Bridging the Divide: Work and Life

For the hundreds of people who attended Kyoorius Designyatra 2012, last weekend wasn’t one they’d forget in a hurry. For those of you who didn’t or couldn’t, here’s what you missed: a line up of speakers, extraordinary in so many ways. Beginning with Robert Wong and ending with Marian Bantjes, it was three days of absolute magic.

Those of you who wanted to look at work or know a little more about the speakers, would undoubtably have googled them already, so I won’t go into detailed bios. They’re all incredible at what they do, and they’re all on the web. Through the conference though, I kept a journal which when I look at now, seems less filled with notes on design than just little lines to think about. Here are some that made me stop and think. And then think some more.

Robert Wong, the first speaker to take the stage (and who proceeded to win the audience’s hearts and sheer respect) said: Question the why. Question the motivation behind everything you do. He spoke of making connections, of prototyping absolutely everything and of inventing the future. He said, ‘If you can take it apart, if you can understand it, you can make it better.’ For a lot of designers today (and I may be making a gross generalization when I say this) saying- Someone has already done this, makes for a fabulous excuse to not do something. Robert Wong, with that one line, made sure that excuse was no longer valid.

Sander Eljenberg spoke of bridging the divide between the physical and digital, the personal and the general and the importance of making sure you’re always relevant. He spoke about the difference between something that you need to have versus something that’s nice to have. But he concluded with something that I think, sums up the direction to take with design today: Customize and Personalize.

Aapo Bovellan of Nokia made me look at a brand I’d virtually forgotten about with renewed admiration and respect. He spoke of brands, but I think what he said was relevant beyond just work. He said, ‘Figure out how people see you. Understand who you really are.’ He spoke of how important it is to create something original and to design with a focus.

Nick Roope spoke of unfolding stories with the web. About loosening up the belief in something as significant or insignificant in a creative process. And about the potency of making connections.

Almost everything Karl Heiselmann of Wolff Olins said was worth quoting. The hall went into a tweeting frenzy when he said: People come to work inspired. Management doesnt need to inspire. They need to stop uninspiring.

Arunachalam Muruganathan. Where do I even begin when it comes to this man? He put design and life so simply: all you need is clarity, not on just what you’d live for, but what you’d die for. He proved, beyond any doubt, that the only thing you need in order to design, is a problem.

Masashi Kawumara showed us some completely mind-blowing work and emphasized the importance of process. ‘When you do something differently, you’re likely to create a different thing.’ His work said what he didn’t even have to: Re-invent process. Experiment.

Josy Paul started by saying: create acts, not ads. Every single piece of work he proceeded to present proved that he really believed in what he’d said. Nothing he did could be ignored. It was all about people. It was all about the act. I couldn’t help but look at advertising differently after his talk. I had newfound respect for a field I’d always been a little skeptical about.

I haven’t come close to talking about everything I heard at Designyatra. It was a three-day conference with 17 fabulous speakers and I need a lot more practice before I can write about an event of this scale succinctly. What made it different from the previous year’s conference was that the whole event was incredibly human. The fact that every one of the speakers had work that supported the ideals they spoke of left me feeling so hopeful. It wasn’t just a show and tell and a screen full of portfolios. It was life lessons. It was inspiration. It was honest. And it left me awestruck, teary eyed and exhilarated!

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One thought on “Bridging the Divide: Work and Life

  1. Pingback: Framebench at DesignYatra 2012 | The Bench Blog

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