Building design culture from the ground up

I intend to share with you a little of the experience that I had with the challenge of including design in the daily life of a company the size of Senior.

Culture takes time, requires patience and hands-on. It is not as simple as a choice to center the design on the user or not, to be innovative or not. Culture needs to be experienced on a daily basis because the culture is behavior and actions.

At Senior I had aimed for the software development culture to move towards a method of thinking more focused on problems instead of being obsessed with solutions. This thinking is not a process, it is not about creativity. This thought is a philosophy, a mentality.

SDX

As part of the enculturation process, we created the Senior Design Experience program, which was the main plan to disseminate knowledge of the UX discipline aiming at better deliveries and results.

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An internal program that promoted the culture of design thinking and scalability of the UX discipline supported by the agile movement and aligned between the needs of the organization, design, development, and users.

SDX delivered exclusive talks, cases, and articles on Senior’s Medium, workshops, face-to-face classes and video classes for the Corporate University.

How we did

I mapped problems through interviews with most Product Owners and found some key problems that guided our actions.

We also conducted an internal survey to understand the curiosities of our colleagues in relation to design and, thus, identify the subjects of greatest interest. We had very considerable participation and were able to trace the first steps and choose the theme of the first talk, we were also able to solidify a design community interested in learning and sharing.

The process of building this program became collaborative, bringing the Design Guild to many areas, such as Marketing, Corporate University and the Board itself. This brought more security, solidity, and value to the process.

Kickoff

Our first event had about 100 employees in the Senior auditorium, with a welcome coffee to the participants before the opening speech of our CTO, Jean Vieira (now CMO @ Senior).

We took the opportunity to present the team of designers and also the flexible design process built especially for the evolution scenario that Senior was living at that time.

In the sequence, we had as a guest the user researcher and usability specialist Gabriel Muniz (now UX Researcher @ Shopify) who brought the lecture “Usability and best practices in everyday life”.

[+] More photos

Results

Right after the event, we send a satisfaction survey to measure the quality of what we promote and the immediate effects.

In addition, we received several insights for upcoming events.

Changing people’s mindset is difficult, my suggestion is to bring more practical cases to demonstrate the gain and learn from work.

If possible, do something with workshops, to teach people by getting their hands dirty. It can generate more learning.

We have already felt a positive change in our deliveries, which inspires us to continue seeking to spread UX to all layers of the organization and to expand the Design Community even more.

Further steps

  • SDX left the building and occupied spaces around promoting workshops with customers and users.
  • Face-to-face classes for employees;
  • Specific workshops for our POs;
  • Lecture at Seniortec,
  • Video lessons for the Corporate University.

My final reflection

I believe that it is by co-creating and sharing that we will create a more innovative culture and, mainly, based on actions.

Written by

I'm a Brazilian UXD expat in the Netherlands with my gang.

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