Key takeaways from Design It; Build It

Our design team take to the big smoke to attend the established Design It; Build It conference, aimed at creative designers and developers alike.

23 Nov 2016
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Firstly, it is only polite to introduce myself. I am the Senior Interaction Designer here at Quba. I headed down to the Design It; Build It (DIBI) conference in the hope of being inspired by the interesting and varied speaker line up, one that warranted a team outing; with our Front End Designer, Jasper and UX Designer, Jack also following on my coat tails.

The conference certainly delivered in terms of expectations. As a team we came away feeling motivated, with each of us being delivered pertinent information for our individual (albeit overlapping and collaborative) roles.

Firstly, who's the conference for?

DIBI is aimed at designers and developers with subjects ranging from how to enhance creativity, energising side projects, and practical tips to take on board straight away. For me, the heavyweight draw in terms of speakers on the day was that of Tobias van Schneider. A renowned award winning designer, he has been written about in acclaimed press such a Wired, .net magazine & many others.

His maverick approach is one that lends itself to the speaker circuit, and he didn't disappoint with his 'Side projects are stupid' talk. There were also inspiring talks from Josh Payton, VP of User Experience at Huge, Jane Austin, Head of UX at the Telegraph and Dan Cork, a developer at Holiday Extras.

So, what was the headline piece I took from the day?

As mentioned the main talk of the day was given by Tobias: Side Projects are Stupid (but in a good way!?)

This was based on five side project principles:

  • Ignore everybody 
  • Let yourself be stupid
  • Trust yourself 
  • Stay busy
  • A jack of all trades isn't necessarily a bad thing 

The key summation here is that these allow creativity to flourish. There is an inherent confidence in giving yourself the time to be creative, as your time within a fast paced role will mostly be measured on deliverables and output. Not always easy to trace when trying to be creative.

The point that you may think contradicts this is the 'stay busy' statement. However, the idea here is to have enough side projects on the go, that if you are tempted to procrastinate, you will do so on another project that you will be able to learn and develop from.

"If 10 people call you stupid, you got your validation, now prove them wrong"

Allowing creativity to flourish is always at the top of our agenda here at Quba. Whether more obviously within the design team, or within the technical team. It is not always easy to step back and take stock in the agency world, but we endeavour to give time to create creative solutions, whether in a purely design way, or whether solving complex technical problems. Creating side projects to step into could certainly help with this. As a wider organisation, we look to encourage participating in and delivering roundtables, and also team building days for ideation.

I will leave you with a quote from Jack about the much revered Tobias:

"Annoyingly one of the coolest guys I have seen"

So what advice can we give from the day?

First off, as a team we would recommend attending the next DIBI conference. Especially for those who want to be inspired and hear the current line of thinking from those spearheading that bridge between design and development within the industry.

Secondly, if possible share the experience of the day with team members. Whether it is at this event, or any others in your diary, it serves to reinforce the positives you can take from the day. It was great to share this with 2 other team members, and acts as a driver for us to ensure we stay on trend as a team. If this can't be achieved, we certainly recommend a download session with team members straight after an event.

Finally, the event showed us the vast areas design can stretch to. It's not just about making something look pretty, but doing something you enjoy that will bring a greater meaning to what you produce.

If you have any burning questions around design and the latest thinking we are always happy to take your call here at Quba; after all questioning the status quo will always challenge the boundaries. Our number is 0114 279 7779.