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Ben Holliday is an experienced design leader, writer and speaker. This is his blog (started in 2005). If you’re new to this site, Ben has published a playbook for design linking together many of his blog posts from the past 5 years. You can book him to speak at an event, get in touch or follow him on Twitter.

All blog posts in leadership

Seniority, anxiety and dealing with confidence issues

A short follow up to my blog post about seniority in design.

These days, people assume that I’ve always been confident and comfortable speaking in front of a room full of strangers or having to speak up and lead conversations.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Continue reading…

The art of design leadership

Manipulating time and space - The Second Doctor

Manipulating space and time – The Second Doctor

Design leaders are still designers, but they design different things. Teams, processes, and culture – Kim Goodwin, Leading Design conference, London (2016)

Design leadership is making sure that other people have as much space and time to do their best possible work. Continue reading…

The mission

Missions are built on words then actions

The mission

Image – nasamarshall

Mission: An important assignment given 
to a person or group of people…

The words we start with are important. I’ve been thinking about mission statements as something most organisations, services, or product teams aren’t great at. Continue reading…

Knowing when to fight and when not to fight

One step at a time. One punch at a time. One round at a time.

Rocky Balboa – Creed, 2015

Something I’ve learned.

If it costs you more than winning the fight is worth then know when to surrender. Learn to let things go.

The fight is simply the argument, the difference of opinion, clash of cultures or values. Continue reading…

The advantage of facing forwards

Sign pointing forwards

Image – hollidaypics

We all face forwards.

So there’s a choice. Whatever you’re facing, you can choose to work through what’s in front of you.

What’s in front of you is the next opportunity. It’s the next group of people to work or collaborate with. Continue reading…

Supersized. Making design work in large organisations

I’ve spent 20 months growing a design team in the UK government’s largest public sector department. Think of this as a mid-term report and what I’ve already learned working in the education, media, arts, and charity sectors.

In government I believe it’s time to go big on design. Continue reading…

Disrupters vs Unifiers

Learning to play distinct roles at different times

skakespeare-macbeth

Shakespeare’s Macbeth: Act 2

I had to ask myself the other week – am I being disruptive enough or have I become a unifier? I think that there’s a distinction. Organisations go through different phases or shift focus, often deliberately. Continue reading…

Good management is (still) a thing

As a manager, this is what I’ve learned so far

I aspire to be a better leader, but I spend much of my time these days ‘managing’. It’s probably the most important part of my job right now.

It feels like we hear a lot about the importance of leadership, but not so much about what good management looks like. Continue reading…

Everyone wants to solve the problem

Here’s what failing organisations might have in common

Everyone wants to solve the problem, but they want to solve it themselves.

That’s how you get recognition. It’s not recognised as success if you’re seen to depend on somebody else and this is buried deep in the culture of the establishment. Continue reading…

People, just do nothing

The best way of doing nothing is to look busy. Don’t be this person.

In the end it’s where you are that matters. How you got there is just a story. People will judge you on what you delivered, and the difference it made.

Less process. More progress. Continue reading…