Highlights from the 12th Annual 99U Convention: The Inventive Self


This 12 months’s 99U Convention was once, for the primary time, a unfastened, digital enjoy with attendees becoming a member of us from around the globe. From a paper-crafting workshop that investigates the interaction of the bodily and virtual, courtesy of Kelli Anderson, to Antionette D. Carroll’s blueprint for authentic inclusivity and fairness, there’s a wealth of concepts from our featured staff of thinkers and creatives that have interaction with this 12 months’s theme of The Inventive Self. 

All periods, keynote, grasp magnificence, and workshops, are actually to be had to flow and we’ve accrued highlights under. Watch a replay of the livestream and get admission to all of this 12 months’s talks and explorations on call for at behance.internet/99U.


Recognize the instant

With exceptional honesty and compassion, writer Anne Helen Petersen’s keynote communicate Rethinking Productiveness Tradition, takes a second to acknowledge the discomfort, ache, and sheer strangeness of the placement we’re all residing thru. Her investigation of burnout and our dating to paintings offers her distinctive perception into the stresses and demanding situations of profession uncertainty, anxiousness, and force to be productive. Anne Helen’s standpoint right here offers us much-needed context and a short lived respite from the exhaustion of being “at all times on.” In spite of everything, if the entirety in our international has modified, “so too must our understandings of what’s conceivable and what we must be expecting from ourselves and others.”

The inventive energy of appreciation

Announcing “thanks” will tackle a brand new size after A.J. Jacobs’ keynote Working towards Radical Gratitude. His communicate takes us thru essentially the most treasured courses that he discovered from his gratitude mission of thanking each particular person inquisitive about his day by day cup of espresso, and the way extending appreciation can turn out to be your mindset. It would really feel bizarre in the beginning, however as A.J. can attest, “Your thoughts catches up together with your habits. So ceaselessly our movements form our ideas, now not the wrong way round.”

John S. Sofa’s grasp magnificence Designing a New Day could also be a lesson in appreciation, as he argues for carving out “me time.” Developing this non-public house is a very powerful for psychological and artistic well being, and as John says, “my argument is that for inventive innovation, the facility to serve as higher at paintings, you want time by yourself. You want time to take a seat and ponder and middle.” The easy motion of creating an hour on a daily basis on your non-public initiatives and ambitions will prolong gratitude in each path to your existence. 

Discovering price in wholesome pressure

Anna Sale’s podcast, Loss of life, Intercourse & Cash, makes a speciality of the ones questions and conversations that we might wish to steer clear of—uncomfortable, thorny subjects that fan the flames of worry, anger or unhappiness. However as we listen in her keynote Let’s Communicate About Laborious Issues, she has discovered that embracing this discomfort results in authentic connection, expansion, and foundations for group development. Anna notes that that is extra treasured now than ever prior to, “I’d argue that the onus is extra on us as people to skillfully navigate these things in dialog with the folk in our lives. The onus is on us now in some way that it hasn’t been in earlier generations.”

The concept that of anxiety additionally knowledgeable Taeyoon Choi’s keynote, Methods for Embracing Our Contradictions. The founding father of the College for Poetic Computation talked us thru the idea that of “unlearning,” which is rooted within the notions of reconciliation and mending relationships. How can we acknowledge every different’s complexities and contradictions and nonetheless in finding not unusual flooring to shape significant connections? The usage of code and computing as a reference level, Taeyoon guides us thru how we will observe the similar ideas to {our relationships}, urging us to “Spend time with those that recognize your contradictions, who problem your ideals, however recognize that you’re your personal particular person. Realize the way you develop of their presence, realize how time slows down, while you’re with them.”

Mapping a considerate long run

In her prescient grasp magnificence, Working out Identification, Energy, & Fairness in Design Management, Antionette D. Carroll provides us a collection of methods for the design business to inspect its have an effect on, explain priorities, and paintings in opposition to a shared purpose. She explores how considerate, in reality inclusive management is dependent upon spotting duty and duty of the ones in energy. Antionette is instructive, giving us perception into how she arrived at her dedication to making fairness and truthful illustration, noting that “we want to have a cultural or systemic shift inside our precise business.” 

Likewise taking a look to a extra compassionate long run, Michael Ventura, the founder and CEO of Sub Rosa, leads Making use of Empathy, a workshop that dispels probably the most myths round empathy, and illustrates how it’s much less of a trait than a standard follow, and a muscle that we will all construct. He presentations us how empathy involves existence, and the way we will increase our capability for connection and attractive with the ones round us. As he says, “We will begin to turn out to be acutely aware of the issues that experience held us again up to now, our fears, our anxieties, and by way of running thru the ones, we’re ready to assist others.” 

Yancey Strickler’s keynote, A Framework for Your Final Self, illuminates a chicken’s-eye view of the longer term, as he walks us thru his idea of Bentoism, composed of “4 distinct areas of self-interest to take into accounts.” Thru Bentoism, Yancey illustrates how your assumptions can also be challenged, and your time and effort redirected to create a extra beneficiant, coherent worldview. 

In finding your foreign money of energy

Energy, in all its bureaucracy, shapes our non-public {and professional} lives. In his 99U keynote communicate, Working out Energy Languages, Alain Sylvain, founder and CEO of Sylvain Labs, asks, “how are we able to manifest that energy as inventive folks with a view to in point of fact maximize our doable?” He lines energy thru historical past, explains how it’s situational, ever-shifting, and found in all our interactions. Via being acutely aware of the original capability for energy that designers cling, we will paintings in opposition to working out this as a device and doable to push for sure alternate. 

Embody the on a regular basis 

In case you’ve spent an excessive amount of time surrounded by way of acquainted points of interest in recent years, a couple of workshops on this 12 months’s convention lineup may spark you to take into accounts the on a regular basis in new and sudden tactics. 

Illustrator Octavia Brommell leads Exploring Non-public Tasks, a workshop that reveal her way to taking into account inventive priorities, centering non-public happiness, and growing artwork pushed by way of gratitude and appreciation for easy joys. As she notes, “No longer handiest has running on non-public issues progressed my basic wellbeing and my sanity for small issues, it’s additionally turn out to be an effective way for me to stay the feared artist’s block or inventive burnout at bay.”

Jinjin Solar, Adobe’s senior enjoy fashion designer, talked with Octavia Bromell in regards to the significance of appreciating small joys. Images by way of Joey Solar.

And if you happen to’ve ever checked out one in all Michelle Rial’s suave, witty charts and puzzled how she makes one thing so compelling out of the on a regular basis, her workshop Chart Your Existence, is not going to handiest come up with a glimpse into her inventive mindset, however an opportunity to faucet into the similar capability to your personal follow. Thru Michelle’s brainstorming consultation and guided steps, she breaks down her concepts procedure and presentations how her easiest concepts are sparked. And no want to be intimidated, as a result of as Michelle places it, “What I discovered in that procedure is that if you’ll be able to draw 3 traces, and write 3 phrases, you’ll be able to make a chart.”  Don’t be afraid to experiment, both, as a result of as Michelle reminds us, “dangerous concepts can turn out to be just right concepts if you happen to give them time, house, and love.”

Push towards the set of rules

Everyone knows what it’s love to really feel as even though algorithms can learn our minds, whether or not it’s a just-right playlist, or the product you’ve been eager about purchasing stoning up on some other site. We actually have a lovely transparent line between the virtual and bodily worlds set in our minds. However two audio system at this 12 months’s convention challenged our assumptions and inspired us to appear past the ones limitations. 

As a rule, Nishat Akhtar, inventive director at Tool, embraces the enjoy of seeing her pursuits mirrored again thru more than one virtual platforms. However as she issues out in her 99U grasp magnificence Glance Round You, we’ve a duty to thrust back towards those patterns and draw ourselves out of our convenience zones to make authentic connections with others. Her two workout routines will hone your “energy of noticing,” attach you on your instincts, and deepen your relationships. In each actions, she notes how essential it’s to “Permit your self to be transported to this new position or a brand new feeling. Permit your self to get nearer to the folk that you just do that with. Permit your self to be your self with a view to in finding your self.” Her personal reports with the 2 workout routines have had a profound have an effect on on her, “I fortified my very own inventive self, I hooked up with my group, deepened current relationships, and cultivated new ones.”

Jeannie Huang

Jeannie Huang, senior product fashion designer on Behance, in dialog with Kelli Anderson. Images by way of Joey Solar.

Taking a extra hands-on manner, Kelli Anderson’s workshop Fabrics for Laptop Other people will push you to have interaction with fabrics in an sudden, playful means. Drawing from historic examples from designers and artists, and mentioning her personal experiments with paper generation, the artist and paper engineer leads us thru concept workout routines that problem us to create new hyperlinks between analog and bodily, and guides us in development a easy volvelle and a paper calculator. 

Lead with love

In her 99U grasp magnificence Construction the Love Into Inventive Trade, inventive trade strategist Emily Cohen explains how her direct, brutally fair strategies are at all times rooted in the idea that of affection. She presentations us “the right way to evolve your corporation thru love—and love is all about connections. We’re speaking about development connections, one-on-one connections.” She defined how this love shines thru in all facets of the customer dating, from day by day corporate tradition to sustainable expansion, reminding us that “While you construct the affection, a large number of glorious issues occur. Shoppers will suggest for you. They’re going to protect you when you are making a mistake, they’ll advertise you after they want to, they’ll discuss how a lot they love you and what kind of they adore you.”

Stay up the momentum

As a part of this 12 months’s exploration of the idea that of The Inventive Self, we partnered with inventive trainer and 99U columnist Tina Essmaker who wrote an interactive workbook to create space for mirrored image and self-discovery in your inventive trail. Tina’s dialog with Jeannie Huang, senior product fashion designer at Behance, walked us thru the second one of 5 workout routines within the Workbook, which makes a speciality of objective and the right way to suppose deeper about discovering your means ahead with aim. Their chat additionally illuminated the core concepts in the back of each this 12 months’s Convention theme and the Workbook issues, together with voice, development group, and caring for your own well-being. 

You’ll get started the workbook appropriate to your browser (or obtain a duplicate), courtesy of our buddies at Adobe Report Cloud

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