"Being a Part of Something Bigger"

#WDDC16 Design Swarm Will Pay Homage to Nohemi Gonzalez

The Industrial Designers Society of America's West District Design Conference (#WDDC16) Design Swarm this year is dedicated to Nohemi Gonzalez, the American industrial design student who was killed in the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, France. The California State University-Long Beach (CSULB) junior attended last year’s IDSA WDDC in San Jose, CA and expressed her appreciation for the conference and specifically for the Design Swarm. led then by Surya Vanka, IDSA.

“This year, we will pay homage to Nohemi,” says WDDC Chair Jason Belaire, IDSA Board of Directors West District VP. “We should use this time to invest in each other; break down any barriers that impede on our ability to succeed; and be a part of something bigger then ourselves so we can give back.”

The Swarm is set for 6-10pm on Friday, April 1. It will be kicked off by a hands-on workshop by Jeff Smith, IDSA, of Autodesk, and Amber Goelst, of Wacom (a Bronze-level sponsor and an exhibitor at all five, 2016 IDSA District Design Conferences), sharing how to sketch a visual language and showing the importance of capturing rapid ideas on a screen. 

Then Swarm leaders will provide pertinent information to each team in rapid succession so no one can research ahead of time and have an unfair advantage. Participants will receive the necessary data points and have expert advisors on hand to help direct questions. “This is an open-sourced event,” describes Belaire. “When the mind is blocked with the need to keep things private or self promoting, there is an important element of the process that’s lost. When we go into a situation and let go of preconceived notions, the experience is elevated to an unimaginable level and you walk away a better person.”

The Swarm will offer tremendous value to students and professionals alike—diving deep into problem solving while all egos are left at the door. Belaire says creativity and amazing energy will surge through attendees when they experience fewer filters then the every day routine. “You’ll get caught up in the moment and time will stand still—all the while, the pressure and intensity of the Design Swarm is demanding results. This might sound like a juxtaposition, but they do exist alongside each other. I think this was one dynamic to which Nohemi gravitated.”

Students will learn early on how to avoid pitfalls; consultants can use the technique to engage a client and provide a dynamic way to problem solve; and corporate designers can team build and bring other departments together that may not connect otherwise.