The closing keynote was delivered by John Bielenberg, founder of Project M. Based in Alabama, Project M is a program where young adults come to “drive positive change”. A lot of the remarkable projects that came out of this program began with thinking the wrong way. I thought this was a great ending to the conference because it reminded me that I can’t be afraid to pursue ideas or take unpredictable paths even when I think they are stupid. “Thinking wrong” can help lead us into unexpected solutions.
It’s interesting to come to this conference after being at SVA for almost a year. I sometimes forget that I’m in this bubble and expect the rest of the world to know what I know. A year ago, I probably would have appreciated this kind of content and used these tools at work without thinking beyond the scope of the product just because I felt it wasn’t my responsibility. The more I learn about systems and the theory behind experiences, the less emphasis I see in these methods. Yes, it’s good to have a framework, but I think we need to focus less on the techniques and teach more on how does it apply in a real world context. When there is too much emphasis on techniques, people start to lose sight of the nuances and subtleties in experiences and we end up creating garbage. Overall, I had a great time and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Interaction 14 in Amsterdam.