Women's Design Salon Recap
Last month, we looked into the future. verynice Women's Design Salon: Future Tech, was one of our best events yet, thanks to the women that contributed their time and talents to facilitate and attend the event.
And here's a great recap of the event by verynice design intern, Zoe Berman:
I am still buzzing from last month’s Women’s Design Salon hosted by verynice at General Assembly. The energy and enthusiasm brought into the room by 50 or so women that night was palpable and gave us even more to feed off of than the complimentary Porto’s and Califia Farms goodies. The event kicked off with an exciting panel discussion moderated by UX designer and GA instructor, Kat Hargreaves, who used her questions to shape a sort of hero’s journey out of each panelists’ life and career in technology. The subtle–and at times, not so subtle–biases that we face every day in the tech industry were at the forefront of the discussion and the women in attendance were challenged to “put themselves in that space.”
Designer Stephanie Cedeño tells through the story of the everyday through her work, looking beyond big tech and focusing on the microlevel, the banalities of our everyday lives. When asked how she challenges her own discomfort, she encouraged the room to “go at it with your own perspective.” Noting that we don’t know yet what future tech looks like, so we can use our perspective to decide how it looks and feels.
Jillian Switzer of AirMap admitted that she’s learned a lot from the men in her life, highlighting the value of networking and making lateral moves rather than climbing the ladder. She recommended we all read Smartcuts by Shane Snow.
Noa Kaplan, an artist, researcher, and educator, shared with us her real world examples of how biases in tech and big institutions can actually take away from us some of the positive impact the advancements the tech industry has offered.
After the panel–which no one wanted to end– we broke out into small groups and what was already an incredible night got even better. Facilitators used an ad lib game to build a prompt to challenge each group. My group had three minutes to imagine that "in an 'exciting' future, there will be technology relating to 'picnics'." We came up some exciting ideas: drones that would deliver baskets at an annual picnic day, VR and experiential technology that would bring travel and the outdoors to everyone regardless of finances and physical ability, applications that would bring picnic goers together, and smart refrigerators that would pack your picnic lunch for you. Following the prompt we discussed the future of technology; the pros and cons of bringing a sense of empathy into AI like Siri and Alexa, the generational divide built inherently into today’s tech, the inevitable elimination of jobs thanks to automation and how humans will spend their time if they don’t have to earn a living any more.
Photography by Samantha Becker
A very special thanks to all that contributed to the inspiration.
Our friends and partners:
General Assembly Los Angeles
Our incredible moderator:
Katharine Hargreaves, Instructor, Strategist, UX Designer, General Assembly
Our amazing panelists:
Stephanie Cedeño, Designer
Noa Kaplan, Artist, Researcher, and Educator
Jillian Switzer, Director of Marketing, AirMap
Our super break-out group facilitators:
Isa Harvey Camino
Our wonderful volunteers:
Fransisca Gonzalez, Visual Recap
Zoe Berman, Written Recap
Samantha Becker, Photography
"Be the seed. Grab truth you believe in and run with it."
- Kat Hargreaves
Please follow WDS on Instagram to stay in the loop! Interested in getting involved with the Women's Design Salon? Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org