DiBi Conference Part 1 – Side projects, designing for humans, never ending projects

This month we had the opportunity to attend DiBi London, a one day conference for creative designers and coders featuring eight insightful talks from those shaping the future of digital.

Side Projects

The first talk of the day (and our personal favourite) was from Tobias Van Schneider an award-winning, German designer. Tobias revealed the secrets to why you should working on side projects alongside your work and explained how they can guarantee continued personal growth. Side projects are meant to be stupid to keep your creative juices flowing. This guy is the king when it comes to creating great ideas and working hard to make sure they are worthwhile, and we walked away from this talk really excited and inspired to make our own stupid side projects.

Some great examples of his stupid side projects are:

And not forgetting his number one rule:

DiBi Conference London - Stupid Side Projects

Designing for humans

The second talk of the day was Josh Payton, a UX guru. Josh talked about our changing relationship with digital products and why broken ecosystems exist. He also touched upon ways to make sure when you design for web you ‘humanize your mission’ ensuring everything is easy to navigate for those that will be using it: humans.

Dibi Conference London - Josh Payton

A never ending project

Up next was Frances Berriman, a British designer and technologist. She talked us through what she’s learned from helping change the face of digital services, in particular the award-winning single domain project for government Digital services, better known as Frances was part of a new department to revamp the government services website. She helped to develop their Design Principles and Service Design Manual. She talked about how within a big never ending project it was hard to celebrate the small feats and accomplishments by the team or individual, so they developed an awards system within the team consisting of stickers. For every success they would create a sticker, they were very popular and appreciated.

Dibi Conference London - Frances Berriman

Getting the best out of your team

‘Great design teams don’t just happen – they are designed’ that’s what Jane Austin, Design Director at Moo, had to say at our 4th talk of the day. She gave us plenty of advice about how to get the best out of the team you lead and develop. A good manager means you can sit back and watch your team excel in what they do best. This doesn’t mean there isn’t a purpose for the manager because they play an integral part of sculpturing the perfect bunch for the job and believes in them and trusts them to carry out their work to get the best outcome. Jane also believes integrating your team delivers the best result ‘When each skill set combines its knowledge to make one driving force’.

Encouraging kids to learn about technology

Peter Parkes from Made by Many was next on the agenda, he told the story of Hackaball, the programmable ball that encourages kids to learn about technology, play together and be physically active. Hackaball teaches kids how to code with the use of multi coloured LEDs and motion sensors inside the ball forming the basis of games. You can programme the ball to flash, vibrate and make sounds to play when different motions are detected. It was really interesting to see the thinking and process behind the ball and the impact it will have on the younger generation.

Dibi Conference London - Hackaball

As it was a very busy day filled with lots of talks we’ve made this blog into a two-parter which you can check out here.


Jessica Luongo.

Senior Graphic Designer