Thursday, March 18, 2010

Disruptive Effects Symposium

Whenever possible, I try and attend design lectures, discussion panels and creative shows to see new trends and ideas and also to get in touch with other professionals in the area. Today, my father and I attended a design Symposium called Disruptive Effects: Design Intersections. It was a half day series of lectures given by various professionals in unique creative fields. It was held at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota campus.

The speakers were wonderful in their approach, concepts and professional experience. The keynote speaker was Jane McGonigal, Ph.D with her lecture EPIC WIN – How Games Can Help Us Solve the World's Biggest Problems. It was an interesting set of ideas and approaches to tapping into the gamer mentality to solve word problems like hunger, global warming and disease prevention. I did not feel I subscribed to the same beliefs and was troubled by the idea of lack of human interaction and physical activity as a means of world collaboration and problem-solving. But, it was a different point of view, for sure and I appreciated her enthusiasm and new ideas for complex problems.

The second speaker was Tom Erickson with his lecture Designing Smarter Cities: Digital Infrastructures for Social Intelligence. His lecture focused around social media and the possibilities for creating "smart" communities, neighborhoods and cities. The idea was centered around how social interaction, through technology and problem solving, can create environments that inspire and change our everyday lives. It was also an interesting concept, one that I thought would have been interesting to add to with city planning, architecture and product design. Since those are fields I am also interested in, I was interested in how those aspects without technology and new social media could impact the way people live.

The last speaker of the day was Nora Paul with her lecture titled Designing for Multiple Media News Delivery: Beyond Column Inches.
I found this lecture the most relevant to me in my profession and also the most entertaining in the speaker's casual delivery. It was also very strong in its research and statistics, which I found fascinating. Through testing, this group of designers and journalists were able to point to trends and usability issues in online media and specifically news consumption online. She also spoke about digital storytelling which I found very interesting since I believe in the strength of the idea and narrative, sometimes over pure aesthetics. What is effective for usability? How do people use online news media? How can this change and evolve to better inform and excite people.

Overall, this was a really productive and informative day of learning and trends not only in design, but in consumer and media trends. I took several pieces of information which will stay with me as I keep designing and developing as a professional.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm. I think my comment disappeared when my browser crashed. Anyway, this looks fascinating, and like it would really get the wheels turning. I went to Edward Tufte's seminar a couple of years ago, and it totally changed the way I look at things.