Getting started as a newly appointed design leader - Deepstash
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The role as a design leader

The role as a design leader

The task of the chief design officer (CDO) is often less defined than other established C-suit positions.

The position provides the opportunity to create unmatched value. However, it also presents unique challenges, such as the ability to switch between analytical and creative, design and business, empathetic and directive.


347 reads

Manage expectations

Your responsibility is to explain and translate the commercial design and value for the customer that is relatable.

The Tools

Quantitative and qualitative insights should be balanced. Set key metrics by identifying and quantifying your company's ambition. The metrics must resonate with the entire top team while enabling design teams to be creative.

The goals

Use metrics that will show early measurable results to help build trust with the C-suite.


129 reads

Manage relationships

The success of designers relies on cross-functional collaboration and understanding. Prevent an us-versus-them dynamic that traditionally occurs between designers and the organisation.

The tools

Explore various ideas to encourage a cross-functional culture. During recruitment, ensure that designers have the skill and desire to integrate with others. Train designers on business skills.

The goals

Focus on integrating and supporting your top design talent as they can deliver tenfold the business value of an average colleague. Understand what motivates them and help them thrive.


76 reads

Secure design-driven wins

It takes many functions to bring a product or service to market. You will need to influence the other functions daily to ensure that they work harmoniously. From the start, form alliances with colleagues across the organisation. Offer your guidance and reassurance for working with design teams.

The tools

Create a shared language to help in new ways of working together and reduce the risk and cost of the project.

The goals

Fostering frequent iteration across functions will enable timely user-led products and services. Focusing on strategic relationships will help ease potential obstacles.


53 reads

Develop critical insights

A chief design officer used to focus only on physical hardware design. However, the customer's expectations show the need to understand the entire customer journey.

The tools

Map your customer's end-to-end journeys and identify any pain points. You may need to consult your company's marketing and other teams to consolidate the information. Then, for each customer pain point, challenge the organisation to create one physical, one digital, and one service solution.

The goals

The chief design officer has a unique position to challenge the organisation to solve the user's needs.


65 reads



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