Sofa conversations with Lex Roman

Lex Roman is a Product and Growth Designer based in Los Angeles. She runs her own independent growth design practice taking on projects, workshops and coaching.

A speaker card introducing Lex Roman including her photo and peach patterns
A speaker card introducing Lex Roman including her photo and peach patterns
Sofaconf is a stay-at-home conference running from 22 to 26 June. It’s run by Clearleft.
Sofaconf is a stay-at-home conference running from 22 to 26 June. It’s run by Clearleft.
https://2020.sofaconf.com/speakers/lex-roman/

Thank you for joining us on the sofa, what have you been doing during this unique time?

I’ve been doing a lot of organizing around my city and state because our government hasn’t been acting fast enough to respond to needs. Along these lines, I’ve also been working on a project called LA Pays Attention which helps connect people with their local government.

You call yourself a ‘Growth Designer’ what does this mean to you?

I first heard the term growth designer from a growth marketer back in 2014. Excited to have possibly found something that described my approach to design, I immediately googled it. But there were no results. No blog posts. No talks. No job listings.

Can you briefly explain how your career led you to your current role

When I first started in UX, I worked at an agency. We often got clients who wanted to do a website redesign to reach a particular goal. Get more email sign ups. Sell more products. Raise more money. But rarely did they have any detailed information about how well their existing website was working towards this goal.

If a designer wants to move into this space, what advice would you give them?

There is so much opportunity in growth design! If you feel compelled to connect your work to the impact it can drive, there are a lot of companies that want to hire you. I find a lot of designers shy away from this space as they worry about over measuring creativity. But your true power as a designer comes from being able to demonstrate your value.

What would you consider is one of the most difficult challenges you’ve had as a growth designer?

In the industry at large, the biggest challenge is that growth is still mislabeled and misunderstood. There’s a lot of confusion about what growth means and growth design is even more nuanced than growth in general. To just quickly clarify that, growth as a practice is the intentional focus of resources on growing your business. Growth design is that same idea but leveraging design as a key instrument.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on a mix of projects and skill development. On the project side, I’ve actually been working with earlier stage companies to help them run experiments to find their market and their message. On the skill development side, I’ve been running some new workshops for teams. I have a product analytics class that came out this year. And I do some coaching and writing to help designers learn more about business and analytics.

What challenges are you facing at the moment and what are you doing to overcome them?

The biggest challenge I’m facing right now is staying in alignment with my values while working with mostly private, well-funded corporations. With all the news that comes out every day on the actions of Facebook, Amazon or Google, I think quite often about the tradeoffs of growth for humanity. Where is the line where growth becomes bad? For a company that is just out of its start up phase and is now financially stable, it can be hard to play forward the future. They could be good or neutral right now and as they grow, they could make decisions that risk human lives.

What do you see as the biggest opportunity for designers right now?

Taking back their power! If you believe design is valuable, prove it. Together, we can make it clear exactly how design drives impact. When we achieve this, we bring design to the forefront of creating change.

How do you define success of a project?

I used to define success as moving the metric we set out to move in a way that offers a positive customer experience.

There have been many book clubs that have arisen over the last few weeks. If you had to select 5 books for a book club, what would they be and why?

I used to run a UX book club in LA. But unfortunately, I don’t read as much as I used to. Here are five books I’d like to read:

Front cover of the book Monetizing Innovation by Madhavan Ramanujam and Georg Tacke
Front cover of the book Monetizing Innovation by Madhavan Ramanujam and Georg Tacke
Front cover of the book Design-Driven Growth by Molly Norris Walker
Front cover of the book Design-Driven Growth by Molly Norris Walker
Front cover of the book Testing Business Ideas by David J. Bland and Alex Osterwalder
Front cover of the book Testing Business Ideas by David J. Bland and Alex Osterwalder
Front cover of the book By the People: Designing a Better America
Front cover of the book By the People: Designing a Better America
The front cover of the book Forever Employable by Jeff Gothelf
The front cover of the book Forever Employable by Jeff Gothelf

What are you going to be talking about at SofaConf?

I’m going to share an overview of what growth design is and the essential skills to practice it. We’ll cover everything from how to find high value opportunities to how to test your ideas.

A speaker card introducing Lex Roman’s talk including her photo and peach patterns
A speaker card introducing Lex Roman’s talk including her photo and peach patterns

We work with global brands to design and redesign products and services, bring strategic clarity, and transform digital culture

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