SIC 2014 Timmy Full

We sent a cadre of people to to this year's Seattle Interactive Conference. We then had them summarize the highlights of their experience. Now we share those highlights with you.

The Making of a School

It was pretty remarkable to hear the story behind Lake Washington Girls Middle School and the principles they're leveraging to help steer their curriculum. The processes by which we work everyday are being ingrained into the school's community, which by itself is a really positive harbinger of the innovation that this next generation will bring to the world. dr

Activated Spaces: Dynamic Environments, Content and Data

Presented by David Schwarz of Hush, he shared some of the work they are doing with technology and modifying the way a user interacts with a space. In his words, they "make interactive spaces that are design focused." Schwarz also described the transition from physical to digital as a gradient, not a hard line. He continued to show examples of Hush's work, the most interesting of which was one where they used light to communicate the flow of information from device to device (used Lyve as the example). kf

Finding Your Single Story

Goldie Jones of Subversionz Media and Lindsay Daniels of Lindsay Daniels Design tackled both the emotional and scientific keys to effective storytelling. While their experience was based in the world of video and advertising, their overall themes were more universal and applied to all forms of communication where the goal is to create resonance and deep engagement with the audience. dp

More to Coffee than Coffee

Coffee = automatic highlight. It was also a really great look into how campaigns have transformed over time, specifically at Starbucks, and how taking cues from your customer will always point you in the right direction to create something much bigger and much more meaningful. dr

Bullseye Branding

Richard Tait is a very passionate and inspiring man. He found his first success with the board game Cranium, which has won multiple awards. With Cranium, Tait found the value of branding and went as far as to make a custom Cranium game for a couple's wedding to maintain the brand loyalty. Today he works on the drink Golazo, which fills a gap in the energy drink market by targeting three underserved demographics, the soccer, Latino and "all natural" communities. Tait gave some examples of how their original packaging did not speak to these demographics and since redoing Golazo's packaging to target them, they have seen 50% growth month after month. kf

Guerrilla Culture Reform: Instigate Change in Your Organization

Over the last year or so, company culture discussion has jumped into the mainstream. As such, we can dive deeper than we could a year ago. Not every talk on the topic at SIC did so, but this one, by Portland's Michelle Rowley of Cultivate & Co. explored the topic of employee engagement and what it means for both individuals and organizations, offering up tips for how individuals could positively influence their own situation. A wonderful session all-around, made better by the later conversations I had with the speaker. dp

The Maker Movement

I was cautiously optimistic on how SIC would capitalize on the maker movement, but I got my moment when talking to a young start-up founder on the floor. He has a company (boogio) and an idea (smart insoles) but he's not sure what he wants to do with the product or the data it'll eventually produce. If people buy in, he'll get a wealth of insights on how people walk, train, stand, balance, etc. It reinforced the idea that makers can only take it so far before collaborators are needed. It was a nice reminder to leave with. dr

The Power of the Prototype

The last lecture of the day proved to be the most impactful for me. Paul Conder of Lenati spoke about the importance of prototyping and how it belongs in all stages of the design process (discovery > ideation > testing). The idea being that the further down the process of design, things begin to get more precise and specified. Conder believes that specification is the death of creativity - "We do not work creatively in CAD." Working in software is a linear process (what we find "comfortable") and creativity can not take place there. Creativity is found and released with sketching and the materials of prototyping, with simple materials like foam. kf

The People

Between my conversations with speakers, organizers, and other attendees, I was thoroughly impressed by the talent level of those involved with this year's SIC. I had some wonderful conversations (both work-related and not), and made the sorts of connections that would have been much harder to make in a non-conference setting. I definitely left excited about all that Seattle has to offer. dp


  • dp: Donte Parks, VP of Culture

  • dr: Dan Romanov, Senior Strategist

  • kf: Kevin Fox, Designer