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Chicago Camps

Prototypes, Process & Play

August 6–7, 2015

Columbia College Film Row – Chicago

Conference Overview

Learn design leadership from the experts at
Prototypes, Process, & Play.

It’s a two-day, single-track conference featuring inspiring keynote speakers, accomplished design leaders, and experienced professionals from major brands and organizations.

Curious about the name? It comes from our formula for effective design leadership:

Experimentation
Prototypes
+
Proven Methodologies
Process
+
Creative Exploration
Play

Meet Our Awesome Sponsors

These great sponsors help us make Prototypes, Process & Play affordable and accessible. These organizations see the value in design and design leadership—please show your support for the support they’ve shown us!

Program & Schedule

Hone your design leadership skills over two days with us at Columbia College Chicago. A carefully curated single-track approach ensures that you can attend every session and have a truly shared experience with other attendees and speakers.

Day One
Thursday, August 6th

Registration & Coffee
Welcome to Prototypes, Process & Play Day One
Dr. Temple Grandin
Keynote
Denise Jacobs
Creativity Imperative
Morning Break
Braden Kowitz
Design What Really Matters
Lunch Break
Jen Myers
Cartoon Creativity: What I Learned from Chuck Jones
Bridget Weis-Urbain
Cooking by Design
Hannah Donovan
Sometimes You Need to Draw Animals
Afternoon Break
Milissa Tarquini
Design Organization du Jour
Clay Parker Jones, Hillary Hartley, & Peter Merholz
Closing Panel: Design of Organizations
Happy Hour & Experience Panel

Day Two
Friday, August 7th

Registration & Coffee
Welcome to Prototypes, Process & Play Day Two
Dr. Steve Julius
Keynote
Chris Avore
Advancing Strategic Design Without Going Against the Current
Morning Break
J Cornelius
Redesign Our Design Thinking
Lunch Break
Danny Schuman
5 Tips for Designers from a Terrible Designer
Jason Kunesh
How to be a Designer CEO at a Startup without Being a Jerk
Andrea Mignolo
So You’ve Got A Seat At the Table. Now What?
Afternoon Break
Carl Smith
Theft, Tributes & Collaboration
Jesse James Garrett
Keynote
Closing Ceremonies

About Our Speakers

Great thinking on design leadership is found in many forms in many industries. We’ve curated an incredible lineup of design experts, mentors, and coaches from diverse fields to help you down your own leadership path. Our single-track format ensures you’ll get to learn from every one of them.

Keynotes

Jesse James Garrett

Jesse James Garrett
Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Adaptive Path

Jesse James Garrett is co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Adaptive Path, a user experience design consultancy. His contributions to the field of user experience include creating the seminal “Elements of User Experience” model; developing the Visual Vocabulary, a notation system for documenting user experience design; and defining Ajax, an approach to creating dynamic Web applications. Jesse has received Wired Magazine’s Rave Award for Technology and was named one of the “50 Most Important People on the Web” by PC World.

For more, keep up with Jesse at blog.jjg.net or on Twitter as @jjg.

Dr. Steve Julius

Dr. Steve Julius
Team Psychologist, Chicago Bulls, Founder, Human Resource Consulting Group

Dr. Steve Julius is the founder and chief executive of HRCG, a Chicago based firm specializing in executive leadership, high performance teamwork, organizational effectiveness and strategic human capital solutions. A true proponent of the power that is derived from integrating diverse talents and points-of-view, Steve has built a team of professionals who combine the approach of trusted advisor with the first-hand knowledge and insight that comes from their having been in significant leadership positions prior to joining HRCG.

Steve believes that personal and professional success comes from helping others reach their peak potential. As such, he maintains an active practice of advising senior executives and their teams from an array of major corporations, entrepreneurial companies and professional service organizations. Whether called upon during times of organizational transition or in anticipation of capitalizing on opportunities for enhanced business performance, Dr. Julius is known for his ability to combine his knowledge of human behavior, organizational dynamics and business strategy to create relevant and practical solutions. Steve’s enthusiastic, outcome oriented style has been described as “contagious” resulting not only in ready-to-use business solutions, but also a collective sense of personal satisfaction and empowerment on the part of those with whom Steve works.

All of Us Are Smarter Than Some of Us: How to Harness Your Team’s Collective Intelligence

Until relatively recently, innovation was considered the domain of a select few “gifted” thinkers who sit alone in their garage or some other mountaintop developing their insights in isolation. In fact, the very idea of a group of people coming together to create something game-changing was thought to result more often in mediocre outcomes due to the drag of “group think.”

No longer. And the good news is that everyone possesses the capacity for break through thinking and results that truly matter. Innovation is the lifeblood of all things and occurs when people add tangible value or benefit to others through the conversion and implementation of new ideas.

We have entered the age of collective wisdom; an era where it is recognized that paradigm shifting innovation requires cooperation within an ecosystem of diverse talents and creative styles. Dr. Steve Julius, a clinical psychologist and entrepreneur, will explain and demonstrate how to marshal and lead our natural desire to engage, contribute and act collaboratively in ways that allow for perceiving new possibilities and status quo changing actions.

Dr. Temple Grandin

Dr. Temple Grandin
Professor, Speaker, Author, Colorado State University

Temple Grandin is an American professor of animal science at Colorado State University, a best-selling author, an autistic activist, and a consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior. She also invented the “hug box”, a device to calm those on the autism spectrum. The subject of an award-winning, 2010 biographical film, Temple Grandin, she also was listed in the Time 100 list of the one hundred most influential people in the world in the “Heroes” category.

For more, keep up with Dr. at templegrandin.com or on Twitter as @drtemplegrandin.

Clay Parker Jones

Clay Parker Jones
Managing Director, Undercurrent

Clay is the Managing Director of Undercurrent, an organizational design unit of Quirky, where he and his team work to restructure organizations for an uncertain world. Undercurrent lives at the edge of organizational theory, applying experimental patterns and behaviors to their internal practices while applying the most successful designs to their customers’ cultures. Through this practice, Clay is developing an Organizational Pattern Language to allow groups of any scale or purpose to move toward more adaptive, more engaging ways of working.

For more, keep up with Clay at clayparkerjones.com or on Twitter as @clayparkerjones.

Hillary Hartley

Hillary Hartley
Wearer of Many Hats, 18F, USA!

Hillary Hartley is co-founder and deputy executive director at 18F, a digital services consultancy inside the General Services Administration. She came to the GSA as a Presidential Innovation Fellow in 2013, where she worked on the development of My.USA.gov. Hillary has been working to make government more accessible and available online for nearly two decades, starting as a web designer for Arkansas.gov in 1997. As Director of Integrated Marketing for eGovernment provider NIC, Hillary helped NIC’s 30 state government partners embrace new technology and concepts for a 21st century government. She speaks at events across the country, educating and evangelizing “government 2.0” and customer service/community engagement best practices for government.

For more, keep up with Hillary on Twitter as @hillary.

Peter Merholz

Peter Merholz
Senior Director, Product Experience, Jawbone

Peter Merholz is a design and product management executive. He is a Sr. Director in Product Experience at Jawbone, the company behind UP fitness trackers. He helped OpenTable launch their redesigned website, and before that was VP of Design at Groupon. He was one of the founders of Adaptive Path, and helped grow it from 7 to 50 people. He’s been writing about design and technology (among other things) at http://peterme.com for 17 years.

Closing Panel: Design of Organizations

Day 1 of Prototypes, Process & Play closes out with a panel featuring 3 very different leaders from 3 very different types of organizations. Clay Parker Jones, Hillary Hartley, and Peter Merholz will describe how their organizations are structured, how and why they’re successful, and then take questions from the moderator and the audience. Get ready to learn from these leaders who have found successes in various organizations—from rapid-growing startups to holacracy to the federal government!

Full Sessions

Andrea Mignolo

Andrea Mignolo
Chief Design Officer, SimpleReach

Andrea Mignolo is the Chief Design Officer at SimpleReach, an analytics startup based in New York City. Previously she was the Creative Director at Nabewise, a neighborhood-centric startup that was aquired by Airbnb in 2012. An interaction designer by trade, she is currently obsessed with bringing design-centered practices to enterprise SaaS and building a kick-ass team of full-stack designers. In addition to design, Andrea loves gaming, hiking, beer, and funny hats.

For more, keep up with Andrea at pnts.us or on Twitter as @pnts.

So You’ve Got A Seat At the Table. Now What?

In recent years we’ve seen an emergence of design-led and design driven companies. Breathless articles in technology blogs herald the rise of design as the new competitive differentiator while titles like Chief Experience Officer and Chief Design Officer are becoming more common across companies big and small. In light of these trends, it’s generally accepted that design finally has a seat at the table.

But getting to the table is just the beginning — what happens next brings with it an entirely new and different set of challenges. Drawing from both my own experience as well as others, we’ll take a look at what the world looks like once you’re at the table, the types of challenges you’ll come across, and some practical methods for handling them.

Braden Kowitz

Braden Kowitz
Design Partner, Google Ventures

Braden Kowitz is a product designer, prototyper, and storyteller. He’s also a Design Partner at Google Ventures and founded the team’s Design Studio. He advises startups on UX Design and Product Development. Before joining Google Ventures, Braden led design for several Google Products, including Gmail, Google Buzz, Google Apps for Business, Google Spreadsheets, OpenSocial, and Google Trends.

Braden started his career building virtual reality simulators at the Beckman Institute, and interactive visualizations at Lucent Technologies. Braden studied Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon.

For more, keep up with Braden at kowitz.co or on Twitter as @kowitz.

Design What Really Matters

Designers love to delight customers with look and feel. But if a product doesn’t solve a real problem, customers won’t care how pretty it is. For design to be effective in a business, it needs to move beyond surface-level work and contribute to the very core of how products are developed.

This is a pragmatic talk about how designers can work differently to have a stronger role in product development. We’ll see how slowing down can help you move faster. We’ll look at ugly design that leads to great products. And we’ll learn how a careful design process can help companies take big leaps safely.

Carl Smith

Carl Smith
Speaker, Consultant, Advisor, nGen Works

Carl Smith is an irreverent ditcher of the nine-to-five and mortal enemy of the overworked lifestyle. Owner and founder of nGen Works, Carl’s role is that of an advisor, to nGen and other companies, on how to create self-sustaining teams that perform at the highest levels. Carl has made a name for himself by creating a new framework for how we get things done, and by enabling us to realign our creative communities. When he’s not conducting business experiments with companies around the world, he’s busy sculpting a new face for the world of work… and play.

For more, keep up with Carl at devianthippie.com or on Twitter as @carlsmith.

Theft, Tributes & Collaboration

The best things in our world are built on top of the ideas and discoveries of others. Yet we all feel like we have to be original in order to be valuable. In this talk, Carl will show a new way to think about collaboration by embracing creativity as a group endeavor. Examples abound that show us how much better we are when we put away the concept of intellectual property and embrace the best ideas of our time.

Chris Avore

Chris Avore
Design Leader, Nasdaq

Chris leads the product design efforts at Nasdaq, where his team designs the vision of a more elegant, useful, and profitable portfolio of software products for the global stock exchange.

In less than four years he has successfully positioned design and its methods as the primary competitive differentiator to Nasdaq’s customers, colleagues and partners, and the executive team.

His distributed team of generalists and specialists build what they design after they’ve researched the viability, desirability, and usefulness of a feature or product. Prior to Nasdaq Chris was an independent design practitioner for startups, agencies, enterprise customers, and the federal government for over 10 years.

For more, keep up with Chris on Twitter as @erova.

Advancing Strategic Design Without Going Against the Current

Enable your organization to embrace and profit from the benefits of a design-led work culture.

Culture change is often perceived as long and slow—but that doesn’t mean there aren’t approaches familiar to designers of all experience levels that can be the catalyst for evolving your current workplace culture into one that invites exploration, collaboration, and accountability.

Audiences will learn the techniques they can immediately use to show management the benefits of design to the organization, how design should influence product strategy, and how to help other departments and teams grow their own design expertise, in some cases without even hiring more designers.

Learn how to write concise, communicable vision statements that set the organization’s sights high, how to share research with executives who may not fully understand it, and the methods to scale design’s influence across different teams and into the C-suite.

Denise Jacobs

Denise Jacobs
Founder & Chief Creativity Evangelist, The Creative Dose

Denise Jacobs is a Speaker + Author + Creativity Evangelist who speaks at web conferences and consults with tech companies worldwide. As the Founder + Chief Creativity Evangelist of The Creative Dose, she teaches techniques to make the creative process more fluid, methods for making work environments more conducive to creative productivity, and practices for sparking innovation. Working in Web Design & Development since 1997, she is an industry veteran and regarded expert on many things web. She is the author of The CSS Detective Guide and co-author of the Smashing Book #3 1/3 and Interact with Web Standards. Denise is also the Chief Unicorn of Rawk The Web and the Head Instigator of The Creativity (R)Evolution.

For more, keep up with Denise at denisejacobs.com or on Twitter as @denisejacobs.

Creativity Imperative

Creativity and innovation are now hailed as the most important contributors to the growth of the economy. It’s imperative that environments are structured so creativity and innovation can thrive. Good news: laying the foundation is easier than you think. Discover the four directives to enhance engagement, reignite passion, and amp up meaningful contribution — enabling you, your team, and your company to develop and deliver fantastic products and services.

Hannah Donovan

Hannah Donovan
VP Product Design, Ripcord

Hannah Donovan is a designer and speaker based in New York City. She’s worked at the intersection of music, design and technology for the last decade, making digital products in music and entertainment. She currently leads product design at Ripcord.

Previously, Hannah co-founded This Is My Jam with incubation from The Echo Nest, led design at Last.fm in London, and designed for youth-focused brands in Toronto.

She’s a classically trained cellist who loves hip-hop and R&B, as well as a classically trained graphic designer who loves bold patterns, clashing textures and type. She also loves tigers, but isn’t classically trained to tame them.

For more, keep up with Hannah at blog.hannahdonovan.com or on Twitter as @han.

Sometimes You Need to Draw Animals

This is my story of going to the edge of burnout and back again. When I quit my first startup job in 2011, I did so thinking I might not be able to make anything ever again. Since then, I’ve devoted most of my personal time to working on this as a design problem.

As people who make things, burnout — and the inevitable sequel to it, maker’s block — is something we all face. It might be big, it might be small, mine was pretty big. I’ll share my favourite tools for solving and preventing burnout, as well as what factors contributed to it in the first place.

(There will also be drawings of animals.)

J Cornelius

J Cornelius
President, Nine Labs

J has been making websites and software for the web since 1998, and has been credited with creating several software features web designers and developers take for granted today. He’s passionate about efficient, usable, aesthetically pleasing design. He is the President of Nine Labs, an experience and strategy consultancy where he works with companies far and wide to improve their products and services. He’s also the President of the Atlanta Web Design Group, and founder of the Web Afternoon conference series.

For more, keep up with J at jcornelius.com or on Twitter as @jc.

Redesign Our Design Thinking

Design is beautiful and beautiful things are well-designed. While this is true, it isn’t the whole truth—aesthetics definitely are NOT everything. Sometimes the best design isn’t what you think, and we need to leave our design aesthetic ego at the door and focus on positive outcomes for the user.

This talk will challenge your assumptions about what great design is, and discuss ideas about how we can be better designers by focusing on process, function, and outcomes instead of visuals.

Milissa Tarquini

Milissa Tarquini
VP, Product UX & Design, Scripps Networks Interactive

Milissa Tarquini is VP, Product UX and Design for Food Network, HGTV, DIY, and The Travel Channel — which are conveniently owned by one company that no one has heard of: Scripps Networks Interactive. She began her career in 1995 (gasp!) as a designer at Aol (another gasp!) and designed her way up the ranks until she was the Director of UX for all of Aol’s 85 content sites and mobile applications. After she realized how insane that was she left to join Scripps where she focuses on bringing great entertainment and utility experiences to the fans and users of awesome brands. She is extremely lucky and giddily proud to have had her work used by millions of people every day since 1995, a fact that she sometimes forgets when she is fussing over something ridiculous like the way the light falls on the cupcake in that one photo. You know the one—it’s weird right?

Milissa does all of these things by hiring an amazing team and getting the hell out of their way. Unless they are trying to get that cupcake photo by her.

For more, keep up with Milissa on Twitter as @milissa.

Design Organization du Jour: The Best–and Worst–of Your Favorite Design Org Structures!

Companies reorganize all the time, and when that happens it’s easy to feel scared, threatened, or even like it’s time for you to move on to more stable pastures. Fear not! Embrace your inner designer / honey badger and stop worrying about who will sit where and how teams may line up. There is no organizational structure that can break your spirit or marginalize your skill when you learn from my hard-earned lessons in the field!

As empaths for users and observers of patterns, many designers are bound to notice to the rhythms of reorganization at the companies where they work. Companies may swing between centralization and decentralization in a reactive cycle, often throwing in new and/or removing processes along the way. Teams can be left confused and concerned about their futures. Gossip goes through the roof. Morale plummets.

I’m here to tell you that it’s not your fault that the org chart got crazy. Learn from my experience of going through approximately 27 gazillion re-orgs—along with current research on design organizations, to show you the signs of a coming re-org, how to navigate them and lead your team through them in order to insure that the craft of design is not marginalized during the reign of any particular org chart.

And don’t worry, it will all change in a year or two anyway. Luckily you’ll be ready.

Lightning

Bridget Weis-Urbain

Bridget Weis-Urbain
Chef & Owner, Cook From Scratch

Bridget Weis-Urbain is the Chef and owner of Cook from Scratch, where she offers a variety of cooking classes as an opportunity to help broaden people’s horizons in the kitchen. Her classes focus on techniques taught in culinary and pastry school; students become inspired as they see how realistic it is to apply these skills to most anything. This knowledge invites creativity and confidence in the kitchen for everyone! She’s been bringing cooking to individuals, parties, and corporate team activities since 1996. You can learn more about Bridget and Cook from Scratch at cookfromscratch.com.

Chef Bridget is simply the “Bridge” between professional and home chefs!

Cooking by Design

Deciding what to schlep on the dinner table can be a piece of cake—or a nightmare for a chef like me. I’m not one to plan ahead; I tend to cook based upon my mood, which can be based upon what’s going on around me the weather, what I’ve been influenced by on TV or in my life at any point in time, which means that where I decide to get my ingredients from changes quite frequently, as well!

Designing a menu for a client isn’t clearly an art of a formula, either—sure, “lactose-free” and “gluten intolerant” requests need to be taken into consideration. However, helping people understand what the foundational core ingredients of cooking are through well-planned cooking classes, can help people understand how to figure out what to cook based upon their moods, and their influences, and whatever else is going on in their worlds.

You won’t truly be a “Foodie” unless you’ve stood at your kitchen sink’s morning aftermath, closed your eyes, and while the hot water revives the gelatinous demi-glace blessed pans your soul speaks to your taste buds and says, “thank you, that was amazing!” The basics of cooking, like the basics of any other type of design, will lead you down your path to being great.

Danny Schuman

Danny Schuman
President, Twist

Danny Schuman is a writer, thinker, and idea creator. He spent over 20 years writing memorable marketing campaigns that built iconic brands like Coors Light, Life Cereal, and Gatorade. He and Michael Jordan started working on Gatorade on the same day and they happily made many commercials together for many years.

Danny founded innovation and marketing consultancy Twist in January 2009, reflecting his boundless sense of optimism and a healthy amount of bIissful ignorance. Twist helps brands like Pepsi, Discover, Wrigley, and MillerCoors solve creative and strategic challenges.

The Joy of Solving, the problem-solving framework that Danny created, helps people come up with brilliant ideas to solve tough challenges. It’s been featured in FastCompany and at Chicago Ideas Week. He’s also spoken, taught and mentored at Techweek and 1871.

For more, keep up with Danny at twistyourthinking.com or on Twitter as @twisturthinking.

5 Tips for Designers from a Terrible Designer

I’ve been in the position to lead designers toward best-in-class, top-notch design for some of the most well-known brands in the world. Funny thing about that: I’m not a designer! I am, however a writer who knows how to unearth a creative solution, and who knows who to help others solve problems for themselves.

I’ve come up with 5 problem-solving tips for designers that will help them think through and create designs more effectively and guide them to ridiculous fame and fortune, all from a person who is smart enough to know when to hire someone far better than me to do this kind of stuff.

Jason Kunesh

Jason Kunesh
CEO, Public Good Software

Jason Kunesh is the CEO of Public Good Software, a social enterprise software startup in Chicago. Previously, he was Director of User Experience & Product at Obama for America, a founder of Fuzzy Math, on the founding team of ThePoint (which grew up to be Groupon), an early designer at Orbitz, an adjunct faculty member at DePaul University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a bouncer at the Green Mill.

Jason has spoken at companies including Google, Intuit, and Microsoft and at conferences including UX Week, BAYCHI, Web Visions and more. His work has been featured in the New York Times, the Atlantic Monthly, BusinessWeek, TIME, and others.

For more, keep up with Jason at jdkunesh.com or on Twitter as @jdkunesh.

How to be a Designer CEO at a Startup without Being a Jerk

As designers we’re told to practice empathy, learning our users’ habits, unspoken needs, and desires. We use that knowledge to inform the design of a product intended to delight people. As CEOs, the skills we celebrate are different. Ford, Jobs, Elon Musk and more were known as ego-driven steamrollers who pushed people to the brink all the time.

Here’s what I’ve learned from my time at Public Good about running a business, owning product, and empowering our team to do great work. All without being an a-hole. Most of the time.

Jen Myers

Jen Myers
Director of Open Source Curriculum, Pluralsight

Jen Myers is a web designer/developer, speaker, writer and teacher in Chicago, and the Director of Open Source Curriculum at online training course provider Pluralsight. She founded Code and Cupcakes, a series of mother/daughter coding workshops she leads regularly, and has been involved with Girl Develop It, an organization that provides introductory programming classes for women, as a chapter leader, instructor and advisor since 2011. She speaks extensively about design, development and diversity, and focuses on finding new ways to make both technology and technology education accessible to everyone.

For more, keep up with Jen at jenmyers.net or on Twitter as @antiheroine.

Cartoon Creativity: What I Learned from Chuck Jones

Lessons sometimes come from unlikely sources, which is why one of modern history’s richest sources of inspiration for creativity, leadership and culture-building often goes overlooked: the mid-twentieth-century animator Chuck Jones, otherwise known as one of the fathers of Bugs Bunny and a myriad of other Warner Brothers cartoon characters. The environment he worked in grew out of an unique mix of talent, philosophy and pragmatism that all industries and artists alike can learn from. Plus: cartoons. So who wouldn’t want to learn how to work like he did? Let’s find out how.

Location Details

Columbia College Film Row

We are big fans of our venue and sponsor: Columbia College in Chicago. Columbia is a great place to learn and upgrade your design skills and we’re excited to host our inaugural Prototypes, Process & Play with them!

Columbia College

About Columbia College

Columbia College Chicago is an institution of higher education specializing in arts and media disciplines, with nearly 12,000 students pursuing degrees within 120 undergraduate and graduate programs.

Check out Columbia College.

Where to Park?

There are several easy-access parking garages available in the surrounding blocks.

The Congress Plaza Hotel

Coming from out of town? We’ve set up a special rate for attendees at The Congress Plaza Hotel on Michigan Avenue in the heart of Chicago.

Sponsorship Opportunities

We want to be the easiest partner you’ve ever worked with–even at the traditional conference level! With that as our guiding mantra, all of our Prototypes, Process & Play sponsorships are $1,500.

Prototypes, Process & Play has many different options available that are comparable to any other large scale event, and we’re happy to work with you to create something custom to meet your needs. We’ve got a great event planned and we’d love to talk to you about how we can partner with you!

If you’re interested in sponsoring Prototypes, Process & Play and getting in front of the people who are driving the future of design, contact us or download our Sponsorship Packet.

Chicago Sponsors Camps

  • Harrington College of Design
  • Rosenfeld Media
  • Simplecast
  • User Interface Engineering

Code of Conduct

All delegates, speakers, sponsors and volunteers at any Chicago Camps, LLC event are required to agree with the following code of conduct. Organizers will enforce this code throughout the event.

The Short Version
Full Version

Chicago Camps, LLC is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any conference venue, including talks.