6 Lessons You Learn in the First 6 Months Designing for IBM

In late July 2016, I began my exciting career as a UX Designer at IBM in Austin, TX. In the six short months that followed, I participated in IBM’s three-month Design & Offering Management Bootcamp, helped facilitate recruiting events and Design Thinking workshops, started on my full-time product team, co-filed a patent disclosure, and am now heading up design for IBM’s signature email platform, Verse, on Android. It’s been a wild ride and I’ve learned a ton — here are six quick lessons I learned along the way…

1. Fail Fast. Fail Early.

The notion of failing at all can trip up even the most confident of new hires. Rarely does failing in any capacity seem like an acceptable method for success, but at IBM Design, it is part of the process. Failing fast and failing early is essential to good design. You have to know what doesn’t work in order to really appreciate what does (and why it does).

When you fail fast, you’re trying something new and exciting. You’re extending yourself beyond expectations and precedents — you’re in uncharted territory — you’re an innovator.

When you fail early, you’re front-loading the design process with big ideas and innovative concepts. You explore all the possible routes and designs early on, failing before any real resources or momentum become invaluable.

The combination of failing fast and failing early thus makes for a space that encourages great design solutions to be discovered through highly exploratory methods, innovative ideas, and an understanding for what might just be crazy enough to work.

2. Talent is good. Culture is better.

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