top of page
  • Daniel Ling

How Might We Assess and Evaluate Design Skills? 3 Parts of a Designer Explained

Updated: Feb 2


Daniel Ling in boardroom with designers; How might we assess and evaluate designers?

Daniel Ling in boardroom with designers; How might we assess and evaluate designers?



How to Assess and Evaluate Design Skills in Designers?


So I have been in design practice for the past 15 years - I have worked with many designers, I have trained professionals to become designers and I have been leading design teams as well. I can tell you the number one thing that a LEADER and a TEAM PLAYER need to know.


How to evaluate ourselves?

How might we assess and evaluate design skills in designers?

How do we know if a designer is good?

How do we know if a designer has gaps?

How do work together to bridge those gaps?


Since last year, there’s suddenly a light bulb that came to me- a moment of self -actualization.. and that suddenly it all becomes very clear..


I’m really excited to share because it will really 10x your self awareness and also your appreciation of each other in the organisation! 🎉


I want to straight on establish that there are the 3 parts of a designer- Design Doing, Design Thinking AND Design BEING. And these basically represent 3 aspect of a designer- skills, mindset and traits.


As we evaluate ourselves and our team:


All designers are unique in their own ways. Designers are more than their skills.


What are their mindsets?

Why do we need to identify their mindsets?

What are their traits?

Why do we need to identify their traits?



3 Parts of Designer: Explained


As I recap- there are 3 parts of a designer- Design Doing, Design Thinking AND Design BEING. And these basically represent 3 aspect of a designer- skills, mindset and traits.


Now, what does it all mean?


Imagine if you were to bring a team of soldiers to a battlefield, could you spend one min to write down what is one key skill, one key mindset and one key trait of the team that you bring to win a battle?



One key mindset to bring a soldier to battefield is the winning mentality!

One key mindset to bring a soldier to battefield is the winning mentality!



Skills you need?

  • Shooting / Aiming Skills

  • Medical Support Skills

  • Communication Skills

Mindset you need?

  • Winning Mentality

  • Tactical Ability and Know-how

  • Survival Mentality

Traits you need?

  • Never Give Up

  • Trustworthy

  • Team Before Self

Now what applies to soldiers- will apply to designers. 🧑🏻‍💻


I have a set of 15 skills, mindsets and traits of a designer that will be key ingredients of a successful professional- of course my focus will be on traits!



1. Key Skills of Designer: Design Doing

In my design leadership- here are the top 5 key skills of Design Doing:


  1. Functional Research Skills- Establish discovery of customer and context insights through research

  2. Problem-Solving and UX Skills- Facilitate and frame problems and UX journeys through discussions and workshops

  3. UI Craft / Design Integrity-  Execute information architecture and design solutions to deliver simplicity, usefulness and delight and overall fit for development

  4. Project Management-  Organize, project-plan and time-manage all projects and deliverables

  5. Delivery Management-  Ensure smooth delivery of design requirements and clarified clearly to both stakeholders and developers

These are functional skills- which are bread and butter of all design operations.

In order run a design team smoothly, these skills are baseline competencies that every member should have.


If there are any gaps in competencies, immediately deal with it.


Discover the gaps.

Train them.

Share knowledge.

Upskill them.

Make them learn from others.  


DESIGN DOING is extremely easy to spot and deal with it for your team. 💪🏻


_________________________________________


Order FREE Design Thinking Guide Book- Learn how to problem-solve, creative and innovative in the digital transformation, impress your boss and get you promoted

_________________________________________



2. Key Mindsets of Designer: Design Thinking


Apart from 5 skills of Design Doing- here are the top 5 key mindsets of Design Thinking:


  1. Empathy / Customer-centricity- Establish empathy and voice of customers among team members and stakeholders

  2. Collaboration / Stakeholder Mgt- Establish collaboration and team-work through accountability, ownership and communication. 

  3. Outside-in / Innovation- Adopt learner’s mindset of dare-to-try, innovate and be creative to push to the next level 

  4. Data / Success-driven- Establish data feedback to deliver informed design decisions and measure success

  5. Productivity / Efficiency- Retrospect productivity and efficiency to create reusable design patterns, tools and templates 

From my experience, Design Thinking is what sets apart good designers from great designers on a working competency perspective. It elevates a designer to start thinking more like a stakeholder, a problem-solver and a business strategist.


There are many times that these are the mindsets that I will spot to elevate designers to team leads as they will:


Raise design value.

Influence stakeholders.

Push higher standards.

Bring business focus.

Elevate customer purpose.




3. Key Traits of Designer: Design Being


Third part of a designer is Design Being. 🙌🏻


Other than Design Doing and Design Thinking- which are the skills and mindsets, Design Being is a set of traits of a designer that is often overlooked in the make-up of a designer- but yet it represents the most unique individualism and journey of any designer that makes one different.


As a design leader- you look out more than skills and mindsets in every designer- and those traits that he/she have:


It contains your strengths and weaknesses in character.

It builds belief systems.

It shapes how he/she perceive and judge things.

It defines how he/she think and feel about situations. 

It represents aspirations and goals.

It makes up likes and dislikes.


Having a team with good traits will create good trust, team spirit and camaraderie as a whole, while individually- there will be stronger self-leadership, growth mindset and motivation. 🤲🏻 💕 💪🏻


 Here are the top 5 key traits of Design Being:


  1. Disclosure- Create sense of trust, integrity and communication to others

  2. Reflection- Contemplate and self-growth through experience and learning

  3. Appreciation- Put team before self and appreciate others for own achievements

  4. Feedback- Able to provide and receive constructive feedback to bring the team forward

  5. Growth- Able to discover gaps, set goals and commitment to make progress



Watch Design Thinking Masterclass 1st Part FREE- Learn how to problem-solve, creative and innovative in the digital transformation, impress your boss and get you promoted


Last Words

I will be adding more articles on Design Thinking throughout the year. Articles of Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test will be added periodically to give my readers a broader insights to Design Thinking.

Check out more articles via my blog:


Follow me on social media:

Instagram- @designthinkersgroupdtv


 

About the Author


Daniel Ling is a regional Design Leader, and certified Design and Agile Coach with 15 years of experience in the financial and e-commerce tech space- who moulded himself to be a “designer in a business suit”- strong in the Design Thinking process and yet relevant to the industry. He is proficient in the digital and transformational space- in the area of design leadership and management, research, strategy planning and coaching.

How to sign up for his WSQ Certification Courses:

WSQ Design Thinking:

Where to get Complete Design Thinking Guide for Successful Professionals?

Download PDF Digital Copy here: https://payhip.com/b/hM4U

Purchase from Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1514202735



Design Thinking Guide Book- Learn how to problem-solve, creative and innovative in the digital transformation, impress your boss and get you promoted

13 views0 comments
bottom of page