What we didn’t ship was also important

Design Leadership at Ableton

  • People Management
  • Organisational Development
  • Brand Strategy
  • Product Strategy

I worked for over four years as Head of Design at Ableton. My main focus was on growing Ableton’s product design team and developing the practice of design at Ableton. Alongside this focus, I contributed to product strategy, brand strategy, and supported the creation of Ableton’s Brand and Communication design team.

Over the course of 5 years I helped the Ableton product design team grow from just three designers working on a single product to a team of over twenty designers and user researchers contributing to UX, UI, and hardware design for a growing product portfolio. This included bringing UI design and hardware product design in-house to produce better results with less overhead.

Once the team grew past a certain size, one of our main challenges was how multiple product teams could independently produce designs that feel like part of one coherent whole. I worked with product and engineering leadership to create mechanisms that connected teams without sacrificing too much autonomy. After working with product leadership to create an prioritised overview of questions that were causing issues, we used concentrated efforts like design sprints to unblock major questions, then followed these with mixed working groups to document and align work across products.

I’m tremendously proud of the team I built and the work they continue to accomplish.

Thanks for reading! If you want to get in touch, you can email me or find me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Site also by me, built with Gatsby and running on Netlify.

Thanks Sarah, Maggie, and Cal for your help.