I approached this conference much like any other, a little apprehension as to the worth and a slight worry of being blown away by people more attuned or skilled in the industry than me. But after 48 hours, 11 speakers, 1 studio session, 1 offsite, 1 master class and 2 awesome parties in the city that doesn’t sleep, I can happily say that 99u conference was a fantastically rewarding experience that I would recommend to anyone with similar concerns.
To my surprise the speakers and attendees had extremely varying skill sets, came from all over the world (Peru, Israel and Norway to mention a few), had different levels of experience and most importantly, didn’t all come from the typical agency/studio background.
The goal of 99u is to provide proven insights in how to bring your team together - encouraging them to speak the "same language", to tackle problems together, to not be afraid of breaking things or making mistakes, and ultimately how to execute an idea from A - Z.
After having time to digest and run through my notes, I can honestly say that I’m moving forward much more confidently and purposefully. I am a designer, and have been for the best part of 15 years, but still find that I occasionally doubt myself and see less in my worth than others do. I will probably always, in some fashion, feel these emotions. But I've realised that everybody does to some degree. For me, 99u was my breakthrough.
Kristy Tillman stressed in her talk 'Bring Yourself To The Table' that teams should not be afraid, and shouldn't think a task is too big for them. This was reiterated also by many of the other speakers. Ryan Carson spoke about 'Beginning With The End In Mind', posing the thought-provoking question "how would you want your close circle to remember you?". Scott Belsky talked about 'Ego Analytics', encouraging teams to keep auditing and innovating their playbooks and methods of production, effectively treating ourselves like the products we create.
I have come away from 99u with many ideas to discuss with my directors, and how we can merge lessons learned from 99u with what we already do so well as an agency. Expect to see more from myself and the team on our blog as we interpret and adjust to what was the best creativity conference I’ve ever been to.