Accessing Design to Design Our Tomorrow

Review of DOT 2013 Conference

By: Sucheta Shankar, Staff Writer

Design. It’s always been a larger than life term that felt privy to people who knew how to churn out one Mona Lisa after another, digitally or traditionally. Design Our Tomorrow (DOT) proves otherwise. On November 17, DOT sought to equip everyone with skills that would help them design a better tomorrow.

“The year’s DOT was drawn from the inspiration that young people have all the tools in front of them to create what they want but they need the guidance to do so,” explained Hannah Wei, Director of Strategy. DOT has proved this guidance, “from the cutting edge, industry leaders who care transferring their knowledge to young people” such as Ethan Song, CEO of Frank and Oak, Jon Lax, Co-founder of Teehan+Lax, and Mike Beltzner, Product Manager & Head of Mobile at Pinterest.[ I did an interview with them so here’s the link to access the audio file (all quotes are from there): https://app.box.com/s/xwnvdc019t88wuaojbp7]

Unlike previous years, DOT went with a workshop centric conference that allowed delegates to learn hands-on transferable skills like creating visual interactivity with code and the basics of 3D printing.

The motivation to change their format stemmed from a trend they had noticed at past conferences. “People were talking about great things and it sounds very inspirational but as young people, we take that for granted and we go back home or school, and it dies down. The workshops this year were a way of keeping something with people so that it’ll carry on to things they want to do.”

It would have been very difficult for any DOT attendees to walk away without having learnt anything. If the line at the Google Glass booth was any indication, people were excited by all the unique experiences that they could personally participate and interact with.

Having previously attended Changing The World Conference (what preceded DOT) in 2008, I walked out this year feeling more accomplished and inspired. There is something powerful in learning something exciting in its novelty or simply interacting with technology that until now has been out of your reach.

If there was one main takeaway from DOT, “it’s definitely empowering people with the tools, resources and skills to build whatever they want to help other people.” If you believe in creativity’s power to change the world and are eager to connect with other like-minded people, DOT is definitely an event you must attend.

Six months after forty-eight hours of intensive labour, I (@suchetashankar) started to communicate and haven’t stopped since. I enjoy channeling that passion towards writing, whether it is the creative or journalistic kind. If I’ve got you curious, feel free to check me out at www.suchetashankar.com

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