Alumni Stories · · 2 min read

I received more than I expected

The bottom line, you have to take the course. The classes are full of surprises, but I will NOT share those here. You have to experience it for yourself.

I received more than I expected
Sean Baxter

As an 11 year XD practitioner, I've observed the great revolution of design, and it's still evolving. A seat at the proverbial table is no longer the game of thrones where only one ring rules them all. Designers are not only welcomed to sit but also actively participate in the conversation. Yet, this is where things get muddled, and some of the momenta of progress loses steam. We can participate, but we don't do it well. One way to pick up steam is to understand that there's a 'secret language' spoken, and you need to learn it.

Business executives are the ultimate deciders, and they are speaking a language you don't speak: yet. These deciders make decisions based on critical information presented in specific structures. If you observe long enough, you'll see it in action and perhaps pick up the dialect. However, words, ideas, and bravado feverishly fly around at a pace that may mask such revelations; plus, we live in a world full of shortcuts. Prepare yourself to engage in those decisive conversations that shape the company's direction: learn the language.

Strategic Business Thinking for Designers is that shortcut that helps you know and speak the language. With these skills, you no longer have to be in the room or at the table. You learn the language and practice it again, and again, and again. You get feedback from your cohort consisting of designers at various levels, from mid-career to Vice Presidents.

Each week you'll benefit from current real-world examples of how someone takes on their company's unique challenges. You'll also hear practical personal stories from Ryan and the rest of his associates. Understanding how to leverage the techniques learned in the lessons better positions you to address those issues. There aren't many places you can get this level of involvement from so many people with that level of talent and experience.

Like most educational opportunities, you often get what you put into it. There are thought-provoking weekly assignments that will stimulate your creative brain while sharpening your analytical abilities. I was determined to get all that I could from the course and worked hard to consume and practice everything I could while balancing a full-time job and family obligations. It was well worth it, and I received more than I expected.

Gaining a better understanding of how business executives think, what they need to know, and how to present solutions that move the needle is a game-changer for me. I'm on more sure footing when presenting my radical ideas and delivering the message in a manner that better resonates with my audience, especially executives.

Design is evolving; it's a wave of change that won't stop. You can get swept up and tossed around as you fight to find your footing, or you can embrace the opportunity and surf the wave of evolution, leading the charge. Ride the second wave and level up your skills!

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