“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.” - Steve Jobs

Why I’m excited about IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah

We are less than 3 months away from the big IxDA conference and everything about this conference is kickin’.

We are a month away from the early registration deadline and I’d like to share with people why I’m so excited about Interaction08. This might get a little long, so I’ll summarize:

    The program – From keynotes to invited speakers to the lightning round speakers, we have gathered an amazing international and diverse array of speakers speaking on topics that will inspire and teach.

    Savannah – Like New Orleans, Montreal and San Juan, Savannah is an historical treasure in North America. Our host, the ,a href=”http://scad.edu”>Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) has put us in the middle of the historic district. Visiting this city alone is worth a weekend getaway.

    The community – For people who are part of the IxDA discussion list, you know how special our virtual community is. My experience of doing face-to-face meetups around the country confirms for me that it translates to the real world just as well. Intelligent, fun, provocative, inspiring–DESIGNERS.

    Antenna Design has been featured @ the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum’s Triennial and has won many awards including the IDSA/BusinessWeek IDEA Awards.

    The other person I’m excited about is the author of my favorite Interaction Design book of 2005, “Digital Ground”. Malcolm McCullough as a Profressor of Architecture at the University of Michigan will be speaking on the new nature of technological interaction as more and more of it is carried, worn and embedded within and into our environments. It makes us look more closely at the foundations of interaction design as we build our discipline and our practice.

    While these two are my favorites, I have to say that I’m also very excited about our other two keynotes, who are much more familiar to our User Experience/Interaction design community.

    Alan Cooper and I had a chance to talk when I was in SF for the IDSA conference in October. He is very excited about opening this conference and promised me that he’ll be presenting new material that he has been thinking about lately. His current activity on the IxDA discussion list demonstrates his dedication to our community and I’m confident he will open the conference with inspiration and provocation as is his charismatic style.

    The reason I must mention Bill Buxton, his is my favorite book of 2007. Sketching User Experience in my mind is the biggest kick in the butt I have read in a long time. Bringing DESIGN practice back into user experience. His talk for us on designing our eco-system will continue this track.

    The program continues with invited speakers and lightning round speakers. Out of these mix of talks I really can’t go over them all. These are the ones I am most looking forward to.

    Aza Raskin will be talking about designing for the inevitable mistakes we all make. It isn’t the topic that excites me so much as the passion for his father’s (Jef Raskin) provocative and compelling work in interaction design and HCI. His products Enso and Songza are great examples of exploration of this work and I just can’t wait to sit down and chat it up with him at some point during the conference. Aza – beware. ;)

    Another speaker that I’m really excited about is Chris Bernard. It’s all about his topic–“Classic Design Movements and IxD: Kissing Cousins?” I’m not a huge student of design schools, but I love the idea of design movements. I mean the Bauhaus has been so influential to so many disciplines of design, and if we are indeed a design discipline and not an engineering discipline there should be similar influencers within our practice and discipline building as well.

    The whole lightning round is just amazing. We received 80 tremendous submissions, all worthy of being accepted. We practically doubled our initial allocation for lightning round speakers so that we can increase the total speaker pool we can accommodate. Still only 25% were accepted. We wanted to be representative: diverse types of interaction design topics, theory vs. practice, and of course we wanted to represent the international community–China, Australia, Europe, India, and North America are all pretty well represented. The quality of speakers here was also quite amazing. Some of the submissions came from people whom we considered for invited speaker spots. This is something they never knew, and they submitted on their own. This is a testament to the community that these expert speakers would want to contribute to our community so strongly.

    The location
    Savannah is an amazing city. SCAD is an amazing host. Unlike must of the south that was destroyed (especially in Georgia), much of Savannah was spared and that history going back to 1733 remains. (For people outside of the US, 1700’s is old for non-Native American USers.) The historic district is walkable and friendly and beautiful. The spanish moss off the willow trees line the many squares throughout the district and River Street where our conference will be held is a bustling cobblestone way with views of the river and many great eating, entertainment and shopping establishments.

    Our host, SCAD, has been going above and beyond. Providing us with an incredible warehouse space, negotiating a great hotel and providing us assistance in every way will make our stay in Savannah that much more special.

    One item that hasn’t been added to the program yet, is an event that will happen after the reception. A guide from the Historical Architecture department from SCAD will be taking us on a walking tour of Savannah’s Historic District highlighting the history and architecture (old and new).

    Who knows, there may be other surprises brought to you at the conference, bringing the special local culture(s) of coastal Georgia to our design community.

    The community
    Local face to face groups have been on a roll lately. In the 2nd half of 2007 new activities in Chicago, Bangalore, Mumbai, Boston, and Toronto have energized the entire community both virtual and real. Coming together as a global community is just fantastic and I am so looking forward to meeting all the people I only get to talk with online.

    Our sponsors
    I wish I could say more about our sponsors. But right now we are not ready to fully announce all of them yet. Hopefully early next month we’ll have a more complete list on the site. But it is so affirming to see these generous organizations demonstration their support of IxDA and the program that we have put together. I can’t wait to share this list.

    So as you can see, I’m very excited about it. I wish I could do more to conjole you all into coming to Savannah with me in February. What I can do for folks in NYC is the following:

    Dec. 11th, IxDA NYC will be co-organizing a UXmas Holiday party (like we’ve done the 2 years previous). At that event, I’ll have my iPhone w/ me. If anyone registers for the conference at the event, I’ll personally buy them a drink. How about that?!?

    Well what are you waiting for … Register Now!

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