The big problem with this months Refresh Philly was that I couldn’t be in 3 places at once. That’s because rather then the usual meet on 45 for great views and two presenters, Refresh met in CIM City and broke up in to three groups.
The main act was Jonny Goldstein, a giant white board and a bunch of folks interested in learning visual note taking and how to better get their ideas out of their heads and onto paper (via drawing). I didn’t catch much of this one though it was high on my list, from what I did see, one of the things to keep in mind is to keep it simple…as in simple shapes (squares, circles, etc.). Don’t get caught up in drawing the right shape for say a cat, go simple and move on. Add the polish later (FYI, that was me paraphrasing right there). Every time I saw the group they looked either fully engaged in what Jonny was saying or they were busy drawing.
On one side of CIM City was K-Fitz and others that wanted to work together to create an application using data from Data.gov. Kevin broke down the details of the contest and connected designers with developers so they could break into smaller groups and work out a plan. Near the end I saw them regather to talk as one big group again. Wish I could tell you more but I was on the other side.
On the other side of CIM City was Livia talking about “Design Games.” The name may be confusing but basically they are fun and effective methods used to help problem solving (often used in the design process). I’m sure you may have heard of a few of these included free listing, reversal, role playing, and divide the dollar. Livia provided a great pamphlet explaining each of the different techniques, you can visit DesignGames.com.au for similar details on each of the games. She then led the group in trying some of them out. We picked the game to try and some of their pros and cons became clear as we used them. After each round Livia pointed out some of the real world nuances to be aware of ensuring better results. I look forward to having an opportunity to put some of these to use while they’re still fresh.