A conversation about being an internal advocate with Amy Pogue Brady, Experience Design Strategy Director, US Bank and a workshop facilitator at the Midwest conference
Interview by Thomas Brandenburg and Twisha Shah-Brandenburg, a collaboration with 5by5.blog
“…there is a huge need for the type of work we do…a need for a connective tissue to make sense of the different pieces of work and bring them together in a compelling way.” —Amy Pogue Brady on being an internal resource
What made you choose service design/human-centered design as an approach to problem-solving?
My first design career was as a graphic designer, but I was really more interested in the strategy, the ‘why’ and the ‘who’ more than the final form. I went to the Institute of Design for my Master’s Degree because I felt like their program spoke to all of the things I really wanted to do as a designer/problem solver. That’s how I made my way to human-centered design.
Being an internal champion how do you build momentum and create meaningful connections?
I prefer to build momentum through the work itself; by doing meaningful projects and telling the story in a memorable way. I also prefer to be collaborative rather than competitive, and when teams realize you are there to help make better products/services it’s easier to move forward. I also like to do stakeholder interviews and send interesting little insights from the field back to the team when they pop up.
What are the easiest and hardest parts of being a service designer/human-centered designer inside a large organization?
I would say one of the easiest parts of being an internal resource is that there is a huge need for the type of work we do; since many of the parts and pieces of the design process have been broken out into different teams, there is a need for a connective tissue to make sense of the different pieces of work and bring them together in a compelling way, rather than simply duplicating the work. It also helps if you can act as an internal translator between teams.
On the flip side, one of the most difficult parts is the fact that the design process is broken out into parts and pieces and trying to convince those teams that you are there to help make their work more effective rather than competing. (It depends on the internal culture). In addition, large organizations don’t always prioritize design resources the way they should, so it can be difficult to gain traction or build consistency depending on the organizational appetite for longevity.
How do you stay motivated and connected to the larger service design community?
Through my personal network and through groups like the Service Design Network; Minneapolis is a pretty tight design community and people are always looking for ways to connect with each other here.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Always wear a slip” (Mary, my grandmother)
also, feedback is a gift, seek it out fearlessly. (I do not remember who told me that)
Bonus question, What is your best ninja skill?
Melting silver into a liquid state and then forming it into jewelry.
Learn more about Amy Pogue Brady and her workshop at the conference