The Five Steps on The Path of Least Permission

We’ve seen firsthand how much enthusiasm and energy people have for user-centered design after a bootcamp. But, they also always leave with a question or two:

“Where do I start?” or “How do I get buy in?”

Through our client work and our community education, we’ve learned a few great ways to get the ball rolling. Here are some of our top suggestions:

1. Find Small Wins

Trying to get budget and scope and a timeline can be tough. Waiting for the 3-month deep dive you want to use to drive a new initiative, well…. you might be waiting a long time. Find a small project, something time-boxed and tangible and move the needle on it. Then use that success to drive more engagement from the organization.

2. Start With Lunch

User Research is the most essential starting point of the design process. You don’t need time or budget to make it happen. You just need to get outside (use your lunch hour!) and talk with people. Ask open-ended questions, listen and ask follow-up questions.

3. Enroll Key People

Who do you need to make this happen? Start small—grab a co-worker to help you do some user research as your recorder or co-interviewer. Review the results and ask, “if we did this again, how would we change it to get better information?” Who can you show the work you’ve done and get feedback and buy-in?

4. Prototype

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Try something new out for an hour or two and see what you get out of it. We’ve all wasted more time on less.

5. Ask for Forgiveness Over Permission

Rather than asking for the time and budget, fit some user research, strategy sessions and group ideation into your regular day. If you’re given two weeks to work on a project, take the first few days for a solid research and strategy phase and see what you have.


The Design Gym
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