A Charter for Design Teams

I’m co-authoring a book on building in-house design organizations. A challenge that design has is that, compared with other corporate functions like engineering and marketing, it is newer and its appreciation is less sophisticated. This often leads design to be boxed into a role that is limited to aesthetics and usability.

I believe design should realize an expanded mandate where it is infused throughout the end-to-end customer experience. Additionally, design shouldn’t be limited to just execution, but as core to the development of strategy and planning. To communicate this broader role, I believe it would be beneficial for design teams to articulate a charter to the rest of the organization.

Below is my current whack at such a thing. Every design team is different, so it’s unlikely to apply universally, but it’s a place to start.

We’re not here just to make it pretty. Through empathy, we ensure meaning and utility. With craft, we elicit understanding and desire. We wrangle the complexity of our offering to deliver a clear, coherent, and satisfying experience from start to finish.

The challenge is writing something brief enough to sustain attention, pithy enough to be meaningful, and pointed enough to make an impact. Thoughts? Any of you do anything like this in your organization?

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