PSFK Conference

I had the pleasure to attend the PSFK conference yesterday here at the Art Director’s Club in NYC. I was impressed by the overall organization. Hat tip to Piers and his team for pulling off a truly inspiring event.

The opening presentation by Grant McCracken had me the edge of my seat. Wish he would have had another 2 hours to share more of his amazing insights on pattern recognition. (See his presentation slides here.) One sentence that stuck with me: “We are in the business of seeing things!”. Check his blog

The presentation on collbarotive co-working was interesting. Andrew Hoppin, NASA, explained how they engage their customers, staff and partners and the community in a Second Life Virtual environment. He said he feels that some of the NASA employees actually seem to collaborate better in the virtual environment than in real life. Now, that is a truly sad statement of our times, isn’t it? Again, wish Andrew would have given more time to share insights.

One of my personal highlights was the interview with Eric Ripert of “Le Bernadin”. One of the four NYC restaurants that got awareded with 4 stars. I’ve realized that the conference talks/presentation that have inspiried/touched me the most have always been the ones from people outside my industry. Janine Benyus comes to mind with her presentation on Biomimicry at the Denver AIGA conference. I wonder if one should organize a conference with just speakers from other industries. Listening to Eric and how he runs his restaurants, his business, how he comes up with new recipes etc was truly inspiring and had me question parts of my own process.

Another highlight was Allan Chochonov’s presentation on The Dumbest Smartest design problem . Obviously an experienced speaker, his presentation about his experiences as an industrial design teacher here in NYC was delightful, smart and made me think.

PSFK did a wonderful job in organizing this conference. My only critical comment would be to cut down on panel discussions. They don’t do nothing for me. They always feel as if one only scratches the surface. And there’s always this one person sitting in a panel discussion that has this incredible wealth of interesting knowledge that just can’t be unleashed because of the setting. Take Noah Brier for example. I would have loved to hear him present, instead he was trapped in this slightly awkward panel discussion on Social Media.

Thanks to PSFK! Looking forward to next year’s event!