5 Things I Learned From Cooper U’s Design Leadership

We are always on the look out for posts, articles, and other pieces authored by Cooper U Alumni. The stories that they tell are often an insightful glimpse into what lessons stood out to participants. We were delighted to find this blog post by Meg Davis (Extractable) that calls out so many of the tips and meaningful moments from Design Leadership’s curriculum. Take a look…

I recently had the pleasure of attending a two-day event hosted by San Francisco agency Cooper about design leadership. This discussion-based event covered great material about techniques for leadership and communication in the design industry. I would highly recommend this event to other design professionals who want to improve the effectiveness of their work.
Five insights stuck with me, and I’ve included concrete tips about how to live out these insights practically.
Be as intentional with people as you are with your work.
As user experience designers, we love researching people to find out their motivations for using web and digital products. We spend hours of primary research during each project, watching people use products in context of their work. However, we don’t put this level of attention towards our co-workers who we work alongside. If we took time to really understand and build empathy for the people we work with every day, we would understand what kind of pressures they face, what rewards them, what they need to make a decision, and what they need from us in order to trust us. If we can understand each team member’s skills and motivations, then we can leverage them to work better together. As the Cooper U team so beautifully put it, “Sometimes you need to slow down to speed up.”
Tip: At the start of each project, talk to each team member about his or her intentions for the project and figure out ways to support them, even in small ways.
Tip: Before going into meetings with your peers, understand and anticipate what they will need to feel engaged during the meeting and feel buy-in with respect to the work.
Read more about Meg’s experience on the Extractable blog

Meg Davis attended Design Leadership training in February. This course was created and taught by Teresa Brazen and myself. Learn more about this class or sign up for the next one here.
Want to share your Cooper U experience? We would love to hear about it. Send us a note.

Kendra Shimmell

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