like Stripe, Gusto, & Omada Health. Lecturer at Stanford dschool. Former 500S, Facebook Fund, Venrock.

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