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Chicago Camps

Prototypes, Process & Play

August 11–12, 2016

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

Additional Speakers & Sponsors Coming Soon

We’re currently in discussions with additional speakers and sponsors. As we confirm additions to the program we’ll add them below. Until then, if you have any recommendations on speakers or sponsors we’d love to hear from you!

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 11th

Registration
Welcome to Prototypes, Process & Play
Ashleigh Axios
Designing for 1600 Penn. (Keynote)
Erin L. Thomas, PhD
The Inclusive Leaders’ Playbook: Everyday Actions to Leverage Diversity & Engage Teams
Morning Break
Kristin Skinner
Org Design for Design Orgs: Building & Managing In-House Teams
Lunch Break
Amanda Schonfeld
A Human Centered Approach to Talent Acquisition
Amy Cueva
Purpose Driven Design
Adam Connor
Building Creative, Collaborative Cultures
Afternoon Break
Gail Swanson
Designer in the Machine
Randy Hunt
Fireside Chat with Randy Hunt (Keynote)
Happy Hour

Day Two
Friday, August 12th

Registration
Welcome to Prototypes, Process & Play
Cennydd Bowles
Ethical by Design (Keynote)
Rebecca Miller-Webster
Frameworks of Feedback
Morning Break
Xavier Wynn
Moving Fast with the Ultimate Driving Machine
Lunch Break
Tanseela Molani
Design Researcher as (the most) Super (of all) Heroes
Chris Avore
Managing Design Leadership
Adam Cutler
Scaling Design at IBM
Afternoon Break
Ian Swinson
Careers by Design
Michael Lopp
Fear is a Liar (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

Ashleigh Axios

Ashleigh Axios
Former Creative Director & Digital Strategist, The White House

Ashleigh Axios is an international speaker, strategic creative, and an advocate for design’s ability to break barriers and create positive social change. Axios is a board member for AIGA, the professional association for design. Axios served as the creative director and a digital strategist at the White House, where she led design from within the Office of Digital Strategy. Axios is also the president emeritus of AIGA Washington D.C., where she formed and leads DotGovDesign, an initiative connecting and empowering government designers, and the annual DotGovDesign Conference. Axios went to Rhode Island School of Design, where she earned a BFA in graphic design (and met her wonderful husband).

For more, keep up with Ashleigh on Twitter as @AshleighAxios.

Designing for 1600 Penn.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at how innovative design is able to happen in-house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Ashleigh will show-and-tell how her small design team transformed daunting challenges into successful digital campaigns. Hear her team’s tactics for tackling limited resources, overcoming impossibly quick timelines, experimenting while in the public spotlight, and not just taking criticism, but intentionally seeking it out.

Cennydd Bowles

Cennydd Bowles
Digital Product Designer, Writer

Cennydd Bowles is a digital product designer and writer. He has a decade of experience helping companies realise the benefits of good design, most recently as design manager at Twitter. He writes for A List Apart and is author of the book Undercover User Experience Design.

For more, keep up with Cennydd at cennydd.com or on Twitter as @Cennydd.

Ethical by Design

Every business is now unique in their faith in experimentation, evidence, and iteration. Done right, it’s a healthy, focused approach. Done poorly, it becomes twisted into absurd scientism: numbers trump all, and users are reduced to mere statistics.

Digital technology’s unprecedented scale brings serious ethical responsibility. How can we balance data-driven approaches with empathy and humanity? How do we help companies see users as more than means to achieve company goals? And how do we ensure our decisions benefit not only ourselves but our wider communities and the world at large?

Michael Lopp

Michael Lopp
VP of Engineering, Slack

Michael Lopp is a Silicon Valley-based engineering leader who builds both people and product at companies such as Borland, Netscape, Palantir, and Apple. While he’s not worrying about staying relevant, he writes about pens, bridges, people, poker, and werewolves at the popular weblog, Rands in Repose. He works as the head of engineering at Pinterest in San Francisco where he’s furiously working on helping humans curate their inspiration.

Michael has written two books. His first book “Managing Humans, 2nd Edition” is a popular guide to the art of engineering leadership and clearly explains that while you be rewarded for what you build, you will only be successful because of your people. His second book “Being Geek” is a career handbook for geeks and nerds alike.

Michael plays mountain bikes, tinkers with drones, and drinks red wine in the redwoods of Northern California whenever he can because staying sane is more important than staying busy.

For more, keep up with Michael at randsinrepose.com or on Twitter as @rands.

Fear is a Liar

Writing is the connective tissue that creates understanding. We, as social creatures, often better perform rituals to form understanding one on one, but good writing enables us to understand each other at scale. So we’re going to talk about writing.

Randy Hunt

Randy Hunt
VP of Design, Etsy

Randy J. Hunt is VP of Design at Etsy, where he leads a team of designers, researchers, writers and artists creating the end-to-end experience, both online and off. Etsy is a global commerce platform empowering independent creative business in nearly every country in the world. Etsy was honored with the National Design Award in 2014. (Photo credit: Rett Peek)

For more, keep up with Randy at randyjhunt.com or on Twitter as @randyjhunt.

Fireside Chat with Randy Hunt

Shay Howe will, along with the Prototypes, Process & Play audience, interview Randy Hunt to learn more about design and design leadership at Etsy.

Sessions

Adam Connor

Adam Connor
VP Organizational Design & Training, Mad*Pow

Adam Connor is a designer, author and illustrator based in Western Massachusetts. As VP of Organizational Design at Mad*Pow, Adam creates positive change in organizations by addressing the relationships that people have with one another to foster more collaborative, creative, and human-centric organizations.

Adam and his team examine organizations’ behaviors and culture, looking closely at all the ways that they are expressed and reinforced. They explore how beliefs and perceptions influence things like roles, structure, processes, and tools that organizations use every day. They then work collaboratively with teams to identify changes to improve people’s capacity to work together in meaningful ways that allow them to deliver valuable products and services to their audience.

In 2015 he and co-author Aaron Irizarry released Discussing Design: Improving Communication & Collaboration Through Critique with O’Reilly Publishing. His thoughts on organizations, collaboration, and design can be found at adamconnor.com and discussingdesign.com.

For more, keep up with Adam at adamconnor.com or on Twitter as @adamconnor.

Building Creative, Collaborative Cultures

Organizations are taking a strong interest in design — realizing that understanding the needs, expectations and contexts in which people interact and use products and services leads not only to improvements in their current offerings, but ideas and opportunities for new innovations. With this realization has come immense investment in design talent and training. But having design talent and creativity does not ensure success. Design is not just a new tool to add to a growing collection. As these skills and individuals are added to the mix in many teams, both designers and non-designers alike often struggle to work together and produce great work.

Design is a shift in mindset that influences how we behave and make decisions. In order for organizations to make use of design they must be set up to do so. In this presentation we’ll look at the characteristics and cultures of organizations that are able to effectively create, collaborate on, and produce great design and explore strategies to foster innovation by building better teams, helping them use new tools to work together, identify problems and break down silos that stop progress.

Adam Cutler

Adam Cutler
Design Practices Director, IBM Design

Adam Cutler is the Design Practices Director with IBM Design and one of the first three Distinguished Designers at IBM. He is responsible for the IBM Design Studio in Austin, TX. He is also responsible for the competency, culture and practices of design and designers at IBM. This includes IBM Design Thinking, the IBM Design Language and IBM Design Research.

Previously while at IBM Interactive, he was the Director of User Experience Design and helped to guide clients and internal initiatives in the creation of valuable, dynamic and effective user experiences. He has worked with many clients including OpenPediatrics for Boston Children’s Hospital, Nordea, The JFK Museum & Library, Liberty Mutual, Bank of America, Nationwide, Wachovia, L.L.Bean, State Street, American Express, IBM, Segway, Chubb Insurance and Tiffany & Co. among others.

Prior to joining IBM, Adam worked with Michael Jordan while at an advertising agency in Chicago, and helped to pioneer the first e-commerce transaction from outer space.

For more, keep up with Adam at ibm.com/design or on Twitter as @adam_cutler.

Scaling Design at IBM

Creating a sustainable culture of design at a company the size of IBM isn’t an overnight process. Learn how we’re scaling our design competency across our global footprint through our people, places and practices.

Erin L. Thomas, PhD

Erin L. Thomas, PhD
Diversity Manager, Grant Thornton

Erin Thomas is Diversity Manager for Grant Thornton LLP, responsible for diversity and inclusion strategy, programming and evaluation in all 60 US offices.

Prior to this role, she served as Argonne National Laboratory’s first Gender Diversity Specialist. During her tenure, Argonne’s diversity and inclusion initiative was recognized by the Society of Women Engineers and Diversity/Careers Magazine and Dr. Thomas was honored with the Association for Women in Science Chicago chapter’s Motivator Award for her diversity advocacy. Before her time at Argonne, Dr. Thomas consulted for Catalyst, Inc., a leading non-profit organization dedicated to advancing women at work.

Dr. Thomas’ research informs her practitioner role, as its overarching objective is to ensure that neither White men nor minority women are disenfranchised by D&I programs. Her newest National Science Foundation (NSF)-sponsored project examines psychological and institutional predictors of minorities’ retention within computing fields. Her research has received recognition and funding from numerous organizations like NSF, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the American Psychological Association, and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.

She received her PhD and MS in Social Psychology and BAs in Psychology and International Studies, all from Yale University.

For more, keep up with Erin on Twitter as @ErinLThomasPhD.

The Inclusive Leaders’ Playbook: Everyday Actions to Leverage Diversity & Engage Teams

This interactive practicum will equip leaders with accessible strategies and tangible tools for performing inclusion. We will apply diversity research to establish best practices for structuring communications, meetings and daily behaviors that optimize diverse perspectives and fully engage all team members. Participants will depart empowered and prepared to positively impact their workplace climates.

Gail Swanson

Gail Swanson
Director of Strategy, 18F

Finding a better way, a happier way to do something is in Gail’s DNA. She couldn’t stop if she wanted to. She guides teams to look deeper, and learn about the people they serve to create technology that helps.

Gail has applied her strategy focused approach to design in a wide range of industries; molding technology into usable systems for humans. She is currently serving her country as Director of Strategy at 18F.

For more, keep up with Gail at practicallyux.com or on Twitter as @practicallyUX.

Designer in the Machine

Big organizations have a reputation as stifling and lonely places where design careers sputter. The structure required to become successful on a large scale traditionally left little room for creative exploration. These places are awakening to the value of design. They are looking to designers to transform their cubicled caverns into design led enterprises. Changing culture is hard, especially when you bring people who think differently together. But we already have the skills to get this done. Using the same user centered tactics that we use to design products and services, designers are creating change. Gail will show how to extend design thinking, empathy, and collaboration to thrive as a designer and be a happy part of something big.

Ian Swinson

Ian Swinson
Global Head of UX, Anaplan

Over the past 20+ years Ian Swinson has balanced his time between agencies, startups and enterprise software companies. As the first designer at Salesforce.com he was instrumental in growing the UX team to over 100. Initially focused on design excellence Ian’s transition to a full-time management position allowed him to turn the UX process on itself with the goal of designing better teams and processes.

He is active in the design community speaking at numerous events about pattern libraries, design in an agile world, and his foundational work in establishing a common framework for UX careers with the goal of supporting individual contributors and managers alike in helping everyone design their dream job.

As a Canadian and a graduate of McGill University’s Film & Communications you are more than welcome to count the number of times he says “sorry” and ask about his favorite SCTV sketch.

For more, keep up with Ian at ianswinson.com or on Twitter as @iswinson.

Careers by Design

We spend a great deal of time talking about design language, design tools, and technological developments and trends, but relatively little on planning and nurturing our careers. Maybe this gap is because there is not a good “language” to help us talk about career planning and aid in managing these discussions.

Ian has been working on a framework to help employees define, design, monitor, and grow their careers. The primary goal of the framework is to establish a broad set of guidelines to assist managers as they support employees. It is useful for people who want to focus on one core skill, as well as those interested in more multi-disciplinary roles or (eventually) management.

Kristin Skinner

Kristin Skinner
Managing Director, Adaptive Path / Head of Design Management, Capital One

Kristin Skinner is Managing Director at Adaptive Path where she established and leads the Design Program Management practice. She has shaped and lead over 40 of the firm’s most strategic and complex projects and programs working directly with C-suite stakeholders in the Fortune 50. She is also Head of Design Management at Capital One, an emerging function to address rapid growth in the design organization and deliver end-to-end customer experiences that improve people’s lives. She has extensive experience recruiting, hiring, and managing designers, and shaping design organizations and operations for optimal effectiveness, in both consulting and in-house contexts, and in companies of various sizes.

Before joining Adaptive Path, Kristin worked as a Design Manager at Microsoft in their ground-breaking Pioneer Studios. Kristin co-programs and hosts the MX Conference, has spoken at UX Week, and recently gave a sold-out workshop at MX15 on this subject. She is the co-author of Org Design for Design Orgs to be published in 2016 by O’Reilly.

For more, keep up with Kristin at adaptivepath.com or on Twitter as @bettay.

Org Design for Design Orgs: Building & Managing In-House Teams

As organizations continue to establish and mature their in-house design teams, it turns out there’s very little common wisdom on what makes for a successful design organization. Books and presentations tend to focus on process, methods, tools, and outcomes, leaving a gap of knowledge when it comes to organizational and operational matters.

In this talk, Kristin Skinner will share her personal experience as a design leader who is driven by the challenge of organizational design. She will share stories on the benefits and challenges of working in both consulting and in-house, and will leave you with practical tips to build and lead your design teams and organization.

Rebecca Miller-Webster

Rebecca Miller-Webster
Practice Lead, DevMynd

Rebecca Miller-Webster is a software engineer, conference organizer, and educator. She is the founder of Write/Speak/Code and Practice Lead at DevMynd. Rebecca has been developing software professionally for over a dozen years, previously organized GORUCO, and was the founding teacher at Dev Bootcamp NYC. Rebecca’s hobbies include drinking Cherry Coke Zero, wearing trousers, telling computers what to do, cuddling pugs, and wearing all the colors.

For more, keep up with Rebecca at rebeccamiller-webster.com or on Twitter as @rmillerwebster.

Frameworks of Feedback

Design and code reviews, retros, and performance reviews — all acknowledge the importance of communication and feedback and they are a good start. But they don’t tell you how to give negative feedback or ensure that you, as a teammate or manager, hear the small things before they become big things.

Let’s talk about feedback and examine frameworks for how to ask for and frame feedback effectively. Not all situations call for the same type of feedback and some are more sensitive than others. We will look at Non-violent communication, techniques from family and marriage therapy, as well as more traditional frameworks for feedback.

Xavier Wynn

Xavier Wynn
Group Creative Director, Manifest

For the past 25+ years, Xavier has driven successful brand solutions for a range of Fortune 500 companies. Currently a Group Creative Director at Manifest, he is a proven leader in overseeing experience, design and content teams, as well as in developing brands, creative strategy, visual-system design, interface development, social marketing, online advertising and marketing programs, video, and gaming. He is a passionate designer, storyteller and creative thinker. And he believes that understanding how people think, feel and act is the key to uncovering needs that provide the foundation for innovative experiences, which ultimately build strong brand relationships.

Moving Fast with the Ultimate Driving Machine

We will review the good, the bad and the ugly of the agile process through a BMW case study: BMW wanted to launch a new connected car at CES 2016. They asked Manifest to help introduce an agile, customer-centric design processes into their organization to achieve this goal.

Lightning

Amanda Schonfeld

Amanda Schonfeld
Design Recruiting Lead, 18F

Amanda Schonfeld is a talent acquistion nerd. Hiring designers is her true love, but she also spends quality time with technologists, strategists, product folks, and client services people too. She possesses an uncanny ability to professionally matchmake. Amanda resides in Chicago where she hunkers down during winter with her entertaining husband, Dan, and their two fur kids.

For more, keep up with Amanda on Twitter as @aschonfeld.

A Human Centered Approach to Talent Acquisition

People are the foundation of great organizations. Yet when it comes time to invest in the process of finding and vetting the right people to grow and develop our organizations, too many times it feels like a chore. How do we bring joy and a human centered approach to this process? Amanda will show examples of collaboration and experimentation that have helped the team at 18F to double in size in a year.

Amy Cueva

Amy Cueva
Founder & Chief Experience Officer, Mad*Pow

Amy Cueva believes that design can improve the human condition. It was with that mission and vision that she co-founded Mad*Pow in 2000 and has built an award-winning design and digital agency which serves industries from health to financial services and beyond.

But quite apart from having spend the last 15 years building her company Mad*Pow, Amy lives in a wide variety of different spheres, including sidelining as a belly dance performer and constantly exploring new avenues to positively impact human health. Amy spoke about this diverse mix of careers, projects, and hobbies at the 2015 Design for Dance conference.

Amy plays an essential role in Mad*Pow’s visualization of a changed healthcare system in the United States. Her work with large healthcare companies has helped to improve customer experience, leverage design to drive change, and facilitate human-centric innovation. As the chief instigator behind an annual health and design conference HX Refactored, Amy has successfully connected and networked disparate parts of a challenging and soiled system.

Purpose Driven Design

How can we work together to deliver meaningful change? Design is an invitation to change. It helps us get from where we are to where we want to be. Although empathy has achieved buzzword status, it is a philosophy, not a trend. This talk will explore how empathy can inspire our direction as individuals, fuel purpose driven business innovation, and even guide us to make change at the societal level. New twists for integrating empathy into our work will be evaluated and discussed.

Chris Avore

Chris Avore
Associate Vice President, Product Design, 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 five 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.

Chris is co-authoring a design management and leadership book to be published by Rosenfeld Media in early 2017.

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

Managing Design Leadership

As more companies invest in design teams to differentiate themselves, the demand for design leadership and management has never been more needed than it is today. But there are several different paths and perspectives to establishing yourself as a design leader, regardless if you manage a team or project—or are even interested in managing people at all.

Gain another lens in which to view design leadership—both in yourself and your team—and learn how to take advantage of the similarities and differences between managing design and design leadership.

Tanseela Molani

Tanseela Molani
Sr. Manager, Design Research & Accessibility, United Airlines

Tanseela leads the design research and universal design efforts at United Airlines. The research team informs the vision, experience and execution of inspiring, useful, and profitable travel products and services. The accessibility team ensures universal design throughout design and development cycle.

In her three years at United, she has successfully positioned design research, and its methods, as the means of centering the user in the business and design development process to ensure viability, desirability, and usefulness of a feature or product.

With over 16 years of design research experience, the questions that strive to uncover and understand the underlying motivations of people, why do they do what they do, never gets old. These are the things that drive behavior. She uses this understanding to start conversations that will ultimately lead to improved experiences.

Design Researcher as (the most) Super (of all) Heroes

What do Deadpool, Superman, Elastic Man, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Multiple Man and a Design Researcher have in common? Super powers!

Yes, Design Researchers have super powers, and they may be the best super hero of them all! While most super heroes have only one or two powers, immortality, x-ray vision, elasticity, re-animation and replication are all super powers of the Design Researcher. And, these powers are used for good.

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

  • Rosenfeld Media
  • Simplecast
  • Columbia College Chciago
  • MOMENT Design

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

Be respectful of other people; respectfully ask people to stop if you are bothered; and if you can’t resolve an issue contact the organizers. If you are being a problem, it will be apparent and you’ll be asked to leave.