Last week, we held our event with Zopa on the real role of Product Designers with a great panel including; Vanessa Kirby, Yasamin Karimi, Neil Metson and Vladimir Kurochkin. Here are my 4 key takeaways from the insightful evening. 

1. There will always be people who don't understand the power of product design.

In most businesses, there will be people whose attitude is 'digital? That's just a thing on the side!' 

It's important you show the value of design to the business by showing rather than telling. Highlight the processes and the positive effect that it will have on customers. Vanessa Kirby said, "If I genuinely think it's going to work, I always show the business through the customer that it's going to work." 

Prove the value of design is beyond monetary. 

2. Aim for Step 10, not Step 1. 

You can't get to Step 10 if you don't know what that looks like. Having a clear idea of Step 10 will help you plan effectively from Step 1. This can also help keep your team's motivation up, even if they're only taking baby steps, and gives them job satisfaction. 

3. Show enthusiasm and energy

Do what your managers/business ask you to do, and then go further. Show them that little bit more of what you're capable of. Remember to solve problems first and not just give your ideas. 

4. Schools need to do more to encourage careers in design

Whilst schools have now included coding in the National Curriculum, children are not aware of the opportunities available to Creatives, and are not learning key skills that will help them with their careers. Schools have to keep up with the development of technology and reflect the real working world. 

And, here are some tips shared by the panel: 

"When conveying an idea, talk about it, and emphasis its benefits, in layman's terms for a bigger impact. Always bring it back to the customer." - Yasamin Karimi

"Product Designers are very entrepreneurial, so make sure you keep that spirit. Don't wait for someone else to do something." - Neil Metson

"Don't take critique to heart. It's difficult to do, but remember you’re not designing for you, you’re designing for your client." - Vanessa Kirby

"Product managers are key in motivating Product Designers. Give them full responsibility and trust them to do their best, to keep their motivation in design." - Vladimir Kurochkin

"Don't be afraid to try and challenge what is normal. Challenger banks broke the status quo, so just put your ideas out there."  - Yasamin Karimi