The best explanation on the value of design I've ever heard and other takeaways from DesignForward San Diego 2017.

Design Forward San Diego just wrapped up its second annual event at Liberty Station. Design Forward brought together entrepreneurs, technologists, product managers, designers, business and civic leaders to inspire conversation about how design can improve the local economy, civic infrastructure, and San Diego’s quality of life. I had the pleasure of attending this event and of course sketchnoted the sessions. (To be clear, I was an attendee, not hired to cover the event.)

The best explanation on the value of design. Ever.

Phil Gilbert, General Manager of Design, IBM, was full of wit & wisdom. My biggest takeaway of the day: You could ask designers to create a vase. Or you could ask them to create the best way to enjoy flowers at home. That’s design. The right questions can define the innovation of a project.


Don Norman is rad.

This was the first time I saw Don Norman, founder of UCSD’s Design Lab in person. It’s no wonder he’s inspired designers since his days at Apple. Instead of fail fast, how about we learn fast.  

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Two pizzas won't do.

Another piece of wisdom from Phil. Never have a team that two pizzas can't feed. 


Unsilo design.

I really appreciated how non-designers were included in the audience as well as professionals across the design spectrum. Mark Cafferty spoke about the power of design in creating spaces that will help San Diego recruit the needed tech and design talent needed for a growing economy.


It's all about yes.

Kara DeFrias urged people to take chances by saying yes to opportunities. This one: “Never take a no from a person who is not qualified to give you a yes.”


The power of research.

I was fascinated with Jennifer Luce of Luce Studios talked about the deep research they did for every client and how that inspired nuggets of joy in every project.


Lessons Learned


Matt Cole


Meriah Garrett


Mizah Rahman


P.S. You can get tickets for next year at a big fat discount right now.