Reasons to be Creative: Day 1

September 5th, 2012 by Slav

Here are some very subjective highlights from monday’s sessions I went to.

Kevin Warwick
Kevin is a professor of cybernetics at the Reading University here in the UK. He talked about how are electronics being embedded in the human body and what possible application and consequences this might have for human enhancement. Entirely jaw dropping and fascinating stuff. This is as close to a Ted talk as this conference ever got.

Mat Berringer
Mat works at CNN and was recently forced to switch from pure flash developing to using html. I had a lot of empathy for this dude. I found myself in similar situation these days. Stuff just have to work on iPads, just because very few stakeholders own iPads… You would love to use newest toys in the box like canvas, but half your target audience uses IE. And yes, you could make a version that uses canvas as a progressive enhancement but there’s no time and budget to make 2 or three versions of the site, one that makes use of animated divs, one with canvas and perhaps one in flash. One important takeaway from his session is mention of a software called Mr. Data Converter . It’s a software that converts excel sheet to a various formats including xml, json, as, mySQL, php, html. This is a funny thing about this conference. Sometimes is a single mention of a software or a book that can enhance your workflow tremendously. One of the best tips for a book I got from some of the past Flash on the Beach conference was a tip to a book Don’t make me think. This book transformed the way I approach building sites or web apps.

Inayli de león
This talk was a bit less technical and more of a lesson in interpersonal communication. She talked about difficulties that designers have communicating their ideas across to their colleagues.  How often we do not give our full attention to a colleague that’s speaking to us and rather than truly listening we’re desperately thinking what are we going to say next. Often we express our ideas to client in a jargon that we assume their understand but often they have no idea what are we talking about. How often we hide our work from the coworkers go and work on it in the corner and come back with finished product, instead of letting them to be a part of the process and getting them invested in it from the beginning.  She also mentioned interesting looking software called Onotate. Plus a few books I will definitely check out: Rework from 37 Signals, Design is a job by Mike Monteiro and Design Professionalism by Andy Ruthledge.

Dan Mall

Dan is an excellent speaker, his talk was referenced a lot by the other speakers throughout the conference. Among the other things he talked about us making client just an extension of our team instead making the a true part of our team. How in brainstorm we often shut down other people’s ideas eve n though they aren’t properly understood by us. The problem is that we don’t really know what the idea is, it is just OUR INTERPRETATION of their idea , but often we don’t really make an effort to properly understand what they mean. He talked about concept of adjacent possible, when two unlikely people may produce unexpected results when putting them side by side. Some good links I took away from this talk : The Genius of a tinkerer and An Important time for Design.

Mario Klingemann

As there are mostly  3 concurrent sessions going on in a day, you would normally have to look at schedule , talk description and then decide to which venue you will go and to which speaker you will listen to. With Mario , at least for me, choice is always clear. He is one of the 2 or three speakers I will always go to no matter the topic. He has very brilliant and inquisitive mind, great eye for detail and process, and is always fascinating to hear him speak. This year he spoke about FabLab they put together in Munich and the joys and tribulations of working with lasers. Admittingly this isn’t something you can copy and paste and use in your next html5 project, but it inspires you to step away from the computer and try to make something with your hands for a change.

Mark Boulton
This was another interesting talk on the topic on failing as an integral process of professional growth. We often get really emotionally invested in our work as we give part of ourselves to it. We often see a success stories but almost never fails, but those are important as well. To fail better we need to communicate a lot we each other become our own project managers, be agile (no Agile) , be able to receive critique, with clients, it needs to be about value not time. Critique should always be about work and not a person and in public. Useful critique is an art and it’s mostly about listening but also about having conversation. Mark thinks it should be done in public, although I’ve heard other people talking about it being done in private as well..

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