Recap Winter-Spring 2017 DesignTech

DesignTech talk is part of the broader mission of R&D iD_Farm to instigate subjects that matter for society or human-centric design. The event is free and open to anyone. The monthly gathering happens in the elegant room of Axance with beers and munchies.

It is a platform for participants to do the networking foremost of all and provide different perspectives on a particular topic. Our intent was to have international flavours as many of the meet-ups in France is very much France-centric. We made specifically for this first 6 months to European-centric views.


We kicked off our event with the well-respected interaction designer and founder of Design Intéractifs, the French professional organization created in 2006, Benoit Drouillat. He has gracefully introduced to the local community our conference through his presentation on CES 2016 and the origin of Interaction Design.

What is Interaction Design?

The Topics

We invited the best of the breeds in technology and design field. Our focus was on the individual talent behind the product or service, who they are and how they came to do what they do. People often talks about the object itself and less on their professional path which is often surprising.

The topics and list of guest speakers show our fundamental belief in the diversity and not to be clustered in technology or business fields (FinTech, IoT, Bots, Agile, UX, etc. ) specifics.

Myriel Milicevic
An artist and interaction designer from Berlin. With her Neighbourhood Satellites, she explores the hidden connections between people and their natural, social, and technical environments. These explorations are mostly of a participatory nature and manifest in practical-utopian models, processes, and stories.

Out of Soilmade from soil / not having soil by Myriel Millicevic

Jean-Baptiste Labrune
A researcher and consultant specialized in creativity and innovation introduces *Design Fiction*, a method that combines storytelling and design principles.

The book that defined the design method of Design Fiction by Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby

Priscila Ferreira
Recently graduated from the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, she presents an exploratory toy created for pre-schoolers. The digital toy, project, grows with a unique perspective of the world: a reflection of the kid’s point of view: empowering children with the possibility of teaching something.

Akemi Tazaki (myself)
Moving forward from user-centered design to society-centered design for the age of Artificial Intelligence. I provided some of the key design considerations while creating an agent interface. I admit I have re-used the contents of what I have presented at Botscamp 2016 below. I vulgarized it more so that is more entertaining visually for the happy hour time.

Conclusion for Tips for designing AI agent

Justin Tauber
Introduction to the Cynefin theory of design management which contradicts the hypothesis there is just one good answer on how to manage design. In fact, the management theory itself has moved beyond this assumption, by recognizing that management takes place in situations which are plural, ambiguous and complex.

Astrid Van der Flier
Introduction to Microcred, a digital finance company focusing on financial inclusion in Africa and China, to “Human Centred Design”. She shared the techniques of human-centered design she used to build the banking service in Africa. Alumni of Ideo agency, her stories tells a story of how a designer helps to shape the business through design thinking.

Nicholas Zambetti
Co-founder of Astep, a lighting design company that works at the intersection of technology and product design tradition. He talked about the path from being digital interaction designer to designing lighting objects.

Elsa looking at Astep Nox lamp shown by Nicholas Zambetti

Mathias Dahlström
“Design in the near future, build in the present. Life inside the cooperate innovation lab”. He shares rare to see the R&D probes and experimentation in major innovation centers he worked on around the globe in the domain of wearable technology, smart AI search, etc.

He helps Cute Circuit wearable brand and many others for imagining the future of wearable

Lessons learned in event organization

Intimate experience by icebreaker

As a product and service designer, creating a community event has been so far rewarding but also steep learning curves. Each event requires lots of energy, thinking behind creating an engaging live experience for the audience. Isn’t this “Experience Design” that “UX Designer” supposed to excel?

Playing story catch ice breaker

I remained casual cutting any public speech on why ID_Farm is doing this DesignTech talk or why as an entity selected this persons. We starts the evening with an icebreaker before the start of the talk so that people get to know who are sitting next to them, and the speakers know also who they are.

So far, we had had positive feedbacks from the participants by creating an intimate experience with this method.

In meet-up page, “I am going” button is simply a “Like” button

We have not too large and not too small number of people (30 ~50), there were a handful of people who came at every event (Thank you).

One of the difficulties is to understand how many people comes when they show interest on the Meetup page. We thought that is 50% people saying Yes actually come to the event. But sometimes it is 30%, one time it was 70%. It is still something we need to understand the actual turn ups.

To overcome the gap between the desire to attend and to taking action on that desire, I am very much tempted now to experiment with a psychological 3 euros (or 5 euros) pay for the event to get a stable number of the audience. Anyone out there can share experience in organizing a successful event? Paid or Free?

Is it about integrating terminology-topics that are over-rated such as “Design Thinking,” “UX,” “Bots,” “Innovation”?

People do not eat that much

The talk is at after work hour from 18h30ish to 21h30ish. We provide free beers and nice cooked apéritifs that include meat or vegetables on a skewer as well as chips and desert.

Beers tend to go fast. People do not touch food that much. Maybe I have many body conscious people in the audience. If they eat it would be carb types of food and meat. We always had vegetables left over.. .

Q&A half-success

I thought French audience would be keen on taking the chance to stand up to speak up to share either similar experiences or comments to express their opinions. However, people were not that keen on asking questions or bringing their own perspective.

I believe people need to be guided to ask questions. So, I would prepare more questions in advance so that I ask more than one question to loosen up the audience. Maybe, a round table type of format would ease them to jump in for Q&A as it would be already by design on a question.

Nice weather is not good for event happening inside

I was expecting to see more people on some of the interesting interventions. I have invited really talented people who are rare to come by in France. 
I cannot go against the French “Joie de Vivre”, embracing a nice weather on a café terrace. . .

Autumn 2017

I hope to continue the event as long as the local community wants and our sponsor company Axance let us support to enrich the Paris DesignTech community.

I am preparing the talks for Autumn, September to December. My first thought is designing an event format for people with family, as well as round table type of format to overcome the lack of lively Q&A .

Please, if you have any suggestion, do not hesitate to suggest me in the comment section.