Design Thinking – more important now than ever

The first page of the program for DesignThinkers 2010 proclaims that “Design thinking has never been more important.” I could not agree more with that sentiment. And I would also go a step further to say that the annual conference itself has never been more important for those of us in the design field.

To my mind, there is no event in Canada today to compare to RGD’s annual DesignThinkers conference and this year’s gathering proved my point once again. RGD Ontario put on another excellent event, featuring a stellar lineup of international designers, creatives and business people who all brilliantly shared their work, insights and ideas.

Each year, DesignThinkers brings together design professionals and others in our field to really focus on the industry, the culture, the impressive work being done, the day-to-day issues of being a graphic design professional, the latest trends, what’s ahead. The topics examined by speakers and delegates alike are endless and all equally fascinating.

I have become an ardent advocate for DesignThinkers and I encourage colleagues in the design field to attend each year. I also make every effort to bring employees with me to share in what I see as a rich and rewarding professional experience. This year, five members of my own firm attended and we all saw great value in the conference.

The 2010 conference coincidentally tied in quite nicely for me with the stage that I now find myself at in my career. I am a new business owner and it was extremely helpful this year to hear from others – both speakers and delegates at the two-day event – on how they are addressing the challenges, issues, questions and trends that those of us running businesses are facing today.

As for my favorite session, it is hard to name one but I particularly enjoyed the talk by John Bielenberg titled Thinking Wrong, Doing Right – in which he encouraged us to “think wrong” in order to cast off embedded assumptions and approach design from a completely fresh perspective.

The projects that John is now involved in to help others through the work he does is truly inspiring. When you hear from people like that – and from so many others with so much to offer – you realize what a privilege it is to have an annual event and forum like DesignThinkers.


BEN HAGON R.G.D., Creative Director, Hagon Design Inc. of Kitchener, ON who attended his 8th DesignThinkers conference in 2010

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About rgddesignthinkers

The Association of Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario (RGD) is the professional body for graphic designers in Ontario. RGD grants graphic designers who qualify the right to use the designations Registered Graphic Designer and R.G.D., a quality signal of standards of professional practice. RGD has approximately 2800 members. Attracting over 1,000 participants and a full line-up of fascinating speakers, DesignThinkers is Canada’s largest, most important graphic design event. It’s an occasion to listen, learn and interact with peers from across the country.
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