BUILDING DIVERSE DESIGN TEAMS TO DRIVE INNOVATION

Building Diverse Design Teams To Drive Innovation

Design’s role in companies is becoming less about visual appeal and more about hitting business goals and creating value for users. Therefore, the need to build teams with diverse perspectives is becoming imperative. Design will not only be critical to solving problems on the product and experience level, but also relevant on a bigger scale to close social divides and to create inclusive communities.

What Is The Competing Values Framework?

Competing Values Framework, a model for organizational effectiveness shows how different perspectives translate into business values, as well as show where their weaknesses are.

These are categorized into “quadrants” as follows:

  1. COLLABORATE

People with characteristics from the Collaborate quadrant are committed to cooperating together based on shared values.

  1. CREATE

While most people are hesitant to change and innovation, those in this quadrant embrace it.

  1. COMPETE

As the name implies, people here are competitive and focus on high performance and big results.

  1. CONTROL

People in this quadrant focus on creating systems that are reliable and efficient.

How To Use The CVF To Build Diverse Teams?

The Competing Values Framework assessment is a practical way to

(1) establish the desired organizational outcomes and goals,

(2) evaluate the current practices of teams within the organization/company and how they manage workflows, and

(3) the individual’s role and how they fit into the context of the team and company.

Here are some practical ways that teams can increase diversity:

HIRE FOR DIVERSITY

When hiring, it’s important to find people with unique perspectives to complement existing designers and stakeholders. Hiring managers should ask thoughtful questions to gage how well candidates exercise their problem-solving skills and empathy in real-life business cases.

STEP OUTSIDE THE BUBBLE

Whether this would be directly for client work or for building team rapport, it’s valuable to get people out of the office to experience things outside of their familiar scope. They should be encouraged to constantly learn something new.

DRIVE DIVERSITY INITIATIVES INTERNALLY

Hosting in-house hackathons to get teams to interact differently allows designers to expand their skills while learning new approaches to problem solving. Bringing in outside experts to share their wisdom is a great way for teams to learn new ways of thinking.

FOSTER A CULTURE OF APPRECIATION

Some companies have weekly roundtable session where each person on the team shares one thing he or she is appreciative about another person. Not only does this encourage high morale but also empowers teams to produce better work.

What Should Diverse Teams Keep In Mind?

Acknowledging that while different ideas and values are important, they can clash if conversations are not managed effectively. Discrimination and segregation can happen. People should be open to being challenged and ask questions, rather than get defensive about their ideas. Compromise will be necessary in this process.

When diversity isn’t managed actively, or there is an imbalance of values on a team, several challenges arise:

  • Communication barriers
  • Discrimination and segregation
  • Competition over collaboration

Conclusion And Next Steps

Rather than approach it as an obligation and something with a lot of risk, leaders should see it as a benefit to their company and team’s growth.Assessing where the company, teams, and individuals are within the CVF quadrants is a great start and taking steps to building a team with complementing perspectives will be key to driving long-term innovation.

Via: Smashing Magazine


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