Jason and Steve Kickoff Dent 2017 Photo by Kris Krug

Unpacking Dent 2017

For the third year in a row, I’m back in my office with an overwhelming number of vibrant thoughts from Dent. At the moment, they’re not quite connecting — more like colliding — their way to new perspectives which will influence myself and the agency for the rest of the year. It’s part of the Dent power… the post-Dent effect is equally as powerful as the event itself. For once I finally want to share a few takeaways that are indeed as random as the collisions I’m experiencing myself.

“When things are abnormal, it reveals the assumptions.” — Ani Liu

We all have a moment of “aha”. But rarely do you have a constant 30-minutes worth of “aha’s”. Ani’s presentation on Design Fiction was 30-minutes of aha’s that are still resonating. Ideas like… we shape our tools, which then tools shape us; we can use design to answer questions; we have decided what it means to be human; there is no such thing as neutral design; and finally, how fiction informs fact. How Ani has pushed the edge of Design Thinking is inspiring and built a new edge of my own understanding.

Story runs deeper than pages.

“Storytelling” as a concept has become trendy for marketing communities. So much so that it has lost its meaning, a disappointing realization considering story can be a powerful tool. I’ve been reminded there’s more uses than marketing strategy. Frame challenges with story. Frame presentations with story. And finally, what story are you framing about your own journey? Reflect if it may be more worthwhile to have an honest, imperfect version.

The power of understanding flow.

This was a consistent theme from several presenters — from chef, to VR leader, to technologists — in the importance of harnessing flow. It impacts every facet of experience. Especially on the human level, this state is to reach a deeper sequence of mental energy that we don’t harness enough. I’m still diving into the concept, but Denter Crystal has spent years with the subject — exploring it more in the VR space.

Re-framing with Six Hats of Thinking.

I jumped quickly into a thoughtful conversation with Denter Zach whose current work brings innovation into companies. Hearing his take on the Six Hats of Thinking sparked a new way to re-frame creative discussions. Using the principles of color to represent a perspective, it allows you to switch (or help someone switch) feedback loops quickly. I happily realized this will have major impact on process improvements for the year, as well as my personal reflection on Design Thinking.

Inevitability of change.

I’m cataloging “change” for selfish reasons, as to not forget this was a significant theme repeating itself. 2017 will be a significant year of change for me and I must remember a few key sparks…

  • People hate change (thanks Markos)
  • Diverse change is critical (thanks Shaherose)
  • Founding partners are crucial to laying framework for change (more thanks to Shaherose)
  • Embrace sudden change as it may lead to altering your path (thanks Gale)
  • Finally, know that through it all your own spirit will prosper through the change (thanks Ellen)

Open community is beautiful.

This is the beauty of Dent that you really need to be engrossed in to understand. For four days straight, there are open hearts to share and receive. No matter what your background is, no matter what your title is, there is something to share among us from a personal or professional level. Open community can’t be forced but only given the ability to thrive. You will forever crave more. You will aspire to build your own. You will realize the simplicity of shared empathy among humans.

Making a dent means you forgot what it was like before the dent.
- Shaherose Charania
Yes — we launched rockets with real-life space experts. Photo by Kris Krug
Opening Reception Dinner Photo by Kris Krug
Conference Sessions Photo by Kris Krug
Unconference Sessions Photo by Kris Krug
Me focused on how the hell to build a rocket Photo by Kris Krug

Interested in attending Dent 2018? It’s moving to Napa Valley in February 2018 for the first time in the conference’s history! Once you learn about Dent, feel free to contact me with any attendee questions. As long as you know you’re an open book ready for editing, you will enjoy the experience.

And a special thank you to Experiences for Mankind who believes in my personal development so much that they send me to Dent.

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