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Jun 20, 2023 By IIDA HQ
Best of IIDA at NeoCon 2023
We've rounded up the best of what you may have missed from IIDA at NeoCon
By IIDA HQ Jun 20, 2023
Published in Articles

Kicking off this year’s NeoCon, IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA chose to focus on the future—one of positivity, community, and design-filled moments set to fill our future with joy and purpose. IIDA’s presence was powerful. From the bold colors of our visual activation at THE MART’s Marshall’s Landing and our uber-stylish black-tie gala to inspiring conversations and moving personal stories that have changed the lives of our members and peers, we are incredibly proud to be here at this moment in time. Our mission hasn’t changed: we aim to make a difference.

During the days leading up to NeoCon, we opened the IIDA HQ doors to welcome our extended design family, we powered up chapter communications through building relationships and connections among members across the world at the 2023 Summer CLC, and we hosted IIDA's 29th Annual Meeting, that featured inspiring speeches, accomplished goals, and prestigious awards—and of course served as an opportunity to gather and celebrate our members. We got fired up about the future at the NeoCon Keynote Presented by IIDA: Designing a Way Forward with Amy Webb and we learned practical tips and tricks at the IIDA Collective D(esign) Live: Beyond Futurism with Mark Bryan, who alongside a panel of design leaders helped explore futurism’s impact on the built environment, finding ways to be more connected, engaged, and collaborative, and form a clear vision for both personal and professional growth.

We discussed how sustainability and design thinking are shaping the world’s future at the student roundtable Designing for Tomorrow: A Discussion on Sustainability in the Design Industry, and presented IIDA’s Design Your World Showcase, an event full of emotion, pride, and motivation that powerfully exemplified how this initiative continues to create a sense of belonging for students of color by inspiring them to make a career in design. Finally, we hosted our annual IIDA Student Charette, during which students from across the nation were presented with the design problem of reimagining the IIDA HQ office space. Our mission? A day where their creativity, leadership, and design skills are at the forefront of the conversation that provides the perfect opportunity to tackle collective intelligence, shared efficiency, and well, fun!

2023 Summer CLC | Powering up Chapter Communications

IIDA Chapter leadership gathered at IIDA HQ Saturday for a day-long summit on effective chapter communications. The day began with a welcome from Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA and a group introduction session led by Chapter Relations Manager, Aleida Fuertes. IIDA members introduced themselves and talked about what they have learned serving on their chapter boards, or what emoji, movie genre, or mascot best describes their chapter. Haworth PR and Communications Manager Julie Smith delivered a session on “Managing Brand in the Design Industry,” focusing on storytelling as strategy and what makes for good storytelling including the what, the how, and why—someone who is living the story—as well as finding the tension and the headline for your pitch. Next up was President of Micro Media Marketing, Stephanie Lichtenstein who covered the basics of social media marketing from creating a branded look and feel to strategy for each network. The afternoon saw IIDA International Board Members covering best practices in governance and succession planning, and a panel of IIDA HQ creative team members discussing how collaborating can boost the IIDA brand from a national and local level.


IIDA's 29th Annual Meeting

An opportunity to gather, connect, and celebrate, the IIDA 29th Annual Meeting does exactly that. As we look into the past year for insights to the future, the evening featured inspiring speeches, accomplished goals, and prestigious awards. Outgoing International Board of Directors President, Angie Lee, IIDA, FAIA delivered her final address and welcomed the incoming President, Ronnie Belizaire, FIIDA. We inducted the new 2023-24 International Board of Directors members and presented the 2023 IIDA College of Fellows before we awarded the 2023 Member of the Year and the 2023 Student of the Year sponsored by OFS. Then, the Chair of the IIDA Foundation, Tara Headley, IIDA, took the stage to share important Foundation updates and thanked the 2022-23 Board of Trustees. We met the 2022 John J. Nelson Award Winners as well as the 2023 Wilsonart Essay Competition winner, and the Anna Hernandez/Luna Textiles Award winners. And there’s so much more! But in case you missed it, don’t fret! You can watch it all here.

NeoCon Keynote Presented by IIDA: Designing a Way Forward with Amy Webb

“Designers are futurists,” declares Amy Webb. “You have more direct and indirect control on our futures than you realize—you can make it or break it. Yet, when talking to industry professionals Webb noticed a pattern: fear, uncertainty, and doubt. In her keynote titled “Designing a Way Forward,” she hopes to change that. “It’s not about prediction, it’s about preparation,” she says the world-renowned quantitative futurist, best-selling author, adjunct assistant professor at the New York University Stern School of Business, and founder and CEO of the Future Today Institute, one of the world’s most influential strategic foresight consulting firms. Providing strategic foresight and forecasting that is crucial for organizations to adapt and position themselves for sustained success in this era of unprecedented transformation, Webb urges designers to look for signals and trends that will change their perception and ultimately help them design a better future.


IIDA Collective D(esign) Live: Beyond Futurism with Mark Bryan

What does it mean to think like a futurist? How can one plan around something so fluid and unexpected? What really comes next? Looking for signals to uncover patterns, taking a step back to see forward, and creating expert communities are top of mind for those seeking to be as best prepared as possible. In IIDA Collective D(esign) Live: Beyond Futurism presented at NeoCon 2023, Mark Bryan, senior foresight manager at the Future Today Institute, gathers a panel of futurists and design strategy leaders to share insights on understanding, adopting, and applying futurism. Together with Paola Aguirre, urban designer and partner at Borderless Studio, Ryan Anderson, vice president of global research and insights at MillerKnoll, Todd Heiser, FIIDA, principal and managing director at Gensler, Kaelynn Reid, IIDA, certified design futurist at Kimball International, and Elise Valoe, director of research and new business innovation at Steelcase, they explore its impact on the built environment, find ways to be more connected, engaged, and collaborative, and form a clear vision for both personal and professional growth. Their practical tips and tricks as well as the wisdom they have developed over time was generously shared. This program will live on the NeoCon Hub through mid August and then will be hosted on IIDA.org.


IIDA and OFS Student Roundtable | Designing for Tomorrow: A Discussion on Sustainability in the Design Industry

IIDA and OFS presented the 2023 Student Roundtable featured George Bandy, Ind. IIDA, chief sustainability officer, Fiber Industries, LLC; Stacey Crumbaker, IIDA, associate principal, Mahlum Architects; and Paul Shahriari, founder and chief innovation officer of Ecomedes, to discuss how sustainability and design thinking are shaping the world’s future. Bandy led the discussion by asking, “Do you want to make a living, or create a legacy?” Panelists discussed how important it is to establish a personal brand and ethos early in their careers, and not be afraid to establish yourself and your work from your organization. On believing in your work and employing sustainable strategy Crumbaker notes “We are storytellers and sellers,” reflecting that one of her biggest lessons was how to reframe hearing ‘no,’ particularly when it comes to incorporating sustainable design. “When someone says ‘no,’ think of it as really meaning ‘not yet, and how you can retell that story to get to a ‘yes.’” On the importance of including equity in sustainable design, Shahriari emphasized that “We design for a broad audience, who often never have a seat at the table. If the spaces we design don’t serve them, the materials and product will get thrown away or replaced, making for wasteful design.” He continued that “the ecological impact of our design is our legacy.”


Design Your World Showcase

IIDA’s Design Your World Showcase was an event full of emotion, pride, and motivation. The Grand Staircase at THE MART was filled with people as IIDA screened a short film about the Design Your World (DYW) program that powerfully exemplified how this initiative continues to create a sense of belonging for students of color, inspires youth to make a career in design, and celebrates the power of creativity. Following the screening, OFS sponsors Maria VanDeman and Doug Shapiro presented the Design Your World book and its goals as they align with those of the program: being able to control your environment, looking to design as a career path, and creating more diversity in the industry. Past DYW student Naomi Meko offered a few words about how DYW has changed the course of her future and presented her with many opportunities that influenced her educational and professional career: “This program helped my parents understand the importance of design as a career path, and it helped me build my portfolio,” said Meko, who just recently finished her first year of design school. Gensler's Todd Heiser, FIIDA, shared the importance of the firms new partnership with the program, reinforcing its commitment to building diversity in design. IIDA is looking forward to more similar stories as DYW extends its reach from Chicago and Miami to St. Louis in 2023. Watch the DYW film here. We are grateful to all our sponsors for their support of Design Your World, changing our community, one student at a time.


IIDA Student Design Charette

The annual IIDA Student Charette at NeoCon, with Presenting Sponsor MillerKnoll, Hospitality Sponsor BEHR, and Supporting Sponsor Wallcoverings Association brings together students for a day of collaboration, design, and recognition. During the charette students were presented with a design problem of renovating the IIDA HQ office space. This year’s design solution focused on the experimental qualities of change, connection, and well-being. Separated into 10 teams, students began to discuss the primary purpose of their design solution and how their specific design can improve the existing space. Many teams focused on user-experience, looking at well-being holistically, bringing home into the office and drawing inspiration from the environment around them, Chicago. Student Nyleigh Carbaugh, Student IIDA, of Pittsburg State University who was a part of the winning team offers thoughts on her experience at this year's charrette: “Overall, I learned a ton and I enjoyed getting to lean back while letting my group members take control and trusting them through the process. It was amazing to see all of our different perspectives come together to make a great project,” said Carbaugh. The Student Charette continues to offer students all across the nation a day where their creativity, leadership and design skills are at the forefront of the conversation.


All in all, 2023 marked a successful year for IIDA at NeoCon: we made—and strengthened—connections, gained irreplaceable knowledge that is directly applicable to our business, and through hard work, perseverance, and commitment, delivered the best possible experience to our members, peers, and design creatives. Most of all, we grew our excitement for what the future holds. Until next year!

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