Is your company buying a Design Studio? Is it buying the design resources? Or is it really buying into the cultural transformation required to infuse design thinking and user experience across the organization?

Many companies from the social media space, to enterprise applications or the financial services world make or consider making big investments to get their in-house digital design capabilities by acquiring a UX studio. However, if the main target for these organizations was about the design resources, they would be missing the most important part of the picture. Adding resources would fulfill a tactical need. However to have a strategic impact, and to understand the value of digital strategy, design, research and training require an entire mindset change.

It requires the leadership commitment and organization infrastructure to empower the new digital design group to make an impact. It requires people in the organization who already understand the value that user experience brings to the product design process. To a large extent, requires people that are willing to work with User Experience.

Today’s announcement of Capital One acquiring Adaptive Path, have many observers scratching their heads. However, according to Jesse James Garret , Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Adaptive Path, it seems like all the factors were aligned. Leadership, people, mindset and culture came together. An iconic design studio will now concentrate on providing in-house consulting services for its new company.

Time will tell if this acquisition was about buying a design studio for its resources or really about buying into the holistic culture, process, discipline and philosophy of user experience.


This article was first published in LinkedIn – Pulse on October 2, 2014.

Image used under the Creative CommonsAttribution 2.0 Generic license


About the Author Jose Coronado is a user experience executive and strategist. He has in depth experience helping companies drive innovation, transformation and user experience programs. He is an international speaker and workshop facilitator. With over 20 years of practice, Jose has led major project teams in UX Strategy development using visualization and agile methodologies. Jose is the founder and principal of ITX Digital, a design management consulting firm. Prior to ITX Digital, Jose held leadership roles with Automatic Data Processing (ADP), Oracle and AT&T where he delivered extraordinary results on multiple continents.