The design industry is booming. Our recent research, “The Design Industry, 2021,” estimates the size of the global design industry to be $162 billion and growing. But the increasing recognition of the importance of design creates a challenge for design leaders: How do you effectively establish, scale, and evolve a high-performing design practice that reliably creates outstanding experiences and helps your company unlock the proven benefits of design? Well, good news — we’ve got new research to help! Andrew Hogan and I just completed an update of Forrester’s core research on experience design: a series of three reports that’s part of our CX transformation playbook.

A common strategy for meeting the increased demand for design is to hire more designers. In fact, 60% of design teams tell us they’re doing that in 2021. But that won’t be enough. You need to increase maturity in three areas:

  • Focus: What problems, opportunities, and projects should your practice concentrate on?
  • People: What leadership and skill sets does your practice need?
  • Process: How should your process operate and collaborate?

Here’s a preview of what you’ll find in the research:

  • Our beginner report, “Establish Your Experience Design Practice,” steps through how to use high-visibility projects focused on improving existing experiences to demonstrate the value of design and expose colleagues to what a rigorous design process looks like. From there, we review how to get your practice off the ground by identifying and developing existing design talent, building an internal design community, and using external experience design providers to fill skill gaps. And finally, we discuss best practices to establish your practice, engage with product and development partners, and get the right technologies in place for design and research.
  • Our intermediate report, “Scale Your Experience Design Practice,” helps companies with established design practices scale. We cover how to increase design’s scope and influence by expanding focus to new products and services, working across a multi-horizon and multi-touchpoint portfolio, and creating formal programs to democratize a design mindset. The report also lays out how to expand your design leadership team, deepen the skill sets of your in-house practice, and structure design for maximum effectiveness. And finally, we lay out how to up-level your process by creating a design system, strengthening collaboration across functions, and expanding your design toolkit to power scale and efficiency.
  • Our advanced report, “Evolve Your Experience Design Practice,” has tips for mature design practices on how to continuously adapt and improve over time. We include examples of companies using design to shape business strategy, democratizing design practices to empower employees in other roles while also freeing up time for the design team to expand its influence. We cover how mature practices seek out skills in storytelling, emotion analytics, and AI and automation to up-level their practices. And we showcase how mature practices can reap the benefits of embracing trends like open design.

We’d love to hear what you think about these reports! Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. If you’re a Forrester client, set up an inquiry with us to discuss how to apply this research to your company’s practice or to share your experiences and insights for this ongoing research.