Design your design organisation for maximum impact

A full day pre-conference workshop from Kristin Skinner.


As the move to establish in-house design teams accelerates, there’s very little common wisdom on what makes for a successful design organisation. Books and presentations focus on process, methods, tools and outcomes, leaving a knowledge gap when it comes to organisational and operational matters. Yet those issues often have more impact on designer happiness and design team success. In this session, Kristin Skinner will shine a light on the unsung activities of actually running a design team, exploring what works and what doesn’t.


Topics include:

  • how a service design mindset shifts standard organisational approaches
  • organisational models for design teams, from centralised to decentralised and our preferred hybrid model: the centralised partnership
  • the 5 stages of design organisational evolution, from the initial pair to a team of 60 and beyond
  • the 12 qualities of effective design organisations

Specific takeaways

What you'll learn:

  • a new hybrid org model that combines the best of centralised and decentralised approaches
  • a new and complete taxonomy of design roles for digital design teams to get past the word salad of design job titles

You'll also explore the first framework for thinking of the evolution of a design organisation and learn the changes and roles as it passes through each stage.


This workshop is for managers, directors, VPs, leads and principals. Prerequisite knowledge: a general understanding of organisational and managerial matters for design teams.

About Kristin

UX in the City: Oxford keynote speaker Kristin Skinner

Kristin Skinner is an author, speaker, workshop teacher, and organisation designer. She is Head of Design Management at Capital One, an emerging function to address rapid growth in the design organisation and deliver end-to-end customer experiences that improve people’s lives.

She has extensive experience recruiting, hiring and managing designers, and shaping design organisations and operations for optimal effectiveness, in both consulting and in-house contexts, and in companies of various sizes.

Before joining Capital One, Kristin was Managing Director at Adaptive Path, where she established and led the design management practice. She scoped/led over 40 of the firm’s most strategic and complex projects and programmes working directly with C-suite stakeholders in the Fortune 50.

Prior to Adaptive Path, Kristin shaped the design manager role at Microsoft’s Pioneer Studios. Kristin co-programs and hosts the MX Conference, is a keynote speaker at DMI, has spoken at UX Week and teaches workshops at MX15, MX16 and the 2017 O’Reilly Design Conference. She is co-author of Org Design for Design Orgs: Building and Managing In-House Design Teams, published in September 2016 by O’Reilly.

For more, keep up with Kristin at or on Twitter as @bettay.