Our philosophy was that it should be easy for product teams to solve their problems in the best way they knew how, without a design system team getting in the way. So we established different levels of components which would both help a product team understand what our design best practices were, while also feeling empowered to move quickly and even create their own component if needed.
The key here is to empower product teams to be creative and do their best work to serve the users that only they know best. While it's important to create a design language that communicates your brand, it's equally important that designers on the front lines serving their users feel empowered to innovate in their product domain.
To achieve this vision, we defined Core, Shared, and Feature components.
These are components that should be reusable by anyone and are agnostic to any area of the business.
A small set of larger components ratified and governed by the design systems team and Feature teams which are shared among Feature teams.
Highly specialized components that only make sense in an individual business area, based on their users needs.
By defining these levels of components, we effectively unlocked the creative and innovation potential of our product teams. We had defined what Living Design was at it's core, while also defining where product teams didn't need to ask for permission. It also more clearly defined a process for teams to change Core or Shared components if they felt a change was necessary (discussed more here).