The deadline to apply to this Studio has passed.

Orbital
 
New

Staff+ Design Leader Studio

A 5-week community of practice for Staff+ Design Leaders.

Apply to join the waitlist Join our email list to get notified when this Studio runs again.

Schedule

Online via Zoom
  • October 25

    Tuesday

    5:00pm - 6:30pm UTC
  • November 1

    Tuesday

    5:00pm - 6:30pm UTC
  • November 8

    Tuesday

    6:00pm - 7:30pm UTC
  • November 15

    Tuesday

    6:00pm - 7:30pm UTC
  • November 22

    Tuesday

    6:00pm - 7:30pm UTC

Requirements

  • Currently employed at a product company (not an agency)
  • At least 1 year of experience as Staff+

Application Timeline

  • Oct 14
    Application Deadline
  • Oct 15
    Acceptances sent
  • Oct 22
    Confirmation Deadline
  • Oct 26
    Program Begins

Studio Lead

The Goal

Develop a Community of Practice

Orbital Studios helps you find and develop a community of practice—a group of peers you can both learn from and turn to for challenges (and opportunities) down the road.

First, we screen applicants to ensure they meet the specific requirements for experience level, role and responsibility.

Then, we convene a series of live virtual gatherings—usually over 4-5 weeks—facilitated by an experienced Studio Lead.

What you can expect:

  • Stories, best practices and perspectives that will aid you in your career.
  • Thoughtful dialogue amongst a cohort of relevant peers.
  • Access to an ongoing, growing alumni network after the program concludes.

Where we start

We focus on actual problems

To ensure relevance, prior to the start of the program we ask participants to share their current, day-to-day challenges, which we share back in Week 1.

We use their responses as a starting point. It helps us (and them) get a sense of where everyone is at, and it helps us understand how to direct the program.

This is our first time running this particular Studio, but here's a sample of what past participants have shared in our previous Studios for managers:

What We Do

Collaborative problem solving

Each week, we allocate a portion of our time to exploring those questions in short, directed, small group discussions.

We reserve most of our time for in-depth problem solving, using our Get Unstuck framework, which incorporates inquiry, deep listening and reflection.

We'll also sometimes invite more experienced alumni to join in on these conversations when more expertise is needed.

Lessons Learned

A Process of Discovery

Often times people simply need to be reminded of what they already know, or to take a moment to consider a fresh perspective.

For that reason, our process is heavy on dialogue, listening and self-reflection, rather than instruction.

This is our first time running this particular Studio, but here's a sample of what past participants have shared in our previous Studios:

"That no matter what company someone works at, there’s a high chance they have experienced similar problems you’ve dealt with. And that I should feel more comfortable talking about these issues more and asking people for advice on how they’ve dealt with it."

— Product Designer, 2018

"The importance of establishing and building cross-functional relationships outside of engineering — your first team isn’t your direct team, it’s your cross-functional peers."

— Engineering Manager, 2019

"Many of the challenges that we face as designers are very similar from company to company. Talking to people outside of your company and forming a small community is super useful for getting a new perspective and discovering new approaches to overcoming challenges."

— Product Designer, 2018

"Knowing that this group of smart people has the same questions, challenges and opportunities as I have. Realizing our field is less structured than engineering but comes with more opportunity to self actualize."

— Product Designer, 2018

"Literally everything is a design problem. Career, communication, relationships, it's all a matter of figuring out what the problems and assumptions are and iterating towards improvement."

— Product Designer, 2018

"Communication, empathy, and relationship building with your peers are key. Ask yourself, “Who can I co-own this problem with?” Articulate the value. Tell the story. For your team, setting expectations, delivering feedback, and celebrating wins are key"

— Engineering Manager, 2019

What We Ask

Expectations

  1. Show up for the full duration of each session
  2. Be willing to give before you get
  3. Adhere to Chatham House Rules and our Code of Conduct.
  4. Give us feedback along the way

Time Commitment

  1. < 1 hr of prep work before Week 1
  2. < 30 min of prep work before Week 2

There's no homework, though we may assign challenges over the course of the program which will be scoped to fall within your normal work schedule.

Since 2016, we've gathered 300+ product managers, designers and engineering managers and directors from over 100 companies to learn from and with their peers across the industry.

Adobe
Artsy
Axios
Automattic
Betterment
Blink Health
Blue Apron
Bonobos
Buzzfeed
Casper
Cedar
Chartbeat
Classpass
Code Climate
Codecademy
Conde Nast
Crisis Text Line
Digital Ocean
DoSomething
DuckDuckGo
Enigma
Etsy
Facebook
Flatiron Health
Foursquare
Fundera
Ghostery
Github
Glossier
Greenhouse
Harrys
Harvest
HyperScience
Justworks
Kickstarter
Major League Hacking
Medium
Meetup
MongoDB
Mozilla Foundation
Namely
Newsela
Peloton
The New York Times
Shutterstock
Simulmedia
Skillshare
SoundCloud
Spotify
Spring
Spruce
SquareFoot
Squarespace
Stash
StreetEasy
Teachers Pay Teachers
The Farmer's Dog
Trello
Tumblr
Twitter
Two Sigma
Venmo
Vox Media
VTS
Warby Parker
WeWork
Yieldmo
Zocdoc
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