What are they?
Design teams is a phrase that we use a lot at S&G, but how many people really understand what we mean by using that terminology? The term “design team’ means different things to different organizations. For example: in advertising, firms might have a design team that has more of a creative purpose. Usually set with several well-known designers and artists as well as a creative director and copyright editors to make sure they are creating a great advertising campaign to reach their customers and create successful advertising campaigns. (“What is a Creative Team in Advertising” by Rick Suttle).
Another type of design team could be an architectural design team, which typically consists of an architect, urban designers, environmental architect just to name a few. Their position or task might be to ”design a sustainable building, with as little impact on environment as possible all while blending into local architecture, while tying the interior and exterior designs together.” That organization or group will have to assemble a design team that has the technical know how to achieve that goal. In short, they are a group of experts in their field brought together for the success of that project.
(graphic from Srujan Foundation)
How does S&G work with the Design Team
At S&G however, we are a little different, we don’t have a room full of experts. We look at the organization or company with the leadership and create a team that represents all positions or departments in order to ensure that as many voices get in the room early to help plan the change effort. We value all ideas and use the design team to help facilitate the design of the overall action planning and the accelerator event activities. Doing this helps the organization have people involved in the process and continuing the conversation of taking action. Engaged design team members, who are excited about the process and believe in the direction of the organization naturally helps to create buy in for the planning process and greater commitment to the success of that plan.
Using the S&G Endeavors “Engaged Change” Process Roadmap, we use design teams to help:
- Collecting System-wide data to wholistically inform the team
- Build common ground for the initiative
- Plan the accelerator change activities
Having an well connected design team that represents the organization as a whole is key to going into the planning process on the right foot. Looking a little further into the “Engaged Change” process, here are some of the activities that design teams can accomplish during the planning work:
- Engage in conversations that build a common framework for aspirations and opportunities for the org./company.
- Create a common picture of what is working and what needs to change.
- Collect stakeholder perspectives and analyze relevant data
- Design the larger engagement experience (planning, logistics, and activities)
Companies are filled with projects, plans, and initiatives. Many use teams and/or groups to divide up the workload, align tasks, and manage the work. Our design team process engages people early and often into the planning process ensuring increased support for future planning and implementing actions. The wisdom of the organization is turned into organizational learning and development when the right people are tapped to lead the change process. The better the organization can assemble this team, the likely they increase the success of their change/action planning process.
To hear some stories from leaders who have used design teams, Check out our upcoming broadcast:
Design Teams: Tapping into Client Wisdom and Planning for the Change
w/Elliot Caldwell – Georgia Bikes, Dan Favre – Bike Easy, Jacob Vansickle – Bike Cleveland
Wednesday June 27th
Here is the actual S&G Connections episode in it’s entirety.