After the fun adventures of Tuesday, I got a great nights sleep and was ready to begin my first full day of HOW Design LIVE. I met up with my recently graduated student employee Harley and we tracked down a quick breakfast. Then it was time for the morning spark session and keynote. The spark sessions are new this year and are a quick 15 minute way to get you prepared and ready for the day.

Sonja Rasula, Founder of Unique USA, Camp and Unique Space, came in ready to make everyone get weird and uncomfortable. Dancing and holding hands and staring into strangers eyes, yep it was an introverts nightmare. It did exactly what a spark session should do, got everyone up, jumping around, and ready for a day of creativity and inspiration.

This was a BRILLIANT way to “spark” our #creativity this morning! Keeping it weird at #HOWLive! (PS-@sonjarasula-we just watched your Instagram story and are thrilled to hear u feel like Beyonce bc so many people are now coming up to you on the street! #Repost @amgood25 with @repostapp ・・・ She had us do the wave, hold hands and stare into the eyes of our neighbor, dance, and jump. Dear lord, my comfort zone. But it’s ok, because @sonjarasula played @jtosevivre ‘s song in the end. #whatawonderfulworld #howlive

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Frank Chimero, Design Director at Abstract, was the first keynote of the day. His story of fame came by chance and by wanting to be known. By making a simple text re-write to a New Yorker comic, he created a viral post that took over the nation. His discovery that he could add the caption “Hi, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” to any New Yorker comic, launched a nationwide trend that was even acknowledged and accepted by the New Yorker itself.

Frank Chimero presenting at HOW Design Live 2017
Frank Chimero presenting at HOW Design Live 2017

Split out sessions then began after the keynote. There are 6 sessions to choose from during each time slot. 2 sessions really held my attention and stood out during the day.

Building a Strong Brand Through Collaboration: A Starbucks Panel

Starbucks Panel: HOW Design 2017
Starbucks Panel: HOW Design 2017

The Starbucks panel was with many of the big names on both the in-house marketing and design side. They stressed that in their international organization, they move quickly, and have to engage in some of the most impressive collaboration efforts I’ve ever dreamed of. They focus on a long term vision by enacting short term tactics. What this means is a new promotion about every 8 weeks.

Their success comes from clearly defined goals and objectives. Once these are established, they bring everyone to the table, and I mean everyone. Anyone in the company is referred to as a partner and is able to give their feedback to the creative and marketing groups. With the creative studio housing roughly 180 employees creating 200-300 pieces of signage per campaign, it is extremely clear why they are as powerful of a brand as Starbucks is.

One of my favorite parts of their session was they brought up (and owned) the Holiday Red Cup PR nightmare of 2015. It was great to get some insider information as to how the cups (and why) the campaign was released. Honestly, the blank cups made total sense, the problem with the campaign was the explanation or the background as to “why”. By featuring blank red cups, they hoped that customers would draw and design their own holiday design, as traditionally seen with their white cups. However, without that educational component to the campaign, it was twisted and sent on a spiral. To overcome that issue, in 2016, Starbucks held an informal call to action for customers to submit their designs through Instagram. They got over 1500 entries in only 5 days, and chose 13 to be featured on cups worldwide. 

The power of collaboration, free thinking, and quick promotions, have clearly lead to success for Starbucks and it doesn’t look like they are slowing down anytime soon (I’m talking about you, Unicorn Frapp).

Career Crossroads: Navigating Your Next Professional Move

Diane Domeyer - TCG: HOW Design 2017
Diane Domeyer – TCG: HOW Design 2017

Diane Domeyer from The Creative Group gave a great presentation on dealing with career crossroads. Whether it is a job to job, a completely different industry, or going out on your own, she provided great tips on how to make it all worth while. She stated that “(It’s) not a career path, it’s a career journey.” This quote really struck me because we think of paths being so linear. Your career choices in life are rarely linear as you develop new skills and find new and exciting opportunities.

TCG’s latest research showed that creatives want fulfillment in their jobs. That is the key. 30% of creatives are currently leaving their jobs because they have limited opportunity for growth. It wasn’t salary, it wasn’t long hours, it was about growth and job fulfillment, which was really shocking and unexpected.

Diane gave 5 tips to maintain your spark which really struck home with me as well:

  1. Find Your Passion – do what makes you happy
  2. Deepen Connections – a job is a job, but fulfillment is based on emotions – so connect!
  3. Mix It Up – Don’t get stuck in a rut, try new things, challenge yourself
  4. Show Gratitude – Karma, show gratitude and you’ll receive it
  5. Sweeten The Pot – check the reports and don’t ever undervalue yourself

On top of other tips and tricks, Diane provided a challenge for the creatives in the room to

answer the following questions:

I’ll know I’ve arrived when….

The perfect workday for me would entail…

Then once you’ve answered these, set a goal for yourself. Then ask yourself why 5 times, digging deeper into your previous answer each time. When you do this, you’ll find your true motivation, ambition, and reason for going forward. Once you do this, from this point, you can then set yourself up to be successful.

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