Helping design organizations positively change

One of the things I enjoy doing and lecturing in my classes is about how designers can positively help their organizations change. I think at times some new designers working at organizations think they can only help through their design skills (visual, interaction, prototyping, etc.) but there are a lot of other ways designers can help make an impact at their organizations other than just designing things. One of the things a designer can do is to help the team pick the right design tool which has several different impacts to the organization.

A previous student emailed me today and asked for advice on how they can get their company to stop using a very outdated design tool and to help them to start using Figma. They mentioned how their director wasn’t really open to that change and they asked for advice on how they can address that situation. To me changing their main design tool isn’t just about the design tool or an impact to their designers. To me it’s a change to how the company collaborates across different disciplines, positive benefits through the improved productivity of the team, the consolidation of design tools thanks to Figma’s awesome features which could help save the company money, and other ways this can help the organization.

I have experience moving design teams to use different tools at various companies I have worked at so I have some thoughts here. At Google I moved our team from Adobe Illustrator to Sketch. At Sunrun I moved our team from Sketch to Figma. At Pivotal I moved our team from Sketch to Figma so I have some experience on how to handle the situation my student asked me about. The following is what I would do to help this company adopt a new design tool.

Note: I am only speaking about how I helped my direct product teams move to different tools, some of the companies I worked at have several design teams which I had no direct impact on what other tools teams used.

Getting buy-in from the designers

What I would do is pick your favorite and most used features and demo to the team on how you utilize Figma in your design work. I would also prepare and share a list of features you typically don’t use because these features might be utilized by other designers on your team.

I would also prepare a list of resources (articles, videos) and have this ready because chances are the designers on your team will be impressed by Figma and will want to learn more. It also could be helpful to get a list of things they want to learn more about and host another workshop to go over those things.

Getting buy-in from other disciplines

Another way to approach this is to talk to other disciplines on your team and ask what types of needs, goals and use cases they have in their workflow and see how Figma can help.

Improving team productivity

Consolidation of design tools

Share case studies on how other companies benefitted from changing tools

These are just some ways I would help convince an organization to use a different design tool. What are some things you would do? I would love to learn more about how you would handle this. Please reach out to me on Twitter

Senior Product Designer @ findem.ai, www.mikehlee.com

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