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Organization Design for Design Organizations
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Kristin Skinner

Kristin Skinner, Managing Director, Adaptive Path; Head of Design Management, Capital One






Organization Design for Design Organizations: Building & Managing In-House Teams


Session Description:

As organizations continue to establish and mature their in-house design teams, it turns out there’s very little common wisdom on what makes for a successful design organization. Books and presentations tend to focus on process, methods, tools, and outcomes, leaving a gap of knowledge when it comes to organizational and operational matters.

In this talk, Kristin will share her personal experience as a design leader who is driven by the challenge of organizational design in the Smart, Fast, and Connected age. She will share stories on the benefits and challenges of working in both consulting and in-house, and will leave you with practical tips to build and lead your design teams and organization.



Kristin began her career in design management by working at a slew of Bay Area startups in various design capacities, and then took a Design Program Manager role at Microsoft at a time when there were just 400 designers at a company of 90,000. After an initial stint in the enterprise Server and Tools division, she switched to a Design Manager role focused on user experience strategy, and device and services design at Microsoft's Pioneer Studios, which was created to incubate new business opportunities for emerging consumer experiences in gaming, entertainment, and media. At Pioneer Studios, she managed the end-to-end work of a team of 25 UX, Visual, and Motion designers focused on strategy, vision, prototyping, and design for mobile.

After four years at Microsoft, Kristin moved back to the Bay Area and joined Adaptive Path, where she spearheaded its program management efforts, streamlined operations, co-programmed and co-hosted its annual Managing Experience (MX) conference, and shaped and led over 50 projects and programs. After Capital One’s acquisition of Adaptive Path, she stayed on, focusing on transitioning the consultancy to an in-house specialty design team while taking on establishing and leading a new design management practice across the entire design organization, now supporting over 300 designers with a team of 15 design managers (and growing!).

Currently, she is Managing Director at Adaptive Path and also Head of Design Management at Capital One, an emerging discipline to address rapid growth in the design organization and deliver end-to-end customer experiences that improve people’s lives. Kristin co-programs and hosts Adaptive Path's annual Managing Experience (MX) Conference, has spoken at MX, DMI, and UX Week, and recently taught sold-out workshops at MX15 and MX16 on the Management of Design.

In August 2016 her book with Peter Merholz, Org Design for Design Orgs: Building and Managing In-House Design Teams, will be published by O'Reilly.




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