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Evan English on the future of Design

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Episode Summary

Throughout the course of this series, we’ve examined the various stages of the design lifecycle from research to the brief, divergent exploration to prototyping and “The Review” all the way through to shipping and then going deeper in refining what we’ve created. One thing that’s been constant throughout is that teams are most successful when they’re deeply collaborative and inclusive.VP of Product Design & Research at American Express Evan English is on the frontlines of establishing and maturing Design at the corporate level. Evan believes that Design maturity means having an organizational vision for how design integrates into the various aspects of your business and how the broader organization perceives and embraces design. She encourages design leaders to create ways to measure maturity and evolution and celebrate the progress along the way.

Episode Notes

VP of Product Design & Research at American Express Evan English is on the frontlines of establishing and maturing Design at the corporate level. Evan believes that Design maturity means having an organizational vision for how design integrates into the various aspects of your business and how the broader organization perceives and embraces design. She encourages design leaders to create ways to measure maturity and evolution and celebrate the progress along the way.

By Design is a show about the process of designing exceptional digital experiences. In each episode, our host, Josh Brewer, dives deep into a specific stage of the design lifecycle with an industry leader. Our hope is that hearing their insight can help us shape a better future for design.

If you’re interested in improving the design process at your organization, see how Abstract can help.


Josh: Welcome to By Design, a show about the process of designing exceptional digital experiences. I'm your host Josh Brewer. And in this series, we will look at the different stages in the lifecycle of designing digital products. Each week, we'll hear from experts with an intimate understanding of what particular stage what has, and hasn't worked for them and how we might all apply these insights in order to shape a better future for design.

Josh: In this series we have talked about the various stages of the design lifecycle. From Research to the brief, divergent exploration, prototyping and “The Review” all the way through to shipping and then going deeper in refining what we’ve created. As we have heard from our guests, Design is not a single player sport— it is deeply collaborative and most successful when it’s inclusive and brings in as many distinct and different voices as possible.

In my career, I’ve been fortunate to be an advocate for design—internally at the companies I've worked for, externally with things like 52 Weeks of UX or the privilege to speak in front of audiences around the world, as well as to VCs and their portfolio companies. And I have this sense that if we are to truly become a critical business function we will need to answer the question: how do we scale, measure, and mature Design in a hyper-competitive business environment?

I’ve gotten to know Evan English over the last couple years and every time we speak, I walk away encouraged and inspired. Evan is the VP of Product Design & Research at AMEX and someone on the frontlines of establishing and maturing Design at the corporate level.

Evan believes that Design maturity means having an organizational vision for how design integrates into the various aspects of your business and how the broader organization perceives and embraces design.

In many ways this is about designing our design teams—not just focusing on the output, but more so the outcomes we desire. It means creating ways to measure our maturity and evolution as an organization, and celebrating the progress along the way!

Evan believes the future is going to be less about design being seen as a phase but rather always on, fluid and continuous, part of every stage of how we operate in a business setting.

Whether you are an IC designer just starting out or a seasoned design manager, I hope this conversation will inspire you to think about where and how you can contribute to the growth and maturation of design. Let’s dive in.

Evan: Yeah, so I currently live in Brooklyn. I have worked for American Express. Now for 10 years. Current role is, is leading a really fantastic design and user research team within our membership digital product group. But my path into design and research was a bit organic and not so linear, but I was an English major, ended up in book publishing and then found myself in the complete opposite industry at American Express.

I started in product management at AMEX and was always a big advocate for design and how critical it was towards building good products. And, you know, as we were going through our digital transformation and there were lots of different product leaders experimenting with bringing design in house and yeah, over time we just organically became a unit. And about two years ago, I officially jumped into this role. I think I, you know, ultimately always had a passion for it and I think I was always a big advocate and voice for design within the company. So ultimately that's how I ended up in this role. What we're responsible for at the end of the day is the membership digital experiences.

So I lead a team, like I said, who's responsible for, uh, the American Express mobile app, um, parts of amex.com. The part where when you log in. So officially a customer with us, uh, as well as some of our push channel experiences.

Josh: Awesome. That's not a small amount of surface area that you are responsible for.

Evan: Yeah, but it's cool because it's, it's very end to end. Right. I think it's, it's complex for sure. Um, but I think. I'm never bored and there's so many things, different things we're working on in the, in that space. Um, and I think there's such a focus on customers in the company right now. And so it's a very good time to be working on something that's very holistic in nature, even though it comes with tons of complexity and you know, it's not easy. That's that's for sure.

Josh: It’s really exciting to hear that a corporation like AMEX is really making a shift and hat feels like a cultural transformation that is accelerating or that has, you know, is new and evolving.

Evan: Well, I would say that the customer centricity has always been part of the DNA of AMEX. Like I think if you ask anyone, if they're a customer, what they think of, when you say American Express, the first thing that comes to mind is our customer service. And we've always, you know, we've always had research core to the company from, um, you know, market insights, consumer insights, that type of thing.

I think what the cultural shift is more on how we approach things from a digital perspective and how we, how we've shifted the way we work ultimately. And so from a design and research standpoint, yeah. I think bringing user research into the process has definitely been a journey, but it's, it's very much embraced because the company is so customer focused that people love it.

It has more to do, I think with how complicated it can be. And, um, knowing when to apply certain types of methodologies and when to bring the customer in and not to get into sort of an analysis per analysis paralysis loop, if you will. So I think it's the complexity and the culture change has more to do with the how, but the focus on customer is definitely deep in the culture.

Josh: Very cool. Do you have a hobby or a practice outside of design?

Evan: I love to travel. Um, so that was a big, big passion of mine, pre pandemic, and hopefully will continue to, to be a passion, um, when it's, when it's good to travel again. But I'm obsessed with making like mood boards to plan trips. So that helps me sort of select where I'm going, if I'm sort of struggling on, you know, picking an option, I've done this with friends when we're planning group trips.

Um, and so I've sort of become, uh, just a fan of like visually create using mood boards to sort of help me make decisions. I find that it just helps me, um, yeah, think about like sort of lifestyle type things. So I'll do it a lot. Obviously. This is a good use case for it, but when I'm thinking about changing up my living room, right, I'll sort of start to pull one together, but is it for, for things that aren't necessarily the traditional way that you might use it?

So planning trips or planning parties, things like that. It was something I was always obsessed with, like to the point where it was becoming problematic. I have a collection.

Josh: Collection for everything. Uh, the thing that strikes me about that is it seems like that'd be a really, really smart way to figure out what the overall vibe that you're looking for. Or kind of like the theme of the experience, whether it's, you know, to your point, whether it's traveling, like, what do I really want out of this? You know, it's helping you visualize the kind of experience you want to have, which I think is powerful. No matter of what it gets applied to.

Evan: Yep.

Josh: Wonderful. What motivates you to stay curious?

Evan: Well, I think if you love what you do, I do. And obviously we spend a lot of time in our lives working, right. And I mean, I spend, you know, five, six days a week just thinking about my, my job and what I do. And because I love it so much. And I'm passionate about it. That organically leads to curiosity for me. You don't need to be motivated in some ways. It's just, I genuinely like to stay curious about all the things that I'm learning about in my job. And part of that is also connecting with people. And I find that when I meet people and have conversations that also triggers me down, like a curiosity, rabbit hole.

And that being that being said, there's certain tools that also help with it too. That rabbit hole effect, whether it's Pinterest or even Instagram, it's funny. I don't even use Instagram for like personal, like I never post or anything like that, but I do use Instagram for inspiration. And, and again, like triggering that rabbit hole effect.

Josh: Do you find that there are certain things that you can attend to, you know, as soon as you kind of like see it or kind of bump up against it, you're like, Oh, this is definitely a rabbit hole or is it more like pulling the thread if you will.

Evan: It's I think more pulling the thread. It's, it's kind of like that YouTube effect. You start watching one video that leads to the next video. And then all of a sudden you're like, how am I watching. This video on a topic I never even intended to ever look into.

Josh: Exactly, exactly. I used to, um, have that same experience. Uh, now I'm really going to date myself, but, uh, you used to have that same experience with liner notes in albums and CDs. And I would always comb through it to find out who played on what track. You know, if there was a different producer, what did that produce? What else has that producer done? There's like, uh, an openness to it. And you're kind of inviting that curiosity, if you will.

Evan: No, that's a cool effect for sure.

Josh: It definitely is. I do feel like in the day and age we live in it's, it's almost like hard to not do that. Like so many services are designed to like actually give you as much as possible for lots of different reasons. But I do find one of the positive knock on effects is that I find myself exploring things I might not have before. And I'm, I like that. I think it's a positive side effect of some of the technology that we've built.

So let's talk a little bit about design maturity. Here on this podcast, we've been really breaking down the design life cycle into some kind of core stages. Um, knowing that every company in every team has a different slice, different flavor. However, there's been a lot of themes that kind of like cut across these and underlying my motivation for doing this podcast was really to try and see if we can identify, you know, some of the places where design is really working, working well.

And at the same time, maybe examine some of the places where we've got real opportunities to grow and mature as, as a, as a practice and as a critical part of, um, of the business at this point. And so at Abstract, we talk about the shift from outputs to outcomes. And I'm curious when I say that phrase, what comes to mind for you?

Evan: There are a few things that come to mind for me. First, obviously working towards a different measure of success through an outcome that ultimately is looking to maybe change behavior, whether that's customer behavior or even organizational change.

You know, having outcomes against operational metrics, I think is also important, our operational goals, I should say. And also just shifting the mindset a little bit. So you're not thinking about quantity as much. It's more about quality. Um, I think it's still hard to measure that quality aspect, but if you start to craft objectives and measures of success against that, um, it shifts the way you maybe think about your work.

I think for design teams in particular, It's focusing less on like the deliverable and being in this like perfection loop. Right. And, and getting, getting your mind to think a little bit more about that shared goal you might have with your product partner and just getting something into production so that you can measure it quickly versus these like long tail sort of endless loops of design work, that's constantly in iteration.

But that being said, I think it's also important that you have almost two parallel tracks of thinking. So this notion of measuring progress over time and, and setting up some longer term outcomes that where the success metric might be hitting a milestone, not necessarily, you know, traditional KPI, if you will, or, but also in parallel, having those quicker wins, that's going to let you, you measure things quickly.

So having almost two parallel tracks of thinking in your brain on how you might operate towards short-term goals and longer term goals.

Josh: We know we're always going to be operating with incomplete data and an incomplete set of knowledge, but how fast can we get to the next point that can give us enough visibility into, you know, that next big, giant leap forward? I think if you're only doing the big, longer ones, I think people can get bogged down and really focus on trying to perfect something that hasn't encountered another human being yet, without those smaller, tighter loops, I think it gets dangerous to get too far down that rabbit hole.

Evan: Yeah, well, and, and the opposite, I, we, I've also seen people too focused on the short term and getting things out quickly and almost like there's this sort of “agility means better” kind of mindset where yes, we want to be. We want to be agile, but. We want to be thoughtful as well. So it's not easy by the way, but I think just trying to frame your work around those two buckets can start to help you come up with, um, a different way of maybe approaching your goals and your outcomes.

Josh: Definitely. So what does design maturity mean? What does it mean to have a mature design organization?

Evan: Yeah, well, I think there's a lot of frameworks and models out there. I know NNG has one. I think, you know, InVision has one there's different organizations that have put out different frameworks for design, maturities and maturity and models around that.

But for me, it's, it's the way I've thought about it in the context of where I'm at and where we're at at AMEX is just simply having an organizational vision for how design integrates into the broader aspects of your business and with that being mindful of continuously elevating the practice.

Having an approach that's going to allow you to do that thoughtfully and not try to boil the ocean because it shouldn't happen overnight because that would be very disruptive and would probably make a lot of people upset because you're just trying to do all these different things that people aren't ready to necessarily absorb into their day to day.

And with that, it's not just about the design team. So even the word design maturity, I think could be confusing cause it's, it's not just about the team, but how the broader organization perceives and also embraces design. So there's a very heavy cross functional component to this, um, that needs to be factored in.

Josh: That is that's amazing. And I'm so glad that you hit on that. I've seen this as well in talking to a number of other, you know, larger organizations. And I'm hearing this theme emerging, which is that, this, and they may or may not say design maturity, but what they're really talking about is the organization embracing design as a central and critical way that they operate, not just design as the practice, but design as a way that we think about how we go about doing our work internally.

How do we collaborate with one another? How do we solve internal problems, process problems. I've seen the more successful larger organizations are ones that have acknowledged and invested in the value of design both internally and in application on the products and services that they are delivering to their customers.

And so I'm really, really glad that you brought that home and, um, I'm hopeful that that's not just, uh, you know, Fortune 500 thing, obviously it's a scale issue, but I think that the fundamental principle is the same.

Evan: Yeah. And I think the practice and the broader organizational aspect to this go hand in hand, because I always talk to my team we've to sort of level ourselves up with how we work and the skills that we have across the team in order to sort of sell that in.

And not just sell it in, like talk the talk, but demonstrate and show and bring it in when it makes sense. And if you're a smaller company, I would imagine. If you're not thinking about design maturity, you could become complacent. If you're not continuously looking at how you're evolving. And with that scale and growth comes new challenges.

And also the industry is always evolving. It's really hard to keep up. And so you need to sort of be mindful of what's going on with, you know, the things that sort of ladder up to maturity around skills and roles and the types of levels and disciplines you want to bring in and the tooling and all these different factors that make design successful within a large company.

Josh: It's interesting. You mentioned the different types of designers, uh, all the different roles as well as tools. Cause those were both, uh, two areas I wanted to dive in. So I'm gonna use that wonderful, uh, segue that you just provided and go there. Given that there are just, if you include research in as well, right? There are so many different roles. You know, whether it's brand or product or research, you know, there's, there's so many roles. How do we establish some industry-wide standards?

Evan: Yeah. I think it's interesting for us because our, our creative, our formation as a team, as I think I mentioned this in the beginning, it's been kind of organic and so everyone on my team, we it's a running joke. We're sort of all UX designers. Everyone's a UX designer because we just don't have like the job family defined truly within AMEX and that's okay. We're working on it. And it's kind of the, the fun part is that we do get to be part of crafting what that looks like.

And so I think what we did recognize early on though, is that this notion of a jack of all trades product designer, T-shaped designer, you know, whatever you want to call it, it's it's a very valuable type of designer to have in, in your team, but it's also, I don't think very realistic because you want to have a balance of the more generalist design function, as well as balancing that with more specialized skillsets.

So we sort of did it in a kind of prove it out with one person type of aspect, right? Bring someone in to demonstrate the value that that can then bring. So we started bringing in design managers and, who are more focused on the operation, you know, that then our designops practice was born. And then we brought in UX writers and now we have a flourishing UX writing team.

And same with research. I think that's another area where we'll expand into more specialized skill sets because research is just so deep. And there's just so much to unpack there, especially as you think about the broader implications with design and the sort of merger between the research and some of the other specialized design functions out there, whether it's like UX architecture or customer journey mapping and service design and all these different things.

So I think it's just, we've been like sampling into it and proving the value of these roles as we've brought them in. And I think we're at a tipping point where we do need to formalize it and start to, to have consistency because we need to start to demonstrate career pathing and, you know, and just being, uh, having some degree of consistency with what's going outside in the broader world so that if people do move on to greener pastures, you know, there's, there's some semblance of consistency is the best word I can think of.

One thing we have been doing, which would be nice to see, common skills frameworks, which is essentially like a design system, right? Building blocks of different skills, both craft as well as shared skills that you can kind of like pick from. And that helps drive role profiles for us, which are ultimately gonna lead into like traditional job descriptions and career pathing frameworks and things like that.

But it's just internal to us. We've been working with some third-party expertise to help influence it, but I think that's an area be interesting just to see how that evolves in the industry, cause I know a lot of people are doing it, like I said, within the confines of their company, but yeah. There's gotta be a lot of overlap with our thinking about this, I would imagine. So it'd be interesting to see how that evolves.

Josh: And as you're saying that I'm thinking about, uh, the recruiters that we've worked with and the folks that are responsible for hiring, both at Abstract, but in companies I've been a part of in the past and those come shared commonalities are the things they're trying to tease out and understand in that kind of first wave of coming through through applicants and, you know, having looked at both sides of that entire flow, being an applicant and being someone who's trying to hire in someone there's, I think you're right.

And as an industry, we can kind of generally all look at each other and say, yes, These skills and these patterns, we all agree are kind of the foundational elements of this. And I do also, you know, for what it's worth, I think being able to, you know, as a small company justify why we need to bring in another role, you know, if you can point to external sources, a lot of times I consult with some startups. And one of the things that the founders are asking is they just don't have any context in design. So they just literally need someone to tell them, yes, this is totally normal. You know, uh, and the more we can socialize it, I think the better it is for, for businesses everywhere.

Evan: That's a good point. While we're having this conversation, it just made me think of this notion of like, like a playbook, for lack of a better word on scaling teams.

Because if you only have 10 designers it might not make sense to bring in certain disciplines that moment in time. But having something that says when you've scaled it to a certain point, this might be the right time to start the conversation. But to your point, it doesn't have to be so rigid.

It's just sort of general guidance from, you know, now that this, this, you know, building up these design teams, In all sorts of different industries now has become such a trend. I think we're at a point in time where we have enough information that we can start to gather to start to inform how we continue to do it.

So, yeah, I think that the skills framework thing too, the hard part for us, where I feel like that external guidance, um, would be helpful. It's there's the skills piece, but then also mapping the skills to levels, um, within, um, so that's another area that we're focused on trying to crack a bit this year. We kind of did a lot of heavy lifting on the skills framework in the past year and a half and now we need to start to translate that into levels and roles and help designers aspire for, you know, either higher levels or even moving into different disciplines, you know, just giving them that guidance. Yeah.

Josh: Yeah. And so having more clear leveling that's an industry-wide thing to me feels really valuable. So let me shift gears and, uh, ask what, what do you think about the role of design ops in, in scaling design and in design maturity? I think you can scale design and not have a mature design organization. But  I'm curious your take on how those things fit together and, and kind of the role of design ops in, in that maturation process.

Evan: Yeah, I think it's, I think it's absolutely critical. So especially if you get to a certain size team and they, it just does a hundred percent goes hand in hand. I'm so happy that designops has become this like formalized uh function that people talk about and there's conferences out there now for designops. And it's just, there's so much, there's many books on it now because it is so critical. And the way I think about it is I think sometimes people think it's like project management, which there's a part to design ops where there's design management.

Right. And, um, but it, for me, it's this very strategic, very strategic function that is really defining and owning the approach for how we scale and improve the way we work. And with that, comes, you know, some focus areas beyond just design management. So things like people and tools and the design community aspects.

And then in our, the way we think about it internally as well, we also added, so we have four pillars and I think they're very common. They're not like unique to us, the people tooling, culture or community. And then we have this fourth one around craft. This is where I think it gets really interesting because we've, we're encouraging our broader design team. Whether you work in research, or product designed to also contribute into that maturity model and how we scale through their craft. And so an example of that would be like design systems, right? And so we have a very mature design system that's managed by a great team, but in the early days for that to get going, we needed the designers to really contribute into how that was being created foundationally.

And obviously they still contributed into it today. But for me having a strong design system in place has a direct correlation to your design maturity and how you're scaling. And so that craft element becomes really important. It makes people feel, I think like they're contributing to the greater good, and to, to sort of a more, it's a unique part to our team, I think, cause they're really contributing into the practice and how we build up a function within this company versus just thinking about the product work they're doing.

Yeah. So I just love it. I love the whole notion of design ops. So we just appointed a director of design ops, three months ago, which was a big milestone for us because that really formalized the function and our focus in this area. And a key piece to what she will be defining along the way is how are we going to measure all of this?

So back to the outcomes conversation, it's not just about customer outcomes. We want to have ways of measuring our maturity and our evolution. And so she'll be helping to define a way of approaching that piece so that we can actually celebrate the progress in a measurable way.

Josh: Yeah, that is fantastic. And first of all, I love that you said celebrating the success along the way, right? Like it's not just, okay we hired this person and then. You know, everyone heads back down and, and keep grinding. There's, there's having someone whose job it is to really think about how our teams work together, how we can actually, not just for, you know, the folks we report to, but also maybe more importantly for ourselves, how can we use that data to understand how we can improve and where we have opportunities for improving? It's like the design team itself is one of the projects, right? We're always designing our design teams.

Evan: Yes. Well, that's funny. You should say that. Cause I always felt weird saying this, but I was, I was, I've had conversations with people where I'm like, I think I'm, I'm almost building the team like a product cause my background is in product management. So I instantly went into like, like we have like, we have a roadmap against this sort of aspirational goal and we've got to celebrate wins and we need to be measuring. And we do retros as a team to reflect on each, you know, Increment, uh, that we have in our product lifecycle.

And, you know, and it's less on the product side of the fence. It's more about how are we operating as a team? Like, what did we like about that last increment? What do we not like? And how do we then fold those insights into this broader design ops roadmap that we have. So, yeah, it's very much in tune with what you were just saying.

Josh: That's really cool. I got to give you a lot of props for that. That sounds like a very healthy organization. And so I can't high-five you for real? So virtual high five on that one. That's okay. Nope. We are virtually high-fiving everybody. And I think the reason why that makes me so excited is that that is soliciting buy-in and input and feedback from everyone on the team in order to improve how the team functions.

That's the whole that's design as a function at AMEX. How do we show up? How are we perceived? How do people begin to understand how to interact with us, to integrate with us, to, and in some ways, maybe even take a cue from how we're operating to be able to improve their own teams. I've seen that in companies I've been in and in, in other companies I've consulted with, uh, where design ends up being this catalyst for other departments to take a, a little harder, look at what they're doing and apply some design principles to iterate towards a better team experience.

Evan: Absolutely like the, and that it's a good, good segue into the notion of the whole reason we even started doing this in the first place was around colleague satisfaction and retaining designers.

Because we were at a point to where we were still, so at such early days, there was a lot of turnover. We still didn't have a lot of mechanisms in place to kind of keep designers happy. And that was really important. And it's important to AMEX more broadly. We take colleague satisfaction very seriously. And so defining what that means in the context of design was a very much the sort of starting point of how we thought about this broader, uh, you know, design ops mission, if you will.

Josh: That's fantastic. I really appreciate you sharing that with us. Two last questions. One is what is one or two things that you would say every design leaders should be thinking about if they, if they want to level up design inside of their organization.

Evan: Yeah, I think there's a few things we're ingrained in our conversation today, so I won't, I won't harp too long on those. The one thing we didn't talk about yet, Is this notion of advocacy from within, that's not necessarily the design team, right? Like I can be an advocate I'll all the time, every day. But if I don't have a sort of network of advocates who are helping, that becomes a very hard job and sort of lonely. So I think, and obviously the sort of immediate thought is, okay, well you need advocacy from your product and engineering pals, which is totally true. And where, where we see where we see it a lot.

But it's also like your HR partners and your compliance partners and your corporate communications team, like Aziza who helped coordinate this. And you know, you, you need to make sure that you're, you know, bringing them along the journey and helping them see kind of what you're, what you're doing at the end of the day.

And that, that way they can speak to it and they can be your advocates for your team and so forth. So that's a big one. And, but also not feeling like you need to like do that with everybody. You should just kind of pick like a core group of people. Um, because otherwise it becomes very hard to  network and, and bring people in, that can become time consuming.

So that's one thing that comes to mind. I think the second piece is definitely, I guess, something we have sort of touched upon, but culture and building a good design community. That's been a really big part of my job is just trying to find mechanisms to demonstrate that we do have a strong thriving design team within the company.

We try to come up with like a lot of we're trying to come up with a lot more community of practice type stuff, but also bring in cross functional partners into that. It's not like, oh, let's go off and do like design only things. Right? Like, so, so, I think that's a big part to it too. Is, is leading with a culture first mindset, making sure the people are happy, there's trust and ensuring people know they can do good work and grow and not getting caught up in like all of the, like day-to-day product stress and things like that. Like just starting with that culture. First mentality, I think is really key. Um, so those are two things that come to mind, but there's all sorts of stuff it go on and on.

Josh: It's interesting, the it, you know, and really connecting it to, um, the other executives in the company, the other kind of, um, stakeholders that really at the end of the day, if you're responsible for leading design in any, you know, an in, in an organization of any size, um, those. To use your words, those advocates, those allies, that, um, those relationships that you're building, they become essential.

And I have found in my whole career, the fastest way to do that was to get Design out from the cave, if you will. Stop hiding what we're doing. Bring it out in the open. The more you can allow people to observe how design is practiced, how designers operate, um, how the questions get framed, how we identify constraints, all those pieces for other folks who don't do this at all in their job.

I've said it many, many times it design more or less looks like magic to most people. And until you start peeling that back and letting them in it's, it's harder to justify some of those asks that you're going to make. Um, but if you brought them in and brought them along on the journey, I really I've seen it, and I'm hearing it in what you're sharing. That that's a, a real key for, I think, kind of unlocking design’s role within the broader organization.

Evan: Yeah, definitely. I probably know 50% of what I need to know about this space because it's so complicated and deep. I mean, the terminology is confusing. There are definitely lots of myths out there, so trying to demystify and just constantly bring people in and showing, right. Because you can talk all the jargon can get confusing. And also just like over, I that's why I didn't like that word educate. You don't want to be like overly educating or lecturing. It's it's really more about just showing.

Josh: I love that. Okay. Last question. We're going to do a little few future casting. We're looking out five, five years from now. What do you imagine has changed either specifically about the design life cycle or maybe more broadly about how design is operating?

Evan: Yeah, I think it's going to be less about design being seen as a phase or even being like the notion of a life cycle going away, it's going to be a bit more always on and just fluid and continuous and just part of every stage of how we operate in a business setting. Right. So I'm in dreaming big here, but I think. Yeah. It's not even, I think it's just gonna be more integrated into the decisions we make. There's a lot of work to do still, but it won't be seen as almost like a phase in the process. But with that is going to, it's going to introduce, I think, more complexity into how we work and roles start to become a bit blurrier and, and methods and deliverables, and things will become more complex.

And that's where again, design ops and that constant evolution on how we work will become really important. And I think we've even seen that, like in the last two years within our team, like, it's just constant evolution. And that's because design is becoming more ingrained in how we work.

Josh: Definitely agree with that. And I think the investment into infrastructure and operations for design is, is kind of like my, uh, indication that we are on the trajectory to what you're describing. I hope that your prediction is correct and maybe we'll check back in, uh, in five years and see where we end up. But I really, really appreciate you taking time today. This has been a delight and I'm excited for, uh, everyone out there to get a chance to, to hear this. Evan, thank you for spending time with us on the podcast.

Evan: Thanks for having me. It was really fun. It's always good to catch up with you.

Josh: I really appreciate it.

Evan: With that, we'll say goodbye. Bye. Ciao.

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