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Adage Strategy & Design Team Continuing Learning in 2019 

In 2019 the Adage Strategy & Design Team covered a lot of ground and grew in many ways as a team and as individuals. A big part of that on-going growth is the commitment to continued learning. As VP of Strategy & Design at Adage, Joe Post encourages his team to invest in themselves through continued learning and emphasizes the benefits of a growth mindset. 

Learning Topics 

All team members have input on the types of content and topic areas to consume with a balance between their individual and organizational goals. “The best material benefits the individual, drives their purpose and their want to learn,” explains Joe. The books and courses covered by the Strategy & Design Team in 2019 can be summarized into these five categories. All relevant to the work they do and where their passions lie. 

  1. Leadership & Influence

Establishing definitions and frameworks for “leadership” and “influence”. Guiding organizations through change and learning to interface and communicate with leadership at our partner organizations. 

  1. Strategy 

Forming a compelling vision for a project and understanding why vision is an essential component for leading digital journeys. 

  1. Analytics

Deploying metrics important for user experience design, decision-making, and goal setting.  

  1. Design Thinking

Establishing definitions and frameworks for applying concepts for increased empathy and problem-solving.  

  1. Digital Transformation 

Leading organizations through digital transformations and learning about approaches used outside of Adage.   

Leadership and Influence 

“We help clients navigate large organizational changes, many times focused on digital, but almost always having far-reaching implications for customers, members, employees, and stakeholders,” explains Joe. The Team continues to develop a better understanding of what it means to guide our partner organizations through change. Establishing a baseline for technology terms, processes and frameworks is equally as important as soft skills like increased empathy for stakeholders and learning the best ways to communicate. 

Denise Castaneda, Senior User Interface Designer participated in an Influence Lecture Series learning how to inspire or influence utilizing storytelling.  

“I strive to keep goals simple and ensure clients have a clear understanding of why and how a decision will benefit the organization,” notes Denise. She learned that client requests might change when they are given educated choices and can evaluate actual potential benefits. 


After reading “Storyscaping”, Denise has an increased appreciation for what drives Adage’s organizing idea concept and our mission, “Technology Advancing Purpose”. A clear vision will mitigate inefficiencies and getting lost in tasks without purpose. Further building our reputation of being trustworthy, sincere and dependable. 


Nearly the entire Strategy & Design Team has an Advanced level certification in Google Analytics (GA), but they didn’t stop there. Taking an Analytics for UX course provided Amanda Morales, UX/UI Designer a deeper dive into specific GA metrics that are geared toward design decision-making. “This course was a great opportunity to review industry expert’s ideas and put their concepts to work for our clients,” says Amanda. 

Design Thinking 

The Strategy & Design Team formed a cross-functional learning group in 2019 that also included Adage Product Owners. One of the readings, “Change by Design discussed using the design thinking process to curate innovative or groundbreaking solutions to challenges. Amanda from the Strategy & Design Team found the business challenges presented in the book helpful. For instance, the American Girl Doll strategy to sell both experiences and stories insightful. American Girl takes empathizing with users very seriously considering things like hiring development and design resources from NYC may not be the best to create experiences for customers in rural India. 

Logan Charles, a Product Owner, also a member of the learning group had different takeaways from reading “Change by Design”. She discovered new ways to approach client challenges and increase collaboration on projects. Most interestingly, Logan “has an increased appreciation for experiences beyond digital. New ideas for clients to create real-life experiences for their audience.” 

Digital Transformation 

Leading Digital” and “The Digital Transformation Playbook were vital to Lead UX Designer, Molly Lee’s continued growth in 2019. Digital transformation is not just a buzzword at Adage. We approach these engagements on a personal level and initiatives in Digital Transformation are unique to each client. For Molly, the readings confirmed, “digital transformation is not a buzzword for a website redesign, but a comprehensive way to discover new ways to increase value and the organizations’ impact in the market.” 

The opportunity to look at the organization from many perspectives to discover challenges and opportunities to improve or change that will have a greater, long-term impact on the success of the organization. “If the digital transformation doesn’t change your business model, it’s not truly a transformation,” notes Molly, “the organization must evolve and adapt to changing audience expectations to qualify as digital transformation.” 

Strategy & Design Continued Growth 

Joe lives his own philosophy on continued education. He learns from various sources to invest in his future. Topics such as leading change, management, and negotiation were top of his list for 2019. More importantly, Joe puts an increased focus on consuming content of the same topic from multiple authors with various backgrounds. Joe finds, “this approach offers some overlap or consistencies and different experiences provide new perspectives and concepts.” Looking at concepts from different vantages like gender for example or size of the organization provide more diverse takeaways. 

Building on 2019’s learning and education, the Strategy & Design Team is well on the way to growing expertise in 2020.  

If you have questions regarding any of the learning opportunities discussed here, please reach out. The Adage Strategy & Design Team is eager to help.