Global offices each ran as a singular growth phase business and footing the bill for a design team wasn't a super high priority (read: not a priority at all) even still our ability to engage the global addressable market was hindered. Part of this limited ability was due in part to the lack of design support in each market. Teams tended to go with support from agencies which prioritized other capabilities over design, in short, more hands than head.
A durable, globally distributed design practice will be successful if:
I dug in deep with in country leadership to understand their hopes, concerns, and what was and wasn't working when creating developing and shipping experiences. What I found was a wide array of understanding the craft and value of an in house design team, and great concern over a centrally reporting design team.
It was immediately clear that each office needed a strong leader who would quickly understand the the strengths and weaknesses and lead the office to brighter design days. These leaders could roll up their sleeves and get dirty then transition into leading up, down, and across to deliver the same quality experiences to our customers, objectives met. In simpler terms these leaders are strategists, designers, salespeople, and shepherds of experience design efficacy nirvana.
There is an old adage about gladiators, – that they plan their fight in the ring; as they intently watch, something in the adversary's glance, some movement of his hand, even some slight bending of his body, gives a warning.
Lead from Mountain View, there would be a Principal in each office with London, Toronto, and Sydney staffed with Senior Designer. In addition to the teams in country it became crucial to have a global design / design ops role to keep the squad running where there were spikes in workload.
With inputs, business objectives, and 10 roles to fill, I rolled up my sleeves and began generating leads along side our Talent Acquisition team. I closed my first hire in March, who started in May and within 6 months my entire team was signed and making a difference worldwide
As each leader came in I ensured they were set up for success as one of the biggest hurdles they'd face was that while global offices knew they needed design, they were unaware of the cost, so when they saw the price tag, we immediately became hefty overhead. They were each selected and placed to make a difference to identify and surface inefficiencies, spot opportunities and create plans to solve pain points left in the processes of agencies and internal execution. As they began to get acquainted with in market leaders pain points were being solved. We were responsive, delivered quality, and provided solutions that which swiftly positioned us as strategic partners.