Fractional Design Leadership: a solution to the vicious cycles of product design.

You’re struggling. 

You’ve been preaching the gospel of product-led growth but you just can’t seem to get traction within your organization. Or maybe you’ve got solid marketing and market data but you’re realizing you still haven’t nailed your product-market fit. Maybe customers are complaining about your product’s usability but your team doesn’t seem to be able to fix it, no matter what you do. 

You’re not alone: most software companies struggle to define a business strategy that matches what their customers are really looking for.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

It’s time to change our thinking, and our approach.

Albert Einstein once said “The thinking that got us to where we are is not the thinking that will get us to where we want to be.” 

We’re thrilled to announce a new family of services designed to help you break through endless design cycles and shift to a culture of data-driven decision making to design products that keep your customers wanting more:

Antenna and NextWAVE Innovation are teaming up to offer our own program for established organizations: Fractional Design and Innovation Leadership.

What is Fractional Design and Innovation Leadership? 

A fractional leader is a part-time leader with a great deal of experience. They are brought in to help fill leadership gaps and leverage external experience to support an organization’s shift to a new growth phase. Fractional leaders fall in between advisors or external consultants and interim (contract) or full time leaders. 

How does that apply to design and innovation?

A Fractional Design and Innovation Leader will focus on filling strategic design and research leadership gaps with the aim to support product-led growth and innovation. 

What are the outcomes?

  • Deep understanding of your customers’ behaviors, values, and needs – both met and unmet
  • Clear understanding of, and a plan to fix, usability and user experience issues including how to avoid creating new ones going forward
  • A product roadmap towards product-led growth that is based on solid data

Imagine a world where you have a clear, deep, strategic picture of your customers. Not just the demographics and preferences, but in-depth knowledge of their met AND unmet needs, their values, their unique challenges. 

Instead of complaints about the usability and resistance to the next release, picture your customers praising your software and eagerly awaiting the next version. 

And when others on your team start with the one-off customer anecdotes, you confidently counter with data-driven insights: “yes, I hear that story about Customer X, and here is what we know about customers X,Y and Z, their unmet needs, and how it applies to the whole segment… the opportunity here is much greater than what Customer X suggested. In fact, we can meet that need even better with…”

You get the picture. 

But you’re a realist. You know the obstacles to achieving that vision can feel insurmountable: 

  • You’re not sure how to get at and define those un-met needs – you know you can’t just ask customers what they want.
  • Your UX team is stuck making tactical fixes to problems, and the product vision (if it exists), is lost in the day to day of managing UX debt. 
  • You don’t have the time to do the work you need to do to get to that deeper strategic level you need to be at; you need to maintain velocity and keep delivering.

Experience matters. We can help.

Here’s where the partnership between Antenna and NextWAVE pays off. Antenna has been very successfully placing people in organizations for over a decade.. We have a track record of bringing great talent to the table, have worked with dozens and dozens of established market-leading companies and know what it takes to make it work for you. NextWAVE has the experience of delivering these services and has worked with Antenna many times in the past. 

Look, product-led growth is hard. It’s not like you haven’t tried everything you can think of already. Some things seem to get you some traction and then you slide back. 

The consistent feature of our approach is collaborating with you to bring you a program that will fit your organization. We’ve done it before for companies like Vancity, TELUS, ATB, Microsoft, LCBO and Meta. If you don’t feel ready to jump into engaging a Fractional Design and Innovation Leader, that’s fine. We often start with a product development team health check.