DBA Gaining The Edge

17th December 2009

Last week I was lucky enough to be sent down South to the little village of London to attend the inaugural Design for Business Association ‘Edge’ event. 2 days of workshops, seminars and trapeze flying – yes, i did say trapeze flying – this was no ordinary event! Other activities included tightrope walking, creating a human bottling production line and having lunch with the great and good of the Design world.

Day one was a series of workshops run by experts in the fields of Project Management, Concept Development, Creative Writing and Pitching. Restricted to attend just two of these, I went for the Project Management workshop ┬áled by David Rivett and Concept Development workshop with Patrick Collister – both very prominent figures in the world of Design. Both workshops were very interesting and I gained some valuable knowledge in the respective areas. I have to say I was also reassured that a lot of what was covered is already in place at Projector – we must be doing something right!

Day two was something altogether different to anything I have attended before. The venue was called Circus Space – the name itself left me a little un-nerved but equally intrigued as to what the day had in store. I arrived early and was shown into what can only be described as a gym with circus objects hanging from the ceiling and soft mats lying around the walls. As the room filled I began to recognise some famous faces from the industry; to name but a few there was Erik Spiekermann, Howard Milton, Michael C Place, Mary Lewis, Michael Wolff, Oliverio Toscani, Tim Molloy and Morag Myerscough – I could go on!

Throughout the day we had direct access to these people and they even joined in on some of the perhaps less educational, but certainly very entertaining exercises along with everybody else. I certainly didn’t expect to see Michael C Place bunny hopping a fellow attendee first thing in the morning!

A number of talks were held throughout the day by some unexpected but surprisingly relevant and very insightful guests. Baroness Susan Greenfield (Director of the Oxford Centre for the Science of the Mind) who explored the links between creativity and the mind was incredibly interesting and it was great to look at creativity from a scientific point of view. Gary Lee (Head Chef of the Ivy) and his team talked about working under pressure and teamwork, they also put together some delicious food samples which disappeared all too quickly!

The design pioneers also took to the stage (and in one case stood behind everyone) to talk about their experiences and impart their knowledge and wisdom. These were great and it’s always inspiring to listen to prominent people in the industry who have succeeded and in many cases led the way. A highlight of the day was the discussion on stage between several of the pioneers about “what does success look like to you?” – again it was great to hear their responses. At one point a discussion between Toscani and Spiekermann developed into an argument, this went on for a while and over shadowed some of the other speakers but none the less it was good to see people so passionate about the industry. Unfortunately this was over too quickly, I would have been intrigued to hear more about their experiences and points of view.

I found the whole event very enjoyable and would highly recommend it. You would be hard pushed to come away without gaining some tips and techniques, not to mention a huge dose of inspiration from listening to such prominent speakers.