About team organization: have you noticed any patterns in how design teams are structured in design-mature companies?
Yes. They are all made of people.
Not really. Design fills a void. In different organizations the void is different. In some places, they have the technology down, but they don’t ever think about who their users are — so design’s role is mostly about bringing their users’ needs into the organization.
In other organizations, they are actually very confident that they understand who their users are and what they are trying to do, but they don’t actually know how the technology works — so there the design is about getting the technology to do what it needs to do.
This question keeps coming up, and there isn’t one thing that design does, which is why this idea of hiring a designer (because they were a designer somewhere else they can be a designer for us) well… if we have different voids than they had, that person did very different things and might not be able to help us with our void. In fact, if they come in thinking that we’re just like the place they use to be, they are probably not going to work at all.