image of Managing A Design Team Without Killing Creativity - Mike Townson, Order
Thursday, October 6, 2022

Managing A Design Team Without Killing Creativity - Mike Townson, Order

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Podcast information


Episode Details

Mike and Aram discuss how to build a design team where designers are focused on jobs to done. They explore what it takes for a team to go from forming to norming, which OKRs designers should and shouldn’t have, how to build a design thinking community in your organization, what designers actually feel when they think they have impostor syndrome, and how to tread the fine line between challenge and overwhelm.

Show notes

The way a design team is managed can fuel creativity or stifle it. What happens when you direct ideas too early? How do you challenge your designers without overwhelming them? Today’s guest built his design team in 4 months, this is what he learned.

About Mike Townson
Mike Townson is the Director of Product Design at Order. When he started at Order, there wasn’t much of a design or product team. It was just him and the VP of product. There, he had to build an internal design team in 4 months. As a leader, he believes that you don’t always have to be right - but you always have to be surrounded by the right people. His approach to building a design team is to set up the team to be self-led and empowered. In another life, Mike would’ve been a tour guide.

Links We Mentioned
Org Design for Design Orgs: Building and Managing In-House Design Teams 
Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers Into Leaders

00:05 | Who is Mike Townson?
00:24 | What is Order?
01:29 | Becoming a director of product design
05:34 | First reality check as a design manager
07:48 | Do you have to become a people manager to grow as a designer?
10:10 | The most exciting part of management
14:04 | Building an internal design team from scratch OR Building a design team focused on jobs to be done
17:47 | Scaling a design team
20:49 | Why do great designers have impostor syndrome?
23:23 | Objectivity of design: is it real?
26:04 | Best ways to track design metrics
30:42 | Leader-leader method 
33:49 | Fireside: illustration, VR, design meetings, throwaway work

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What is Product Innovation Series with Aram Melkoumov?

Product Innovation Series is an in-depth interview series featuring product & innovation leaders from small startups all the way to Fortune 500 behemoths. Our guests share their battle-tested perspective on what prevents teams from shipping a great product. The show is hosted by Aram Melkoumov, the CEO of Crowdlinker.

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