presents: not your average design leadership event

Natalie Hills
Nov 26, 2019 · 3 min read

As a recruiter, I’ve attended more design events than I can count – in different offices, on different themes and with different sizes of business…Some more memorable than others!

A few weeks ago, we hosted our first ever Design Leadership event at the delightful Deliveroo HQ here in London. Welcoming almost 50 external guests into the office and lining up our panel of experienced design leaders.

There’s a few things that reign consistent at most good meet-ups; there’s always pizza and there’s always booze. Usually you get to see cool offices and no matter what, it’s a great opportunity to meet and socialise with other people who share your interests.

So, the question is: why are Deliveroo’s events any different from the other design events in London?

Well, we have pizza (loads of it) and we also have beer (loads of that too!) but our event a few weeks back was less structured, less rehearsed and much more honest than other events I’ve attended. I could be wrong, but I think that’s what meet-ups need more of… Honesty.

Our evening started with Simon Dixon, the Head of Design at the NHS. He shared the challenges of designing an experience that is so complex, personal and impactful to people’s well-being. This experience is profoundly different to Deliveroo – there’s no rider, no chinese take away and unlike the US, it’s free! Healthcare is intended to be a highly-accessible part of the in the UK. As Simon explained, while some complexities of the process, research and projects are wholly unique to the NHS, the principles of leadership and management of a team are very similar to Deliveroo (or any other business). Leading people well is hard at any company.

After this, we put Simon and three of our leadership team (Julie Horvath, Chris Linnett and Stuart Frisby) up as our panelists. They were asked the same 3 questions:

Is there a right reason to go into management or leadership?

How has your experience at other companies differed to Deliveroo? (Simon didn’t answer this one for obvious reasons!)

What is the hardest thing you’ve had to do as a manager?

This opened up conversations that we’re honest and most importantly, weren’t answered as managers, directors, leaders of a team…but as people.

Coming from or Spotify, the panelists spoke about their own personal challenges that came along with leading a team and the learnings they took from decisions that they’d made. Following this, we gave the guests a chance to open up and ask questions — to share their own, unique situations with the panel.

I couldn’t help thinking as we finished up the discussion… How great is it that we can provide people with an environment where they feel empowered to discuss these challenges with people around them? presents: Design Leadership, is going to be the first in a series of events, and we’d like for these panels to continue, so that we can continue the conversations and knowledge sharing that they facilitate.

We want Deliveroo’s events to be known for the sharing of genuine experiences and fantastic conversation. (Oh, and London’s best food & drinks!)

No single person, team or company is perfect and that’s OK. We’re all learning and growing together. Our first Design Leadership panel made for a great night of learning- we hope you’ll join us for our next one!

If you’re interested in attending our events, contact me at

Deliveroo Design

Stories, tidbits and musings from the content, research and…

Natalie Hills

Written by

Experience Recruiter

Deliveroo Design

Stories, tidbits and musings from the content, research and design team at Deliveroo

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