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"It's through mistakes that you actually can grow. You have to get bad in order to get good." Paula Scher, SEGD Fellow
I have always been an advocate for experimentation and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable in order to be truly creative. I think that Paula Scher’s quote is a good reminder particularly in these times for doing just that. We are all yearning for a crystal ball to understand what our workplaces will be like and how our businesses will need to adapt in the future. I’m guessing that over the last 18 months many of you have tried something new with your clients and peers. Most likely some things failed and others resulted in new ways of thinking and doing.
At SEGD we have been trying lots of new things as well. In July we held our first virtual Job Fair. We had over 44 job seekers and 12 interviewers looking for talent at all different levels of experience. We had some challenges, but overall the feedback was positive and we know that we had some successful “matchmaking” along with requests to host the event again.
We also have started holding monthly Vanguard meetings with new members and introducing them to longstanding members, SEGD Fellows, Chapter Chairs and staff. These hour-long Zooms, the brainchild of our Membership Committee, allow new members to understand the benefits of membership and break barriers to getting to know other members virtually from anywhere in the world. SEGD Trivia: did you know we have a new SEGD member in Brussels who is a female Olympian? Who knew?
Speaking of “face to face,” we held our first in-person national event, touring museum exhibitions in Washington DC along with the DC Chapter and attending a get-together at Knoll’s showroom, all in tandem with our SEGD Exhibition and Experience virtual symposium this past August. It was a true delight to see our SEGD family together again, meeting new members—some even flew in from Chicago and Boston—to participate and everyone responded how nice it was to be back in person again.
Our National Chapters have been busy planning and hosting some in-person events in Houston (“Summer in the USA”) and Cincinnati (“TQL Stadium Tour” home of FC Cincinnati). While across the pond, the Riga Chapter held an event “Design and Ethics” in July followed by our Singapore Chapter’s recent symposium “Crafting Experiences: Stories by Experiential Designers of South East Asia.” And if you happen to be in the Raleigh/Durham area, don’t miss out on the SEGD RDU Chapter’s “Friends & Family Night” on September 11th at the Durham Bulls baseball game!
As we are experimenting with new ways of doing things, we are also keen to meet the evolving needs of our members. We heard from over 300 respondents from our Members’ Survey in May and learned which member benefits are most important. Top responses from members (in order) include:
1. Generate new content for professional development and education,
2. Share inspiring design content and member projects,
3. Lead research and developing case studies and white papers on trends in the industry,
4. Advocate for the expansion of the experience design profession and global awareness,
5. Provide mentorship opportunities for both academics and professionals.
As we continue to find new ways to stay connected, we also know that we need to be upstanders to create a more welcoming and diverse organization. This month we kick off our 20-month multiphase “Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion Engagement Plan” for SEGD, including our national board members, 42 global chapters, and 97 chapter chairs with Brice Consulting Group, LLC. Our desired outcomes of this engagement are:
- We seek to clarify and accelerate our organizational commitment to DEI.
- We seek to build an inclusive SEGD culture across lines of difference.
- We seek to develop shared DEI language and experiences.
To fund this DEI training along with our new website and membership platform, we recently submitted for an NEA Grant thanks to encouragement and support of SEGD member and past President Paula Rees and hope to hear back about that funding in early November. Having that application successfully submitted, we had more good news that our second PPP loan was forgiven, and we are looking forward to ending the year on more stable financial footing than 2020. If you are interested in supporting these new mission driven programs and projects, consider becoming a Friend of SEGD.
As we do this important work across the spectrum of our organization, we are working diligently to expand our membership across areas of practice, geography, age and backgrounds. I hope that you will join us for SEGD September where we are focussed on a new theme each week: Sharing, Education, Gratitude and Diversity. Now is the best time to renew or join with our special new member rate! You’ll receive all of the free benefits that come with your membership and discounts on the upcoming Branded Environments Virtual Symposium, the in-person 2021 SEGD Conference in Philadelphia, and our 2022 Global Design Awards—and this month we are giving away more opportunities for free entry to these events as well.
Speaking of FREE, and “trying new things,” we have launched our SEGD Youtube Channel, where you can find newly posted Branded Environment amongst other SEGDtalks to get you in the mindset for our 2021 event at the end of this month, September 29-30.
But I think what I am most excited for is our conference in Philadelphia and to see all of our amazing community of experiential designers and makers. We have a fantastic line up of tours to be released at the end of the week, but a small preview is a “behind the scenes” of the Barnes Collection, the recently renovated Philadelphia Museum of Art and EGD by Pentagram, the new exhibition “Motherhood” at the Mutter Museum, the Philadelphia Center for Architecture, a Mural Arts Tour with Jane Golden and our beloved bicycle arts and pub tour.
So start planning your trip to Philadelphia and when we are in person, we can fill you in on our early plans for our SEGD 50th Anniversary in 2023—wow so much to be working on and experimenting with, can’t wait to catch up with everyone!