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Event Recap: Career Club

Design in an Economic Downturn

The recent Career Club event hosted by the CX Collective tackled a crucial topic for creative professionals: Navigating CX design in an economic downturn. When budgets are tight, organisations instinctively look for ways to reduce spending, resulting in restructures or cutting back on investment across the organisation, including design. 


This event was an opportunity for CX designers to come together to learn from and support each other, to empower designers to not just survive, but thrive during these challenging times. 


Hosted by Rob Davies, the event aimed to create a safe space for designers to discuss how they’re navigating the economic downturn and identify strategies for advocating and using design during a recession.  


The event featured breakout room discussions that fostered open conversation. Here are some key takeaways: 


The Impact on Design Jobs 

A major concern was the impact on design jobs. Participants worried about layoffs and reduced design budgets.  


There was discussion about the human cost when organisations deprioritise the customer and the emotional cost when organisations cut back and restructure. The human cost of what is prioritised in terms of the customer experience when projects are put on hold and picked up later by someone who may not be familiar with the project. But also, the emotional cost when departments are restructured and for those who retain their jobs and are left behind. Participants talked about ‘survivor guilt’ and going from three people doing one job to one person doing three people’s jobs.   


Several participants discussed remaining agile in this environment and how organisations could be strategic with restructuring and upskilling or pivoting their staff into another role or team. Restructures are often viewed as negative, but they can be reframed as a positive and an opportunity for change and growth.  


Advocating for Design Investment  

The second breakout session focused on strategies for confidently advocating for design investment when budgets are tight. Participants landed on these key recommendations: 


Highlight the value proposition of the design. 

  • Frame design as a way to gain clarity and make better investment decisions. 

  • Emphasize that design can increase the success rate of projects, saving money in the long run. 

  • Positioning design as a strategic advantage that can help the company stay ahead of competitors during economic downturns.  


Adaptability and transferable skills: 

  • Designers with diverse skill sets can offer a broader range of solutions beyond CX design. 

  • Highlighting transferable skills like user research, problem-solving, and design thinking that can be an asset across departments.   


Collaboration and Storytelling.  

  • Integrating stakeholders into the design process so they can understand the design’s impact.  

  • Sharing real-world examples of customer problems and the positive impact of design solutions can be persuasive. 


The Key Takeaway 

The Career Club session highlighted two crucial messages:  


CX design is a strategic advantage. By advocating for its value, designers can demonstrate how their skills can save costs, lead to better decision-making, and ultimately help companies stay ahead of competitors, even during economic downturns.  


And getting organisations to see the value of design is hard work. Navigating change can come at a significant emotional and mental cost. Communities like the CX Collective are spaces that can provide moments of respite and be a source of advice and support from peers. We’re all better off when we try and address our problems together.  


Missed this event? Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date with the latest news from the CX Collective community or follow us on LinkedIn. Check out our upcoming events in our events calendar.  

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