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Jun 24, 2021 By IIDA HQ
IIDA Industry Roundtable Dialogues: Part 2
Five thought starters you can use from the second installment of the IIDA Industry Roundtable Dialogues.
By IIDA HQ Jun 24, 2021
Published in

Video calls have brought us a lot over the past year, from design charrettes to political conventions, and even a peek behind the scenes in almost everyone’s home.

What couldn't life via video bring us? The joy, the collaboration, the full sense of people and place that comes when we gather—and in this session of Industry Roundtable Dialogues, we celebrated a new beginning in the return to gathering with the announcement of Industry Roundtable 2022, bringing us all together in Santa Fe, NM next January.

Because we can’t wait for that date to arrive, and because we are focused on all the ways the design industry and humanity at large are greeting reopening (from cautiously dipping a toe, to diving in with arms open), we wanted to offer you our takeaways from IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl S. Durst, FIIDA's conversation with Dr. Lauren Herckis, an anthropologist at Carnegie Mellon University who studies the intersection of humans and technology; and Dr. Manny Hernandez, MD, Principal in Strategic Innovation and Practice Leader in Health Care for Kahler Slater.

It’s food for thought, for the journey forward!

Richness matters.

Like the video call that can’t quite capture the energy of an IRL team meeting, experts like Dr. Herckis spent the past year documenting the ways in which technology allowed us to focus on the essence of an experience, while pointing out all the elements that were missing. In the world of design, it’s worth remembering that those tertiary points of richness and experience are a big part of what we create and capture. “Each type of interaction,” Dr. Herckis says, “does more than one thing.”

Shared experiences are a validation—and a balm for the psyche.

Watching the initial phases of reopening unfold, says Dr. Hernandez, it was easy to see that there were a range of human reactions at play. But the ability of interactions to boost endorphins was apparent and universal. It follows that design for human interaction is indeed, one way to design for wellness. “Weeks of stress literally melted away,” Dr. Hernandez said of his first event in-person.

Thoughtful choices are more important than ever.

We’re at a watershed, no doubt. But Dr. Herckis points out that as each of us enters a new phase, we can (and should!) choose what bring with us into this new future. Making the future we want to see, and live in, requires reexamination of all the “musts” and “how things are done”—luckily, something our industry is inherently equipped to do.

Better dialogue will enable the future.

Both speaking up and listening up are key as we redefine our work and our lives. “Embrace and lean into uncertainty—lean into the thoughts of people who disagree with you and try to understand,” says Dr. Hernandez. “That empathy and the learning of multiple perspectives is what will make us stronger.” Staying open and curious, and pulling fresh perspectives into our process, are what will allow design to continue to serve and uplift humanity — even humanity that’s re-learning how to go to work, eat in restaurants, and even (ahem) put on shoes.

Making room for others is imperative.

From navigating the introvert/extrovert take on reentry and bridging political divides, to welcoming a more diverse workforce—leaning into learning, understanding, and patience for our fellow humans is key as we move forward. “Design for inclusion, and for the whole person, not just to meet specific goals,” says Dr. Herckis. Whether redefining sustainability to include impacts on communities or designing a space that enables differences to flourish and enrich us all, design has a big part to play — in the now, and in the next.

As we all navigate this next phase, we hope you’ll be adding your own thoughts, experiences, and earned wisdom to this list — and preparing to share it with us and your colleagues, in Santa Fe at Industry Roundtable 2022 and beyond.Stay in touch, keep the knowledge and discussion flowing, and know that we’ll keep finding opportunities to enrich our lives, work, and the world around us, together!

For a look back at the 2020 Industry Roundtable watch IIDA Roundtable 23 | What Clients Want: The Future of Place, Experience, and Worklife, or read the full report here.

IIDA's Industry Roundtable 24 will be held January 27-29, 2022, in Sante Fe, NM. For more info please contact Tracey Thomas, IIDA Director of Sales.

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