Beyond growth, the ROI of content design, donut economics and more...
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Issue 7
February 2021
Welcome to the February issue of Designers in Business.

It’s a slightly abridged newsletter this month as I’ve been busy clearing the decks ahead of starting the
d.MBA next week. Expect the next edition to include updates from my first few weeks in the new cohort.

I hope you enjoy this month's content. But if you're not finding Designers in Business to be your cup of tea, don't forget that you can unsubscribe using the link in footer of this email.

If you are enjoying the newsletters, I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to drop me a message if you have any feedback or suggestions.

Until next month...


Tom Prior
Curator of Designers in Business
The discussion
What Exactly Is Strategy and How Do I Make One?
Melissa Perri
and Barry O'Reilly for the Product Thinking Podcast

Designers often find their organisational progress hampered by criticism that they’re ‘not strategic enough’. We’ve shared explainers about strategic thinking here before, but this discussion between Melissa Perri and Barry O’Reilly does a great job of defining not just what strategy is, but what it isn’t.
Promotional banner for the Product Thinking podcast
The sources
Our monthly spotlight on the people and organisations providing great business content on the regular. Ones to follow, bookmark, and support.
A partner at a16z, Connie’s talk about emerging digital business models featured in issue 4. For a view of trends in content monetisation and payment models, Connie is the person to follow.
Photo of Connie Chan
If you're looking for a single source of business insight and opinion on the future of management, HBR is a hard to ignore. The first few articles each month are free if you just want to dip your toes in.
Harvard Business Review logo
As author of Business Thinking for Designers and founder of Second Wave Dive, Ryan is exploring great content and education options to help designers become more business confident.
Photograph of Ryan Rumsey
The long read
How To Put Faith in Design
Article by Scott Berkun

If I was picking an article that has resonated with me the most since starting this newsletter, it might just be this one. Scott articulates my own motivation to learn about business (and how to influence it) better than I've managed myself. That, and the mental gymnastics I contend with regularly when reconciling this current focus away from the 'craft'. A highly recommended read.
Image of an angler fish used as a metaphor in the article How to put faith in UX design
The quote
“Exploitation of existing business models requires relentless execution. Exploration of new business models requires agile innovation. They require different leadership skills and different organizational design”
The event
Mapping content measurements to business metrics for more strategic insights
Free webinar with Gather Content

If you're looking to level-up your impact measurement as a content designer or strategist, this free webinar with the smart folks at Gather Content might be worth attending. It promises to cover "the common mistakes that content teams make when developing their content measurement strategy and how to fix them".
Illustration of a content strategy process
The thread
Staying on the topic of measuring the impact of content design, this fantastic thread from content strategist Melanie Seibert lists some excellent examples of the ROI (Return On Investment) of this design discipline. I particularly enjoyed listening to Kylie Hansen’s interview from this list, exploring her journey building a content team at Microsoft.
Screenshot of a Twitter thread about the ROI of content design
The interviews
Learning the language of business is common advice for designers looking to improve their business influence. But why?

In this short clip from an interview with InVision, Kim Williams explains why it's important to articulate design accomplishments in the context of the larger picture.
Screenshot from an interview with Kim Williams
Paul Jarvis is the founder of Fathom Analytics, a privacy focused analytics startup I use for my own site (there are no sneaky tracking cookies on Designers in Business). He's also author of Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business.

In this interview he shares his thoughts on moving away from growth as the business success status quo, a refreshing mindset from a tech founder and one that could have sustainability benefits for business and beyond.
Screenshot from an interview with Paul Jarvis
The listen
A Renegade Solution to Extractive Economics
Kate Raworth for Center for Humane Technology

This 90 minute interview with Kate Raworth (author of Doughnut Economics) builds on our deep dive into the Circular Economy from last month's newsletter. Kate believes new economic models are essential for the technology industry, and in this interview she explores how we can shift from systems which polarise to ones which enable positive, collaborative relationships.
Quote from an interview with Kate Raworth which reads, So the stories we tell ourselves of who we are shape who we become. And I suppose it's a choice of where do I want to put my energy? Do I want to focus on and describe really destructive thing I see and make it really, really visible? Or do I want to put my attention on making visible the possibility of narrative design?
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Thanks! Tom - Curator of Designers in Business
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