Bring Your Own Seat to the Table: How to Design a Culture of Experience

IxDA Atlanta
IxDA Atlanta
Public group
Location image of event venue


Space is limited and can not accommodate more than 50 attendees. We will be checking tickets for this event. If we have no-shows, you will be able to purchase a seat at the event in cash.
Although there is growing evidence that experience-driven organizations have an innovative advantage, and that experience is a key differentiator among competitors, many companies do not have a mature culture of customer-first practices. More than ever before, the role of the user has changed from isolated to connected, from unaware to informed, from passive to active. As a result, business, technology, marketing and design strategies must be aligned and focused on the overall customer experience to create greater value earlier.

Learning how to design WITH users, instead of FOR them, can be an entire cultural shift for some organizations. In many of these organizations design doesn’t have a seat at the table, and designers are brought in as a last-minute checkbox or to style products just before they ship. External designers are still championed as experts while the internal design team is scattered throughout the business, hidden in a dark corner, feasting on scraps whenever the business decides to throw them a bone.

Many organizations do not have design embedded in their company culture. Deep design integration is crucial in creating the best possible experience across all touchpoints, even within companies that have been successful without it in the past. Being the “cool” designer isn’t enough to influence the rest of the organization when there are many robust agendas – the business manager is concerned with profits, the marketing manager with brand and experience, etc. To gain alignment on strategy, designers must avoid adding confusion by using design speak.

A design culture is more than ping pong tables, free food and a pretty workspace. It’s about providing the tools, environment, and alignment with business objectives to solve customer’s problems. A design culture is about having leadership in place who understand and appreciate the value design adds, and who have invested financially and philosophically in design. The role of design in advancing culture is essential. Design must play a part in connecting with others, many outside of design, to influence them and gain alignment on advancing outcomes that solve meaningful problems.

Recognizing this opportunity, Andy Vitale, Director of User Experience at SunTrust, will address how designers can utilize familiar tools and methodologies to improve organizational culture by approaching it as a design problem. Drawing from previous experiences – making strides towards a culture of experience – he will share insights and tactics for getting a seat at the table, as well as a strategy for advancing design maturity within an organization.

This session will help you identify how design is positioned within your organization, recognize the path to improve the current state of design contributions, measure and communicate the impact of design to obtain and maintain a seat at the table, and take away ideas, strategies and motivation to integrate design culture into your organization.

Attendees will learn to:
• Identify the level of design maturity and culture within their organization
• Understand the value a mature culture of experience can add to their organization and how they can contribute
• Utilize designer math to communicate results in ways that are meaningful to stakeholders
• Learn what it takes to get a seat at the table, and more importantly how to keep that seat
• Leverage design tools and principles to align processes, as well as create a roadmap and measurable strategy to influence and evolve organizational culture.