Dated thinking, or simply reticence to navigate unfamiliar waters, can be the hindrance to design becoming a core competency. This is not uncommon, and often enough, it is the backdrop to why first-designers leave startups early.
In one venture, I picked up where a previous designer had left off. I believed my influence and leadership could course-correct the situation for design to resume. This proved wrong, and it took some years to objectively understand why.
A nascent design process is sometimes offset by the disposition of a single prominent person. In insight, investing enough time to get this individual’s endorsement would have been a likely solution.
If your startup needs help with this, contact me on Slack.