Last week was amazing.  Our team moved into its new digs in Manhattan Beach (a state of the art 25,000 sq. ft. facility geared for multidisciplinary innovation), and not even after a full day, I was on a plane for a conference as well as other meetings in the Bay Area.  My family is up there, so it was nice to catch them for dinner before heading into the city for the GigaOm Roadmap 2014 Conference.   Considering the list of speakers, I had high expectations for the event.

This year's theme was "Invisible Design."  As the title implies ... this wasn't about showcasing beautiful objects and feeding into conventional paradigms that indirectly limit Design's full potential.  This was about showcasing how design is creating big opportunities against latent unmet needs, and that the notion of interface (if done well) seemingly fades into the background, How can Design satisfy people's best intents at every step in their journey.

Every speaker celebrated "Invisible Design" by sharing their personal stories, case studies and thought leadership.  No one tried to assert a definitive answer of what "Design" should be in this context.  What struck me was the genuine nature of each conversation ... everyone spoke from a sincere place based on their product war stories and the infectious passion for their craft.  The couple days felt really genuine, and it was breath of fresh air.

A few notable remarks:

  • "large organizations are cultures designed not to change ... we forget that the big design problem is a problem of culture" - John Maeda (KPCB)
  • "design functions as an editor ... constantly editing the experience and taking away the unnecessary" - Yves Behar (Fuseproject)
  • "even messy data can tell a story" - Simon Rogers (Twitter)
  • "ignoring expectations, makes you see the world in a fresh way" - K.K. Barrett (production designer for the movie HER)
  • "It's not about the product or business (which may be obsolete in 5 years), it's the culture you create" - Tony Fadell (Nest)

I definitely walked away from GigaOm Roadmap 2014 with a good set of guiding principles and exemplars that can inform our ongoing work.  Much appreciation and thanks to the GigaOm team for putting together an amazing two days.  It was also nice to find time with PCH Industries, Lime Labs as well as my good friend Jason Mayden, who introduced me to the stellar team at Mark One (creators of the Vessyl intelligent drinking cup).  Thankful for a great couple of days in the Bay.

Peace and blessings, k.g.b.