I once led a design team on which the most junior member, Tom, was by far the most "in touch" with the world that our brand lived in.
More than any of his teammates or superiors, he was obsessed — he read the blogs, knew the brands and designers, nerded out on their processes and references.
This didn’t necessarily make Tom the best designer, but it made him the least dispensable designer on the team.
Every week he came to the office with new intel, new inspiration boards, new ideas, new energy.
Everyone else quickly rallied under him because that was much easier than going out and doing what Tom was doing.
To them it was work; to Tom it was fun.
“If you work at an open minded organization, you’re the boss as long as you have the best ideas. Because if you have the best ideas, what you say, goes. Even if you’re at the bottom of the totem pole. Truth doesn’t care about status.” - Naval