I’ve seen a shift in the discourse among those who design in teams, this year in particular. The psychological need for validation has now matured due to changes in the zeitgeist of design evolution and history. The focus now is more on emotional well being of team members during the project at the expense of the project’s innovation, cohesiveness or problem solving abilities itself.
Instead of designers arguing their points and defending their design arguments, I’ve seen a new form of discourse seep into the design development cycle this year in particular.
The validation of others points of view has in some cases been placed at a higher priority than defending what is considered good for the project’s design intents. This I’ve observed more broadly as Design Thinking methodology has entered the discipline of Design. As more and more non designers understand more about design decision making, aesthetics, process etc. there is a need on their part to be validated.
This is causing many design projects to splinter into different levels of philosophy, politics and personal emotional needs at the expense of development progress I’ve observed.
It would be helpful to hear examples of this- even hypothetical ones. I would be interested in hearing you contrast the past and present in terms of process, priorities, and results.
Personally, I have never seen personal points of view overrule a company’s hierarchy. If there is a team somewhere that prioritizes emotional well-being of team members over some aspects of a project… that absolutely rules. I wonder what kind of results a team would get from emotionally-well team members.
It sounds like you just need your point of view validated.
At my place of business, designs are validated by the customer. If an associate asks for something similar, I remind them of, “How many will you be purchasing?” But they understand that fact and I haven’t “reminded” any associate of the voice of the customer in at least a decade.
As a point of reference, I work for a fortune 300 company, my business unit has nearly 1000 associates and I have never heard such a thing from any other business unit. But I cannot be certain of their methodologies.
Some of the OP’s description sounds familiar, especially in the academic setting, where group projects are not driven by any one person, and all contributions need to be considered. It has led to some very frustrating group dynamics, and suggested to me that 'no, you don’t need to be validated, you need to actually do some work and pull your weight."
It would be difficult to determine however if progress, innovation, cohesion would have been ‘better’ without the efforts at validation. I think a skilled manager or design leader should be able to engender a ‘validated’ feeling in a group, and still help them to create great work.
I haven’t noticed any difference in development where I work.
The company recently re-furnished a new office though and I was reminded of two office redesigns that I lead. It was much as you describe, trying to make everyone feel listened while making a functional office. I think it’s a difficult task that requires a different skill set than product development. If I ran NPD like that, I think projects would take 10 x longer. Good luck!