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How to have impact as a designer

Paul Murphy
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Impact is the change beyond the deliverables of your work

For designers, aligning around the big picture generates the most impact for the business, team, and customers.  Four questions to ask when developing a design strategy to maximize impact:

What does having impact mean?

Performance = Behavior x Results - Behavior refers to your ability in working with others and demonstration of leadership within role - Results refer to the quality and impact of your work - Should be well-crafted, recognized for its value, and drive tangible contribution or positive change - Having high impact is central to high performance

How can you have impact?

  • Three common types of work: product, process, people
  • All work leads to an output (what is delivered), outcome (what is achieved), and impact (what is changed)
  • Connecting work (the “what?”) and impact (the “so what?”) drives meaningful change

How can you assess the level of impact of your work?

Rule-of-thumb: the farther the reach, the greater the impact - Impact is difficult to quantify: it can be measurable or non-measurable, direct or indirect - Impact increases with seniority

Does working on a certain team affect the level of impact you can have?

  • Differentiate and track individual versus team impact
  • Force multiplier: a designer who is highly impactful individually will boost team impact and performance
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