by May 29th, 2015on
The HOW Design Conference in Chicago this year really had me thinking about how I approach my daily work and even some aspects of my personal life. The talks were overall very informative, and also quite inspiring! Our group had a great time in Chicago. During our free time, we walked around town and took in a few sights and the beautiful architecture.
Here are five design focused ideas that I’m going to try over the next few weeks and beyond:
- Focus on Innovation. During the 1950s, 60s and 70s, the focus for designers was to make something look good. In the 80s, 90s and 00s, the focus shifted to the person, and it became all about the customer. Designers started to understand people and do research; it was a different approach. Now we need to put an emphasis on knowledge. We need people who know things; the knowledge we have as designers is more valuable than ever before. We need to keep learning, and sharing our knowledge with each other.
“Innovation is found in the extremes. Defy designing for the average. Averages are useless.” – Dan Formosa
- Apply design thinking to solve social issues. What can you do as a designer to help others who are less fortunate or in need? One way is to design something that improves or helps someone else. People in impoverished areas in Brazil can now access TVs because flat screens are becoming less expensive and more accessible. They are able to discover things about the world, which may have never been possible before. They see how others live and work, and its inspiring them to want to do the same as well as learning about other cultures!
How to save the world with design: “Do a little something here or there that helps improve someone’s life.” – Michael Bierut
- Always be making things and follow that instinct to move forward. Connect with people, even just one person, to collaborate with on your ideas. Carve out time for side projects on the weekends and free time to allow your creativity to run wild. Be yourself, be who you are in your personal AND professional life.
“Say yes to the ideas in your head, free fall in to the unknown and create your own parachute.” – Ted Vadakan & Angie Myung
- Think huge but work small. Envision the bigger picture, but take smaller steps to achieve it. These smaller steps will be easier to tackle than getting bogged down with all the overarching details. Aim to be 10 times higher, and work to improve your process everyday and you will grow!
“Exceeding expectations is a minimum requirement.” – Dan Formosa, Ph.D.
- Put people first. Cultivate relationships and build confidence in others. Leadership is a journey that requires a friend. If you’re struggling, help someone else. Give attention and care to others.
“Leadership is like exercise… Do it everyday, the results take time but you will see them. It’s the little things.” – Simon Sinek
I enjoyed hearing all the different talks about design and the some of the keynote speakers were also very compelling! A few of my favorite keynote speakers were Simon Sinek, Dr. Brené Brown, and Michael Bierut. Simon Sinek focuses on harnessing leadership in others. He has a great TED Talk out on the web called How Great Leaders Inspire Action. Dr. Brené Brown aims to help others look internally to find their creative spirit and learn about themselves. She concentrates on humanity, communication and culture. Her TED Talk is called The Power of Vulnerability. Michael Bierut is a partner with Pentagram and has worked on some great design projects. He runs a podcast called The Design Observer.
If you ever get the chance to go to HOW Design Conference for design inspiration and growth, I recommend it! Have you been to any great conferences or training workshops lately?