This year’s international industrial design conference, was held here in Chicago last week, and the IDSA asked me to graphic record the kick-off day. Above are the results from 11+ lectures including some smart talks from Pensa, Dean Kamen, InventablesJohn Bielenberg of Future, and others. These were all drawn “whiteboard-style” on 40”x60” boards in real-time as the lectures were presented. Enjoy.

The other fun part about having an IDSA conference here was that the entire city was overrun with creative directors and designers from some of the world’s biggest brands and best design agencies. Being that my roots are in industrial design, It’s always fun to run into people I haven’t seen in ages. It’s also been while since I have been to an industrial design-specific conference, so it was interesting to step back into the industry conversation. In some ways they were talking about the right things (opening the design process, using crowdfunding tools, and the maker movement). But of course there were also a handful of myopic discussions around “trusting your gut” vs “following strategy”, misguided thoughts on the “uselessness” of brainstorming, as well as some Monday-morning quarterbacking on the “simplicity” of successful innovations. (That one always gets me fired up—everything seems so simple at a 10,000 foot view.)

I have long felt like a “post-industrial designer” after working at two extreme ends of the industry—a design entrepreneur/maker and a design-thinker. So it was encouraging to hear designers expressing views on industrial design that started to overlap with my own views on the industry. Even if I don’t consider myself a traditional industrial designer, my heart will always be in shaping ideas and bringing them to life—but maybe in a way that’s always just a little left of center.