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An expert’s take on keeping design involved in business

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Design leaders spend a lot of energy trying to get a “seat at the table”—where design is recognized as impactful for company success. It’s an ongoing process, and it’s tough to maintain momentum and keep design involved over time. What questions should be asked along the way, and what language can design leaders use to influence business?

TS Balaji has some answers. In our newest episode of the DesignBetter.Co podcast, LogMeIn’s Vice President Product Design and Customer Experience covers everything from helping corporations use design to be competitive in new ways, to how the MARS framework-based maturity model he introduced is changing the design approach at LogMeIn.

TS Balaji

Read more: The agile design team maturity scale

Thanks to his diverse background, TS has a multidimensional understanding of how businesses work. That, along with his passion for design and user experience, gives him a rare, holistic view of how everything fits together.

Key takeaways to listen for:

  • Advice on helping make design a priority in the enterprise
  • How to “speak the language of design” by adapting it to different situations and groups
  • How the LogMeIn team measures the impact of design
  • Tips on creating playbooks that truly benefit the teams using them

“There isn’t one solution that’s going to fit all the companies available in the marketplace. You have to understand what’s going on within any given company—in terms of product, target segments, processes, design maturity, and in terms of how design is talked about within teams. Your playbook will change based on all these different factors.”

Read more: A playbook for achieving product-market fit

Conversation highlights

On using design as a decision-making tool for people outside the design team

If, for instance, a particular company is interested in increasing usage of a particular product, create designs that help you start to talk about how one design option gives a certain advantage over another in terms of increasing adoption.

On how a background in business and engineering influences his thoughts on designing at scale

Engineering has given me a language to talk to other engineers; my business background gives me the language to talk to other business people. If we think about design purely from understanding customer problems—and solving customer problems—translating that into something the C suite understands is a key component of starting to elevate design within an organization.

On customer experience and design’s place in the world

If we’re able to institutionalize empathy, we would be in a better place as an organization and as a society…One of the things I say when I end my meetings is, ‘Let’s go do some good in the world. Do good—not just from your customer or user standpoint, but also as a company, a shareholder, and a larger society in general.

Resources & tips we mentioned

If you like what we’re doing, and want to hear the stories of more great designer leaders, it would help us a lot if you subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Google Play and leave us a review.

Authors

Eli Woolery, Director of Design Education at InVision
Eli is the Director of Design Education at InVision. His design career spans both physical and digital products, and he is a lecturer in the Product Design program at Stanford University. You can find Eli on Medium or on Twitter.

Kaysie Garza
Kaysie is a digital copywriter at InVision—devouring books, French fries, and hiking trails when she isn’t working on words.

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