Some more catching up with things that occurred recently; on Monday February 23 we1 had our second This happened. I am quite satisfied with how things went.
For one; we had some unplanned cohesion2 amongst talks.3 Three out of four talks discussed the use of field research (to use the term broadly). It was good to have some discussion of how this is put in practice, as I often find ethnographic techniques being presented as some kind of silver bullet, but without any clear demonstration of its application. It was also cool to see field research being applied effectively in such different contexts (primary school, the elderly, South Africa).
To my relief, a significantly larger percentage of the audience (compared to last time) was female.4 This was something we had worked consciously towards, since the first edition’s testosterone quotient was a bit too high. In my opinion, a more diverse audience is conducive to the kind of relaxed, open and honest atmosphere we are pursuing. The main way we tried to draw in a more balanced mix of people was by inviting more female speakers. Three out of four talks were by women. All of them were great. It seems to have worked.
I love that This happened seems to be a venue for the kind of unassuming and honest presentations we somehow stop giving once we leave design school (or at least I have). I can’t think of other events where I am treated to such wonderful war stories from the front-lines of interaction design.
The discussions after each session were good again as well. Lots of thoughtful questions, critical, but fair. Alper was kind enough to keep minutes, and has blogged the most salient parts over at his site (in Dutch).5
Our friends in London launched a new website that now contains videos and slides of all talks from past events. The Utrecht sessions are on there too, so go have a look. It already is an amazing collection of high-quality content. Some of my current favourites are Troika, Crispin Jones and Schulze & Webb.6
The next This happened – Utrecht (number three) is set for June 29. Hope to see you there.
- Alexander, Ianus and I [↩]
- Iskander spotted it first, this is a blog post in Dutch discussing the parallels between the talks [↩]
- Honestly, this was not something we had aimed for beforehand. [↩]
- I realize in the tech scene this has once again become a hot topic, see for instance this discussion over at Chris Messina’s blog. [↩]
- I’ve collected more posts on our second edition over at Delicious. [↩]
- While you’re there, why not vote for This happened in the Brit Insurance Design of the Year 2009 awards at the Design Museum? [↩]