FODF: Diary of a UX / Product Design Director


TDA Creative founded the Future of Design Forum, a gathering of design leaders who provide a safe environment for people in the industry to encourage, support, and motivate one another.

Karsten Rowe, Director of Product Design & UX Research at Axon, joined us for this month’s forum.

Karsten shares valuable insights from his career and personal journey, allowing you to learn from his experiences and gain new perspectives to help enhance your career.

Watch the Forum in full below:

To kick off this session, Karsten began by introducing himself before going into three key topics:

  1. Things you wish you knew when you were younger.
  2. What worked and what didn’t when it came to becoming a leader of remote/high-performing teams?
  3. Lessons in coaching: The traits, attributes and skills the team need to grow.


Things you wish you knew when you were younger

Karsten discusses these several principles, firstly, strive to be competitive with yourself rather than others, understanding that personal growth and improvement are paramount.

Secondly, rather than focusing solely on the job title, when choosing a career path, prioritize finding a manager who will support and guide your professional development.

Thirdly, recognize that consistent practice is essential, as talent alone is insufficient; dedicated and regular practice leads to mastery. Furthermore, shift your focus from finding solutions to deeply understanding the problems at hand, as this will result in more effective problem-solving.

Remember that your career is a marathon, not a sprint, so prioritize self-care and work-life balance. To ensure alignment with organizational goals, always measure your work against business objectives.

Finally, rather than dwelling on your weaknesses, focus on your strengths; this can lead to greater success and fulfilment in your role. You can thrive and excel in your career if you incorporate these principles into your professional mindset.


Leading high-performing, remote UX teams

It is critical for a leader to set the tone and lead by example in order to create a positive and effective work culture. Keep in mind that you are the embodiment of the company culture, and your actions and behaviors can impact others.

Document and agree on processes to set clear expectations and ensure team consistency. To promote continuous improvement and innovation, evaluate and redefine the definition of “perfect” on a regular basis.

Recognize and reward top performers who consistently deliver high-quality results and add value to the team. Prioritize hiring individuals who raise the bar – those who challenge the status quo and strive for excellence.

Remember that the success of the team is dependent on the contributions of each individual and that the sum of its parts is greater than the sum of its parts. Accept change as a constant and be willing to adapt and evolve in a fast-paced work environment.

You can foster a culture of excellence, innovation, and growth within your team and organization by incorporating these principles into your leadership style.


Lessons in Coaching

Setting goals is critical for your professional development. Take charge of your career by actively planning and pursuing professional development. Take on new responsibilities and put yourself in difficult situations to stretch yourself, even if it means stepping outside your comfort zone.

Maintain a positive attitude and remember to smile, as this can impact your interactions with others and your overall work environment. Strive to be fair rather than nice as a manager, making decisions based on objective criteria and treating all team members fairly.

If you work with remote teams in different time zones, try to find ways to make it work, such as scheduling meetings at times that are convenient for all parties. Finally, cultivate a grateful attitude towards the opportunities and experiences that come your way in your career.


About Axon

Axon Enterprise Inc (Axon) is a company that makes electrical weapons. Sensor hardware such as on-body cameras, fleet in-car video systems, and computer-aided dispatch software is available from the company. It also includes a cloud-based records management system and an evidence-connected software network. It sells products under the brand names TASER and Axon.

Axon’s products and services are sold to law enforcement, military, corrections, private security, and individual customers. Axon sells and distributes their products through direct channels, online stores, distribution partners, and third-party resellers.

Headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, in the United States, they also have offices in Seattle, London, Amsterdam, New York City, Ho Chi Minh City, and Tampere.


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