We took some time out to talk with Austen Angell, IDSA, chair of the IDSA 2012 International Conference, to get the scoop on this year's international conference.
1. What made you decide to accept the appointment from Chairman George McCain, FIDSA to chair the international conference?
This year's conference is being held in Boston, which is one of the great design cities in the world and home to some of the world's best designers, technologists and creatives. It's also part of the birth story of our democracy: A democracy that has fueled so much of the innovation benefitting humanity for the last 200 years. I can't imagine a better city to explore the future of design's creative contributions.
2. How have you been preparing for this year’s international conference?
I have been flying back and forth to Boston (at my own expense, not the society's) to meet with the terrific planning committee as well as members of the Boston design community. It's a massive effort. We want the vibrancy of the design community in Boston to inspire everyone who comes to this conference. Follow the twitter feed @idsaboston2012 and add your ideas to the dialog.
3. Who are your committee members and what are they doing?
Answering this question feels like giving an acceptance speech at the Oscars. There are so many people contributing right now. Jordan Nollman (Sprout), Betsy Goodrich (Manta Design) and Jeremy Ogg (Litecontrol, Boston Chapter Chair) have done an amazing job rallying the Boston community. Danielle Perretty (Essential), Chris Parke (Rubbermaid, Southern DVP), Steve Wilcox (Design Science) and Jim Couch (Lextant) have provided exceptional advice on organizing structure and planning. Sooshin Choi (incoming Education VP) and Mary Beth Privitera (Education VP) are making sure that the education community influences the dialog. Chris, Sean, Alex, Brian Vogel (Brian Vogel Consulting) and Akshay Sharma (Virginia Tech) have been passionate advocates for the wealth of content that's been created, and there are many people others deserving of credit.
4. Why did you pick the title “The Future Is…?”
When the economy goes south, designers are often like the canary in the coal mine: our industry tends to feel it first. Why shouldn't we be the creative energy leading industry out of the other end of the tunnel? The future is... a dialog we should take ownership of as designers.
5. What are some of the tracks for this year’s international conference?
This whole conference is focused on a higher level of interaction between the attendees than in the past. The track planning teams are creating dialogs that run throughout the conference on the future of Health and Wellness, Medical design, Social impact, Sustainability, Learning, Thinking, Education and the Business of Design. There are inspirational sessions as well as true "meat and potato" sessions, which will improve your craft.
6. What are some of the outside activities planned so far?
There is a lot in development. What I can tell you is that there will be studio tours all over the city. I will be in Boston on Feb. 2 to join over 55 designers representing over 20 Boston companies and firms to continue the work of planning offsite activity and tours. Jordan has been working tirelessly spearheading the effort to engage and celebrate all that is exciting in the Boston design community.
7. Why Boston?
In addition to vibrant design, Boston is one of the greatest cities on the planet and a it's great family destination... this would be the conference to bring the whole family and make a vacation around of it. There aren't enough good things to say about it. Plus, they have great lobster rolls and chowder.
8. Who should attend?
Designers looking for an edge - anyone who plans to lead the design dialog in the future, rather then just follow it.