Diverse Design Teams Lead to Big Impact

Faran Najafi
Feb 28, 2017 · 4 min read

My 15+ years of experience in design has given me a broad understanding of the massive shift and transitions within our fast-paced industry. Over the years, I’ve seen how diversity is the driving force behind the tech and creative industries.

For the last couple of years, I have visited well-known design agencies and studios around the globe and realized how a diverse workforce can create more of an impact, which elevates the quality of their work. Diversity offers the opportunity to engage and collaborate with a broader clientele when multi-cultural workforces are in place.

As many of us know, design is on the rise. Designers are in extremely high-demand and our products are depending on solid user-experiences. Some may see this demand as a challenge, but I view it as a way to expand my team. As a design leader who lived in the Middle East, Europe, and over 16 years in the United States, I have the advantage of understanding and accepting these differences with an open mind and heart, which brings an inviting approach to the hiring process.

Here’s why:

The upshot of global growth means that diversity and experiences drive our perspectives so that we learn from each other. Innovation is no longer location dependent. We now have the ability to build meaningful experiences through different cultures around the world. My team and I shift our mindset through understanding each other’s point of view, which helps us to take a high-level approach to our craft.

I am fortunate to manage and direct such a diverse, cross-functional team who can build scalable and global products. As a result, this leads to engaging experiences that represent our global customers and meet their demands. Of course, there are challenges such as time zones, language barriers, and cultural differences. But this is expected when you recruit scalable and creative talent from around the world.

We are makers and problem solvers.

We collaborate to solve basic and complex challenges like understanding the subtleties in visual elements such as icons, symbols, and how they’re represented in different cultures to make sure that our designs communicate in an efficient way. We also accommodate various languages to support our international customers who read the content from right-to-left which impacts the layout of our products and influences their experiences.

My team and our product evolve when the bright side of diversity comes into play.


The role of the designer is expanding by the second. We are no longer focused only on pixel perfection. Today we gain insights through understanding business needs. We empathize with our users and customers to craft our product, incorporating the human element into our vision to transform our product. The diversity in location and culture helps our vision to become multi-dimensional and global.

Diversity does not end with differences in culture and time zones.

My mind and my heart remain open to different perspectives and lifestyles. Each member of my team brings a unique point of view with different design skill sets that complement the rest of us. This varies from research, visual and interaction design, usability testing and overall end-to-end workflows, which ensures that we elevate the quality of our products.

One of the most rewarding parts of my job is that I get to learn alongside my team. Once I learn how to manage their success, I can grow my team with efficiency and empathy.

Faran Najafi

Written by

Design Leadership & Strategy / Sr. Director of Design at Oracle / Building complex enterprise applications and I enjoy photography. San Francisco / CA

Thinking Design by Adobe

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