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The Designer Role in a Startup (Fearless x Founders Factory Africa, Sep 2020)


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“Designers are core players in the startup ecosystem. The challenge has been understanding the role itself as well as proving the ROI to founders.” ~ Lewis Ngugi

Celebrating Design in the African startup ecosystem .

Design is central to the revolution and growth of the African startup ecosystem. At FFA, we want to celebrate Design influence within startups and organisations.

Talking about how design is helping startups in Africa change the narrative of innovation on the continent through these inspiring talks.

Published in: Design
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The Designer Role in a Startup (Fearless x Founders Factory Africa, Sep 2020)

  1. 1. The designer role in a startup #hatchbyffadesignmonth #thefearlesscommunity
  2. 2. Lewis Kang'ethe Ngugi Lewis Kang'ethe Ngugi ngeshlew @ngeshlew #thefearlesscommunity
  3. 3. Startups (design) in Africa InvestBambooPaystack Helium Health
  4. 4. Startups today How do you build design in an organisation that has never had a design team before, what are the challenges and what are the hacks? NEA's 2016 Future of Design Survey highlighted that the key characteristics of a ‘design-centric’ organization 1. Design integrated across multiple areas 2. User-Centricity 3. Dedicated Design Team 4. Designers as part of C-Level or Executive team 5. Founder who is a designer 6. Equal ratio of Designers to Engineers By level of importance: Source: NEA: The Future of Design in Startups 2016 Survey Results
  5. 5. How do you build design in an organisation that has never had a design team before, what are the challenges and what are the hacks? NEA's 2017 Future of Design survey, 95% of all respondents believe that designers in technology startups need to be involved directly in the business side. What this tells us is that the role of design in any organization today is changing significantly. Designers now have greater opportunities to influence the success or failure of a business. Design is becoming a key differentiator for companies to acquire funding, press coverage, and loyal users. Source: Future of Design in Startups: Survey Results 2017 Design today
  6. 6. Design fails 1 2 Customer could abandon your website, the numbers hover around 15–30% for a bad user experience. 91% of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews, and 84% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Low Search Engine Rankings Negative Brand Perception 3 Website UX issues such as performance, accessibility, mobile friendliness, page speed e.t.c all constitute a huge component of ranking factors. Website Abandonment 4 Users will not think twice before abandoning a product or app which causes them frustration. Competitive Disadvantage Startups fails 1 Tunnel vision and not gathering user feedback are fatal flaws for most tech startups. Ignoring customers (9) 2 Knowing your target audience & knowing how to get their attention & convert them to leads & ultimately customers is most important skills of a successful business. Poor marketing (8) 3 Bad things happen when you ignore what a users wants and need, whether consciously or accidentally. User unfriendly product (6) 4 While obsessing over the competition is not healthy, ignoring them was also a recipe for failure in 19% of the startup failures. Get outcompeted (4) Source: CBINSIGHTS: The Top 20 Reasons Startups Fail What's the problem here?
  7. 7. The 300 million dollar button Spool worked on a major eCommerce site with a typical login form as part of the checkout process. When users had filled their shopping carts and were looking to pay, they were presented with a simple form asking for email address and password with buttons for login, register, and forgot password. First-time customers were hesitant to click “Register” because they were afraid of marketing messaging and entering personal information, despite not knowing what registering would actually involve. Spool found that 45% of all customers had multiple registrations in the system, and there were 160,000 “Forgot Password” requests a day—75% of which did not result in a subsequent purchase. All the team had to do was replace the “Register” button and put a “Continue” button with a disclaimer that creating an account was not necessary to make a purchase. The number of customers purchasing skyrocketed by 45%, resulting in $15 million the first month. Over the course of the year, that one tiny design change resulted in $300 million in new revenue. Even the tiniest-seeming elements of design can have a huge trickle-down impact on profitability. How did it work out? Design from day one?
  8. 8. Dear Designers...
  9. 9. Visual Designer Brand Designer Conversation Designer MarCom Designer Product Designer Leadership You wear many hats and naturally become a multidisciplinary designer What does it mean to be a designer in a startup?
  10. 10. Hacks to succeed as a designer? Prioritize You will get requests from everyone Learn to say NO! Using Prioritization Matrices to Inform Design Decisions Be a generalist Become the everything designer if you want to be a great startup designer to fill needs as they arise (broaden your design skills). You will own the design for these big projects from start to finish Consistent User Research & analytics Capture behavioral data, the basis for evidence-driven design decision. Sheds light on what people actually do with a product, which can be substantially different from what they say they do with it. Create a design process Startup fails as they rush the product to the market without proper research, strategy, & testing.investing months in production without thinking of customer satisfaction. As a designer in a startup, you have to move fast as well by having a process. View book View book View book View book
  11. 11. Hacks to succeed as a designer? Communication Asking the right questions & Always have a why. Tim Brown, the CEO of IDEO, says leaders may not have all the answers, but need to ask the right kinds of questions. Knowledge transfer Document your processes and deliverables. Document all decisions. Network with other designers Attend meetups, conferences, AMA and other networking sessions virtually. Ask for what you need Nobody can read your mind. Not your coworkers, not your friends, not your partner, and especially not your boss. It’s good to have a sounding board before you talk to your boss, where a mood swing might have larger implications than it deserves. View book View book Meetup View book
  12. 12. Hacks to succeed as a designer? Prove ROI of your design work Understand the business acumen & which metrics matter. Startups trust results they can measure (preferably in dollars). Saying that a design has increased conversions by 200% is brilliant. Attaching a number to something makes entrepreneurs (and, yes, designers, too) feel better about the problem being addressed. View book
  13. 13. I promise, it's true! Greatest Hack of all time!
  14. 14. Dear Founders...
  15. 15. Startups can use Agencies 1. Branding 2. Marketing / creative campaign design 3. Packaging design 4. Product design Creative agency DesignStudio developed Airbnb’s new logo
  16. 16. If you are a Founder Be involved ● In design decisions and support design as a key pillar of the company. ● In regular design reviews Build a diverse team ● Perspectives that are shaped by gender, race, ethnicity, religion, culture and life experiences ● Grew up in a rural vs urban vs suburban area, associates vs bachelors, etc Designers switch jobs ● Concerned about lack of career growth ● Leadership team didn't understand value of design Hire the right designers ● Entrepreneurial: resourceful and willing to experiment ● Curious, motivated, and humble ● Natural leaders
  17. 17. Everyone is a designer - Tim Brown: "Design is everywhere, inevitably everyone is a designer" - Don Norman: "We are all designers. We manipulate the environment, the better to serve our needs. We select what items to own, which to have around us. We build, buy, arrange and restructure: all this is a form of design." - Daniel Burka: "Whether you like it or not, whether you approve it or not, people outside of your design team are making significant design choices that affect your customers in important ways. They are designing your product. They are designers."
  18. 18. Useful links Community sign up page: MBA for designers 5 steps to a hypothesis-driven design process Pick tools wisely UX Coffee Hours Amazing Design People List Other books Practice Product Design Skills Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World--and Why Things Are Better Than You Think orld-Things-Better/
  19. 19. Fearless Fearlesstalent _fearlesstalent @_FearlessTalent #thefearlesscommunity
  20. 20. Thank you for joining us !