Many companies struggle with the question of whether to develop UX strategy, research, and design capabilities internally, or to have interaction external UX firms as-needed when projects arise. Companies must forecast their need for these services on a long-term basis, and weigh the comparative costs and benefits of every approach. But is it purely an issue of economics? Does an external UX team offer value beyond the versatility and overall cost savings of not maintaining an internal team?
When asked only within the context of individual projects, the solution to this query might be “no.” For a single project, the explanation for engaging an external UX firm may remain purely financial. But it’s crucial to invite a broader question: how effective will each approach be at fostering ongoing UX innovation, beyond the boundaries or needs of existing projects?