Tutorial: Frameworks and Foundations for Research Team Development

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Instructor: MOLLY STEVENS, Director of UX Research, Booking.com

Develop a strategy for cultivating a successful research team and growing yourself as a leader.



This tutorial was conducted at EPIC2021. Exercises and discussions have been omitted to protect the privacy of participants.

Growing a successful research team within an organization can be overwhelming—you must consider a variety of elements to grow yourself and your team, at the same time that you create value for customers and stakeholders. There are many moving pieces, and often not enough time to consider which elements are essential for that next step. This tutorial will help you navigate where and how to focus your efforts.
We will cover a framework that includes individual people and groups of people (your role, the individuals on your team, the research team as a whole), as well as cross-cutting elements such as the organization, the domain, and the research itself. Topics include:


  • What are the key attributes and capabilities you should consider as you grow? There are always many areas to build for yourself. How can you choose what is right for you, and the kinds of things that you want to accomplish?
  • How to build trust with your team and stakeholders? What kinds of habits, for yourself and the data that you are sharing helps those around you build trust and become a partner in growth.

Your Team:

  • How will you lead by example? Where do you have influence? Within your team you have places that you can and should be involved, others you should likely step away. What kinds of activities will help you to define and refine where and when you are involved.
  • What do you expect from individuals? As a leader you’re more likely to look across the team as a whole—but may also have expectations from individuals. What are useful expectations?

The Research:

  • How much do you democratize your activities? As a leader, you’ll be asked to let other groups in within the company conduct research. What is ok? What isn’t? How do you decide and evolve the concepts?

Your Organization:

  • What are the incentives in your organization that affect how people react to your work?


Molly Stevens has 20+ years experience in understanding the needs of users in a variety of domains around the globe. She builds diverse research teams that collaborate closely with cross-functional stakeholders. Her teams of research scientists deeply understand the similarities and differences in user needs and behaviors, identifying insights and informing the experiences of tomorrow. Molly is currently the Director of UX Research at Booking.com.

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