RECAP | InHouse Council

Republic Wireless hosted AIGA Raleigh’s first InHouse Council on Thursday April 7. As a designer at Republic and an active member of AIGA, I was really looking forward to connecting with the in-house community. Panel members Ed Roberts, Creative Director at ElectriCities and in-house expert for HOW Design; Colleen Shelley, Senior Designer at RedHat; and Jeff Wright, VP of UX and Design at Sqord, Inc. discussed cross-functional collaboration, nourishing creativity, and raising design’s profile within a company.

In House Council

Ed Roberts

Ed has years of experience managing creative teams and shared his knowledge about fostering a creative, and happy, team.

  • Define your team’s core values around your long term vision. Your core values should come from goals you set throughout the year. 
  • It’s important to know when to work towards ideas that aren’t yours, or your favorite, for the betterment of the team.
  • Be honest with designers who’s work isn’t up to par – it will produce better work.
  • It’s important to give people a place at the table. Big ideas can come from anyone. 
  • In-house creative leaders are important to support and motivate a team. “Take arrows” for your team members and shield them from meetings as much as possible.
  • Ask behavioral questions during the interview process.
“Go into every engagement with a team member wanting them to be successful.”

In House Council

Colleen Shelley

Colleen’s design team works with other departments in RedHat on a daily basis and she has learned how to most effectively manage those relationships.

  • Figure out your expertise and prove it to those other teams to build trust.
  • It’s a good idea to have regular meet-ups with other design departments in the company to share ideas and create consistency.
  • To help educate non-designers about the design process, it could be helpful to design two versions: the one the asked for and the one you think is better.
Bring other departments into the design process to show them how it works and build trust.

In House Council

Jeff Wright

Jeff has helped make design a priority at every organization he’s worked for. He discussed how he got the leadership’s attention and respect.

  • It’s important to understand business priorities. Think about how design can solve their problems and speak their language.
  • Quantitatively show the value of design.
  • Conduct user testing on your designs to prove its credibility and predict outcomes. The results will also help quantify the value of design.
  • Pick one member of leadership and get to know them. Show them how design can solve their problems and (hopefully) they’ll start to advocate for you in meetings.
Moving the needle is the most important measurement of your worth.

We gained lots of great insight from the first InHouse Council and are excited to start planning the next event in the series! We hope to make IHC a regular meet-up where we can discuss common challenges and practices specific to in-house designers. If you couldn’t make it out to this event, we hope to see ya at the next one!

By Chelsea Brown
Published April 18, 2016