Highlights from day 1 of HDL 2018 in Boston.
HOW Design Live 2018 kicked off with a bang in Boston yesterday. From captivating keynotes to inspiring sessions to the dynamic exhibition hall, HDL 208 is shaping up to be a great one!
The day opened up with a keynote by Susan Cain, “Quiet: How to Harness the Strengths of Introverts to Transform How We Work, Lead and Innovate”, which focused on highlighting the often-overlooked strengths of introverts, as well as offering some strategies for how introverts a take bigger leadership roles in their companies.
Right after lunch, everyone warmed up for the next keynote and an afternoon of sessions with the new “Spark” sessions at HOW this year. The first spark was led by Jessica Tillyer, discussing how the “Future (Of Design) Is Female”. In her fifteen-minute session Tillyer offered 7 key shifts in thinking that we will see in the future of design:
1. Many versus Few
2. Functionality versus Beauty
3. Top-down versus Collaborative working styles
4. Reason versus Intuition
5. Profit versus Purpose
6. Taking credit versus Amplifying others
7. Rigid versus Adaptable
8. Firm versus Flexible
The afternoon keynote, by Dorothea Bozicolona-Volpe on 5 Social Media Strategies to Design Your Personal Brand left attendees with 6 key takeaways for building your personal brand:
1. Own your name
2. Be present (online and off) and attend events
3. Listen, Learn, and Consume
4. Creative content
6. Have a strategy
The sessions with Josh Higgins from Facebook focused on the importance of building culture. Higgins stressed that “culture is everything you think doesn’t matter”, and that good, healthy corporate cultures don’t happen by accident.
In Play Into It – Finding Your Home InHouse, Vanessa Dewey outlined a three-step process to help in-house creatives discover and build their in-house careers. Dewey reiterated that in-house creatives should not be afraid to “play outside” of their in-house jobs to build their networks, find inspiration, and refuel their creativity. After a while of “playing outside”, it is time for creatives to “come back inside” and focus on identifying their drive and building their career in line with it.
In “Design Makes Us Hungry”, Thomas Wilder emphasizes the importance of connecting the brand with customers at an emotional level. Customers tend to be loyal to the brands they love and don’t have the time or patience to learn about more brands. Find a way to stand out in an oversaturated market by appealing to your customers’ emotions.
In “Rock the Boat, Baby! The Art of Saying No”, Emily Cohen teaches that creatives can, and should say “no” when their clients are pushing boundaries, partly because by saying “no” allows you to be proactive, rather than reactive by preventing issues from occurring in the first place. And remember, “innovation is saying no to 1,000 things”.
In “Designer Therapy: You Are Not Alone”, Justin Ahrens acknowledged that many parts of being a creative with demanding clients can be emotionally taxing. By learning how to manage difficult clients and accepting that there are some tough customers that will always present certain challenges, creatives can develop a more positive psychology at work.
In “Habits that Hurt”, Eleanor Handley helped on-stage participants break down their problem areas in public speaking and equipped them with tools to improve their presentation skills. Her Golden Rule – Focus on what you can do, and nothing more.
In “Ten Things to Zap So You Can Zing!”, Sam Harrison pulls out several things that creatives can zap, so that they can zing, or build a more creative life full of discovery, enthusiasm, and generosity. Some items to “zap” include:
– Crowdsourced Advice
– The Obvious – go beyond the obvious!
– Boredom – stay curious
– Bad Mistakes – make good mistakes instead!
In “What Persists: People, Process, and Performance”, Josh Silverman highlights the importance of remembering what matters to doing great work. He specified the three areas that creative teams need to focus on to produce great work:
– People: Understand the people you work with and what each person needs to be their most productive and creative, and then act to make those conditions a reality.
– Process: Start with the why, and then build your people layer on top of process framework that works for your team.
– Performance: Always take time at the end of the project to debrief with the team to determine what went well, what needs to improve, and what steps the team can take on the next project to get incrementally better.