How Live 2014 / Designers Need To Get Stupid

23 Jun How Live 2014 / Designers Need To Get Stupid

I started at an amazing company, Slalom, in January and they have been so inspiring and encouraging! I am thrilled to be a UX Visual Designer there. Work is fun. Work is inspiring. They are such visionary leaders, that I was able to attend How Design Live 2014 in Boston. A real dream and one that I will always cherish and take to heart the extraordinary gift they offered to me.

Today was day one and already I feel energized to be a better designer. To be a better person. And to have fun while collaborating and enjoying every minute of it.

My first session was Comedy Improv Training for Creatives with Stefan Mumaw. As I walked in, it was indeed what I dreaded…not going to be a lecture for all the chairs were grouped in small round circles throughout the room. Uh oh.  There was an X on the floor. X did not mark the spot I wanted to stand in. Shy. Timid and not wanting to look like an idiot when talking or tap dancing or whatever the heck he was going to have us do. Well, that was just it. He wanted us to realize through fun and crazy exercises (running around the room hugging strangers and then avoiding them because we were then told that they were zombies…run!) that in order to become more creative, we need to get stupid. And by that, I learned a key thing and it really sunk in with what he was saying. If we start to stop caring what people think, then we can begin to let go and begin to let creativity take control. Not fear. See through improv, the underlying definition is that of brainstorming. As designers we need to riff, let loose and just spew out stupid stuff. By becoming confident, people can become highly creative and push it even further by being insane…as he stated “you can always work backwards.”

The first session ended and I dashed down to buy the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. I first read his piece The Coolhunt long ago. This is what got me with his writing. You can also find him over at The New Yorker. I excitedly waited in line to have him sign my book. This is when I became stupid…forgot my name and left an “L” off of his when I tweeted. Although, I am pretty sure this isn’t the stupid we were meant to learn. Ha! Nonetheless, I then marched upstairs to watch his conversation keynote with DeeDee Gordon. Always inspiring. And witty. And clever. The key thing that stood out was his discussion of how airlines board passengers. Being in the UX group as a visual designer…I found this to be hilarious and sad at the sea time. He is SO right though…board the window seats first…get their ass in their seats and then move to the middle and so on. That would be such a better experience. It is interesting how design thinking can be the same in journalism and in design. It is all story telling depending on if it is visual or the written word.

It was a good day in the How Live Design world. A gentleman from How told us that we will have something happen…a magical moment that will make us better during this event. I’ll let you know when it happens and what it is.

Until then, happy How Live. Happy designing.

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