Day 1

9:15 Pentland Suite

Doors open for registration

Grab a coffee, network with your fellow delegates and visit our exhibitors.

10:00 Pentland Suite

Opening Keynote

The New York-based artist, designer and technologist creates work for companies, collectors and institutions. Josh will be speaking about his work which brings together code and creativity to produce breathtaking artworks for big name clients and for his own enjoyment.

Joshua Davis
11:00 Pentland Suite

Be the Black Sheep

It’s human nature to follow the crowd, but in order to stand out, you sometimes need to stand-alone. Mike Kus believes that every client is unique, yet many websites are starting to look the same. In this fascinating 30 minute talk, Mike will share the secrets of how to extract an organisation’s identity, and use it as the inspiration for crafting truly distinctive web design.

Mike Kus
11:45 Pentland Suite

Worthy Risk: How Uber Drives Design

Uber started to solve a simple problem: how do you get a ride at the touch of a button? Six years and more than 2 billion trips later, Uber continues to grow in more than 450 cities in 74 countries.

Uber is a different company, with a diverse set of products and the design challenges and risks to match. It is our goal as designers not only to minimise risk, but to channel risk in a way that helps fuel design, and to choose those risks that we deem worthy.

This talk will give some insight into how Uber deals with risk in the design process, and ultimately how designers at Uber work to deliver the best experience for our users and design for the future of transportation.

Molly Nix
11:00 Fintry Auditorium

Is a large corporation the right place for new ideas?

Mark will talk about:

  • How RBS is approaching innovation.
  • How great ideas permeate their way into a large corporation, or fail silently.
  • How new technology such as blockchain and AI could transform business and create new systems of trust and value.
  • What to do when you have a good idea.
Mark Simpson
11:45 Fintry Auditorium

The Designer’s Dilemma: How to be a good agent of change

When you are on the front lines of crafting the future, sometimes you have to step up and say, “What the heck!” To become a good agent of change, you have to challenge yourself and others around you. To be able to drive and execute meaningful change in other people’s lives, you have to view your users, their context, the objects, the form and your own mediums through diverse perspectives. You need to take risks, make bold decisions, and overcome your anxieties over conflict. To recognise the power of critical thinking and good design, you need to facilitate dialogues and give your peers the reason and the perspective to care. In this session, we will discuss how to talk the talk and walk the walk.

Basak Haznedaroglu


13:30 Pentland Suite

Effective & nuanced innovation with Design BETs

We spend a lot of time working with tools and frameworks to help us work better together. We stay agile; we stay lean; we stand in circles; we avoid waterfalls. We ship MVPs, or maybe MLPs. We have a rigid set of tools and processes to make sure that we can ship something that works, and on time. We have agile coaches that helps us stay together, and move in the same direction. This is, all of it, essentially production management. But what tools and processes do we have to make sure we’re heading in the right direction? How do we know that we’re building something of value?

Design BETs (Belief Exploration Trees) is an idea management framework and set of tools developed partly at Spotify, refined at the creative business school Hyper Island, and used at Mojang. It’s an innovation framework that helps us have better ideas, stay nuanced, connect our ideas to business goals, and avoid getting stuck in local maxima. Rather than dictating in what order we do things, or how to manage the production, it focuses on quality; how to have original ideas of value, how to update our belief over time, and how to make better decisions in groups. In this talk, we’ll explore what causes innovations and companies to fail to produce something of value, and how to fix it.

Tobias Ahlin
14:30 Pentland Suite

30 seconds to construction

What constitutes ‘a high quality experience’ when you travel ?

Every city, host and home in the world in unique. As a guest travels into a strangers home in what may be a foreign culture, there are moments of anticipation, uncertainty and often submission.

In this talk, we will explore “designing for expectations and anticipation”. We look at both the guest and the host’s perspectives using themes of expectations, perception, dialogue, and self-awareness.

Vibha Bamba
15:00 Pentland Suite

Analytics is only half the story

Designing with data has become easier than ever. Analytics tools are everywhere and readily available to designers. You don’t have to be a scientist to understand or spot trends. If big data is here to stay, where does UX research fit?  Brent will explain why we need authentic, individual analysis more than ever and why charts won’t reveal emotions or intent. He’ll walk through where data enhances, not replaces, real conversations with customers.

Brent Palmer
2:30 Fintry Auditorium

Structural integrity for changeable times

Change is inevitable. But how do you build solid foundations when you’re not sure what the future holds? 

This hands-on session introduces you to a set of tools that you might find in a modern content strategist’s tool kit. With examples from a case study in a campaign-based charity, we’ll be looking at patterns and structures in language and how these inform the shape of design and development when the content is always changing. 

Designing narratives for component-based design is complicated brain work, but we’ll keep things light and learn by doing. Along the way, we’ll take inspiration from beekeeping, robot parts and adaptable architecture. 

By the time we’re done, you’ll have a greater understanding of the role that content plays in component-based design, with three tools to take away and use in your own day-to-day practices. 

Ellen de Vries

Afternoon BreakBreak

16:30 Pentland Suite

A Calculated Leap of Faith

Have you ever had an idea for a side project, perhaps a potential business, but never quite managed to get it off the ground? Let’s turn that idea into a reality.

As a mentor to small businesses at Belfast School of Art and Tiny Books, Christopher has helped turn many an idea into a fully-fledged business. (In quite a few cases, quite big businesses.)

He’ll share some practical advice that will encourage you to stop procrastinating and make the calculated leap of faith you need to, to make your ideas real.

Christopher Murphy

Day 2

Doors open for registration
9:30 Pentland Suite

Grab a coffee, network with your fellow delegates and visit our exhibitors.

10:00 Pentland Suite

Design Thinking from IBM

IBM is over 100 years old. For many decades the company has been a technology-first organisation. In 2012, the new CEO mandated to put people first, not technology by stating “There’s one key to our future growth: the client experience.” IBM Design Thinking is how we put people first, encourage risk taking, and learn through making. As IBM scales the practice of design thinking across the globe, design thinking itself has morphed and shifted to more effectively create a culture that puts people first. Come and see how IBM increases velocity through design thinking.

Chris Hammond
11:00 Pentland Suite

Further Together: Designing Culture Change

The Global Experience Language (GEL) is the BBC’s shared design framework. It underpins the design of the organisation’s entire online output. The GEL UX team facilitate it’s origination, development and reuse, which affords a more consistent user experience across the BBC online.

David and Nikos’ talk focusses on how their design department’s joined-up approach is inspiring culture change, the importance of shared ownership and how it benefits the BBC’s ongoing digital transformation.

David Bailey Nikos Tsouknidas
11:45 Pentland Suite

The Secret Life of Comedy

It has never been easier to make a web site, and our digital toolbox has never been greater. At the same time, we seem more concerned with automating our process and systemising design than with creative thinking and generating ideas. Is web design purely about utility? Is it all about convention? Is it a science? Or is there room for beauty, expression and art?

In this talk, Espen will take a tongue-in-cheek look at the state of web design, explore different creative mindsets, and show how adding a pinch of comedy can make a real difference to the bottom line.

Espen Brunborg
11:00 Fintry Auditorium

Behaviour Models and Their Hidden Uses

Launching a new product is a risky business. Many perfectly designed products don’t get the success they deserve. Even with great teams behind them, a wealth of financial resources and a clear company direction, many products fail big when they hit the market. This subject is something that bugged me for many years, and I believe I’ve worked out why. After all this time, I’ve managed to reverse engineer why some products win and others lose, and I’d like to share this with you. This is not only your chance to improve your Discovery phase, but also to take your products to a whole new level; by applying basic human psychology to your designs.

Christian Vasile
11:45 Fintry Auditorium

The Science of Typography

This is going to be weird. You’ve probably heard about applications that automatically design websites. Are they a good thing? Can we learn something from these applications and create a tool that helps designers, instead of replacing them? This talk explores what happens when you apply algorithms and math to typography.

Bram Stein


13:30 Pentland Suite

Digital Assistants, Facebook Quizzes, and Fake News! You Won’t Believe What Happens Next

As citizens of the web, do we know what is happening to the data we’re sharing about ourselves publicly and privately? As designers and builders of the web, are we ethical about the data we obtain from others?

There’s a dark underbelly to the web we love, and its darkness is rooted in the core decisions we make about our products. This talk will explain more, and share how we can use the Ethical Design Manifesto to make it better.

Laura Kalbag
2:30 Pentland Suite

The corp-to-chicken equation or why large corporates turn to chickens in the face of innovative endeavours

Corporates are built in a way that helps them to avoid risk under any circumstances. There are entire departments just to deal with corporate risks and to ensure that corps don’t take risks that are too high. This avoidance of risk taking is being reflected within the whole organisation, its org structure and processes, but it does not stay there. It is also cascaded down to the level of individuals, and their behaviour within organisational boundaries. The mantra is: “Don’t risk anything – stay safe within your comfort zone.”

In our talk we want to identify and discuss five types of risks large corps have to take if they want to be innovative – just to name some: The giant truck effect (foresight), the protecting the kingdom-fallacy (attribution of success) and the silverback problem (decision-making). We will explain how these risks are deeply rooted in how corporates genuinely function and in how they have established and nurture their corporate culture. Finally, we also offer a short outlook how to deal with these challenges.

Stef Huber Madeleine Kröper
3:15 Pentland Suite

Changing the mindset of a 100 year old charity

The charity sector is extremely risk averse when it comes to the services they create and deliver, especially when it is in the face of something as serious as cancer. However, as our approach to fundraising becomes more playful, why can’t we take the same approach in the design of our services? 

My team has been working to make Macmillan Cancer Support more comfortable with experimentation and the word ‘failure’. With the introduction of an innovation process we are beginning to encourage our colleagues to understand user needs and to prototype before pilot. 

Changing the mindset of an organisation that is over a century old is no easy feat, so I’d like to share the lessons we have learned along the way.

Louise Mushet


4:30 Pentland Suite

Security vs. Usability: Why Not Both?

Security engineers often say that the most difficult problem in security is usability. Indeed, we have decades’ worth of examples of software that ended up being less secure in practice than its creators intended because of user interface shortcomings, ranging from PGP to password login forms. Nowadays, digital security and privacy are more important than ever before, given the growth of concerns over government surveillance, the rise of the Internet of Things, and the increasing amount of data that people are putting online. How can we close the gap between security engineers and designers so that users can avoid shooting themselves in the foot? This talk is about how to build interfaces with security and privacy as first-class priorities.

Yan Zhu
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