CEO Update Q2 2016: Going From Strength to Strength

SEGD CEO Update Q2 2016

It's the day after conference and there is a steady flow of people from the taxi stand outside the Westin Seattle. We're all heading home. Some look a little worn out, but it does not appear that we took any casualties, despite some really good stories. Way to throw a family party, SEGD clan!

And of course while there is always room for improvement (we're designers after all!), we heard mostly very positive feedback about this event. Everything from best ever to can we do it in Seattle every year?

Congratulations to Russ Roberts,CREO Industrial Arts; Annelle Stotz,IA Interior Architects; and Justin Molloy,SEGD for hosting a fabulous 2016 SEGD Conference: Experience Seattle event!

The main conference room sparkled. Thanks to SENOVVA, Daktronicsand CREO'sgenerous contributions in setting a stage with an interview setup, podium, screen and SEGD logo panels to frame it all. The lighting, sound and production were spectacular and ran very smoothly throughout, thanks to Senovva's professional support team.

The changes in format which Justin introduced this year worked great with more time in the NEXPO hall, more time for networking and some very interesting interaction at the Young Designers Summit, sponsored by Tangram Designand Foreseer. It was a 110-person event - but so many more attended than we anticipated! (And yes, for next year we will be looking at how to organize the young designers group differently.) As for the direction numbers are going, it may be more appropriate to address how we organize the baby boomer designers instead of the young designers who are starting to become the bulk of the attendees! In 2013, we only had about 15 students at the event, this year we had over 100 millennials in attendance.

If there was any subtle take away from this conference it was possibly a sense of the shifting of the guard. SEGD is in a unique position today. The field of practice (though thousands of years old in real terms) is only in its late 30s in terms of becoming a modern profession, so many of the original founders and practitioners are just starting to reach retirement age, when they would like to transfer their firms to the next generation. (That will again be the subject of our Business of Design Workshop next year.) This shift was clear at the Seattle conference and has been so with the Board for some time now. Michael Reed the 2016 SEGD Fellow said it best in his acceptance speech"I am glad to see that we are finally a multi-generational group". It is definitely a bittersweet time for the profession as founders proudly watch their proteges step into the limelight to carry on the good work they began. At the same time, we see so much energy for our growing field that SEGD intends to make sure that there is space for all to keep contributing. Remember that retired members are welcome to remain SEGD members at a substantially lower rate! You may be retiring from practice but once part of the family, always part of it!

All the conference sessions were captured on video and will be available in SEGD Talks on the website in a few weeks. There were fantastic talks from many speakers, including Paula Rees,PJ Wilcynski,Boeing, Sam Stubblefield,and Joshua Waltonand James Tichenorfrom Microsoft among the many great presentations.

Seattle shone with glorious weather, lots of sunshine and some great tours. Who can resist a city surrounded by water? We had a large contingent of millennial designers attend this year, bringing new energy and ideas to the event. We all heard and witnessed many conversations between studio leaders and young designers about potential jobs and internships. If you were looking to hire, this was the place to be! From the social events to the more formal portfolio reviews to the participatory workshops on Saturday afternoon, there were many opportunities for those seeking work to connect with those looking for designers, and it would appear most studios are! For the first time there was a Design Thinking workshop on Saturday afternoon that attracted a very large group of attendees. Ben Whitehouseand Daniela Pilossofran the much-loved Improv session, taking on the challenge from David Vanden-Eynden(Calori and Vanden-Eynden) and Cybelle Jones(Gallagher & Associates) this year and presenting it in a different style - highly appreciated from the feedback we heard. Noah Jeppsonof IA Interior Architects ran the Design Improv(e) with very good outcomes and Justin Molloy took on the challenge of running the Design Thinking session. While these sessions were going on, the Chapter Chairs (all 35 of them!) got together with Board Chapter Chair Liaison George Limfor a Chapter Chair summit to discuss developing the chapters and contributing to the growing awareness of Experiential Graphic Design.

There were some fantastic items at the Auction for Excellence this year and you could see that from the level of bidding. The Auction brought in $27,000 in support of the SEGD Educational programs, a 35% increase over 2015. Well done to Ann Makowskiand Anna Sharpof Two Twelve for an excellent effort.

Thank you to Wayne McCutcheon,Entrofor running the SEGD Excellence Awards and hosting them Saturday Afternoon. The new combined SEGD Excellence Awards and Global Design Awards ceremony took a big step forward, complete with red carpet, photo backdrops (see the Award Winners Gallery) and a fantastic presentation and speech from 2016 SEGD Fellow, Michael Reedof Mayer/Reed.That and all conference presentations will be available for free to all SEGD members logged into the website in SEGD Talksa few weeks from now. Congratulations once again, Michael! Way to set the bar!

A big thanks to SEGD Board member Stephen Minningof BrandCulture(Sydney). Stephen, the 2016 SEGD Global Design Awards jury chair, did a great job Saturday night hosting the awards ceremony and giving us some great insights into the award-winning projects.

Congratulations to PenguinCube from Beirut who won their third Honor Award, making them the winningest international firm and sixth highest ever globally in terms of Honors Awards.

SEGD launched our advanced search on the website this quarter. We already had a fantastic search function compared to most design sites, but knew that we needed to push way, way further on this important function in order to make a vital resource for the profession.

Try searching for a material like concreteor glassor senior designeror a place like Golden Gatefor example. Once the first result comes up, try using the content/awards/firms/people tabs to get more granular results. You will be surprised - but not really - at the content that you can find. Improving search is becoming ever more critical to connecting members to information, students, fabricators, vendors and more. Helping the thousands of clients who visit the site every year to connect with designers and fabricators, helping students and those seeking jobs find the firms they want to work for among our 6,000+ articles and 15,000 images.

The Xplore,People,Firms and AwardsGalleries, organized using the SEGD Index,already provide a fantastic resource to find content via a practice area, industry vertical or design fundamental. But as the content increases and we try to meet the needs of individuals at a more granular level, a powerful search option becomes more necessary; that is the need we are answering now.

Over the next six months we will be tuning in the algorithm to SEGD's uniqueness and ensuring that your volunteer time, sponsorship and contributions such as firm listings, articles, blogs and member news will  positively influence your search results. We are finally into the digital age and able to tune in the relevance of our content - more like Google!

Mid-year and so far, SEGD is having a very strong year, in line with the profession. Good luck to all of you trying to cram a summer holiday into your calendar this year! We'll see you in either Los Angeles (Xplorer Digital Bootcamp),in Washington D.C. in August (for the Experience and Exhibition Workshop)or at the ever growing-Xlabin New York in October!


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