Contextualizing Design Innovation with a real-world example comprised of DesignOps and Design Systems.

A person wearing a long flowing cape raises their fist in triumph.
A person wearing a long flowing cape raises their fist in triumph.
Are your heroes wearing capes?

For an introduction to Design Innovation as a necessary catalyst for Design maturity, please read part 1 of this series first.

I’m on board with innovation. Now what?

Last time we spoke, we discussed that launching an internal investigation is a critical first-step in your mission to upgrading the practice of Design in your company:


A trajectory of growth for Design as a practice, using innovation as a necessary catalyst.

An illustration of a rocket taking off.
An illustration of a rocket taking off.
It’s time for an update: Now? Remind me later?

Quote by Jared Spool, UX leader and educator, from whom the maturity model is referenced.

This article places Jared’s model within the context of any organization in which Design is (present and) blocked from moving forward due to inevitable hurdles.

The humblest of beginnings

Welcome to the UX Dark Ages. There is no real concept of Design for User Experience, instead the emphasis is on getting…


Is your digital product evolving rapidly? Are your product teams inundated by a backlog of maintenance work? Are your design and development efforts lacking collaboration? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time for you to consider implementing a Design System. A Design System is the best way to scale your brand’s digital products and optimize team workflows for sustained efficiency.

For an introduction to Design Systems, please read part 1 of this series first.

The ongoing evolution of digital products has prompted the need to establish workflow efficiencies, especially when it comes to design…


Is your brand’s Styleguide just a PDF in high circulation? Do your digital products suffer from inconsistent design standards? Are your product teams spending too much time recreating the same buttons and text links that appear everywhere? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time to implement a Design System. A Design System is the best way to scale your brand’s digital products and optimize team workflows for sustained efficiency.

Quote by Nathan Curtis, EightShapes.

Let’s start with a simple analogy…

Building a castle out of LEGO bricks

A beautifully detailed castle made out of LEGO bricks set outside in nature so that it resembles a real castle.
A beautifully detailed castle made out of LEGO bricks set outside in nature so that it resembles a real castle.
Look closer, it’s actually made of LEGO bricks (image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay).

Imagine trying to build a castle from a variety…


Friendly reminders on protocol for non-designers participating in usability testing as passive observers (aka clients).

Photograph showing a person using a smart phone in a meeting room with others present.
Photograph showing a person using a smart phone in a meeting room with others present.
Respecting protocol for usability testing is fundamental.

Every once in a while, members of your internal or client team will get super-jazzed to sit in on your usability testing sessions. Sometimes they’ll even start co-facilitating.

So what’s the problem?

Not everyone understands the importance of test protocol like we do as designers. This had become apparent across several sessions that I’ve facilitated, and if you’re a designer reading this, I’m sure you can relate. …


How to make service design work for you and your customers.

What it means to be customer-centric

In a nutshell, a customer-centric approach to design is about realizing that what you’re creating is not about what you think it should be. It’s about what somebody else, the customer, needs. It’s also a way to ensure that you’re anticipating customer needs based on an understanding of the user’s journey — meet them where they are.

The rise of Service Design

We are moving towards a Service Design model, where our research efforts consider the holistic experience — not just a product or a singular solution. …

Harjot Bal

CX & UX | Product & Service Design | Research & Strategy | DesignOps & Design Systems

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