The fourth annual Hopscotch Design Fest merged thinkers, makers, storytellers and music through the streets of downtown Raleigh, NC. With more than 40 speakers across 6 venues, this two-day festival was full of designspiration and creatives making new connections.
Below are some key takeaways from the sessions:
1. Social Change Through Human Centered Design IdeasHopscotch Design started with Neighborland founder, Dan Parham, who shared his story and passion for helping residents shape the development of their local communities by voicing their ideas with community leaders in creative ways. “We’re tending the community garden,” he said, describing how imagination can help shape the possibilities and then forming the information into an tangible plan.Jo-Ann Tan from +Acumen was on deck next and echoed the concept of making impactful, social change claiming that “Content without community will only get you so far.” She also explained three common problems to overcome when designing for change: problems of self, problems of self in the world, and problems of the world.To identify and overcome these problems, Tan prompted the audience to live with the uncertainty of “and,” and not hold on to the philosophy of “one or the other,” as in Profit or Purpose, Rich or Poor, Private or Public. “We’re being trained to find the answer, but it’s better to live with the questions…for if we reach too quickly for the answers, we waste time.”
2. Animation Can Help NormalizeMack Garrison and Cory Livengood, co-founders of DASH, and Anna Charity, Creative Director of Headspace, explained in separate sessions how they each use animation to communicate abstract ideas in approachable ways. Presenting ancient practices (such as meditation) or various groups of people in new and fresh ways through animation can help to overcome stereotypes or preconceived ideas, turning the unfamiliar, new or scary into something normal and approachable for all.
3. The People Factor in TechnologyJosh Silverman, Designer Producer from Twitter, and Kristin Lueke, Strategist and Writer from Firebelly in Chicago, both spoke on the challenges that arise within the process of design in the high-tech sector and how to overcome them. A truly well-designed system requires the perspectives and contributions of many people on a project, well before a single pixel meets the page.Silverman suggested the power of opening with phrases like “Help me understand,” because “what’s obvious to you, isn’t obvious to everyone.” He also noted that the key to having a functional team is utilizing the right people at the right time, and working in a collaborative environment without ego.Lueke spoke on the importance of designing without ego and putting the problem you’re trying to solve in the forefront. She discussed the difference that it makes to have everyone at the table during discussions (designers, writers, the client, etc.). Leuke encouraged the audience to “join the conversation, don’t wait for permission,” and to use “we” instead of “me,” when speaking to clients to send a clear message that your team is in this together.
4. Creating a Positive Impact Through Good DesignMichael Radparvar, the co-founder of Holstee, shared his journey and explained how he and his team put their company’s Manifesto into action by developing a membership series that is inspired by mindfulness, positive psychology and ancient philosophies. The Holstee Manifesto was called the next “Just Do It” by The Washington Post, has been translated into 13 languages, and has been shared on and off line many millions of times. Radparvar’s story prompts us all to take a moment to to write our definition of success and what’s important to us because we’ll never know what it may generate.