Yesterday Anne and I arrived at the biennial design- and business conference GAIN in New York, arranged by AIGA. We are here together with a handful of managers from the Danish design industry (Danish Design Association), namely Søren from e-Types, Mikkel and Line from 1508 and Mark from The Mark. This morning we paid a visit to digital agency AKQA, recently acclaimed one of the top-50 most innovative copanies in the World by Wired Magazine (for those interested in authenticity, note their description of their Shmirnoff case). We spend a couple of hours with Damian Claasses and Lars Bastholm (well, that was brief, but still fun to see you, Lars) who used to work at Danish Framfab back in the early web days.
We discussed how the AKQA team has managed to forward some of the largest brands into business-oriented, creative projects. Like a secret game-like campaign for McDonald’s. Or the Coca-Cola Happiness Factory which they brought to digital life as brand fans can now sign up for a virtual job at the factory, claiming to make their work-life more fun.
The conference presents an impressive lineup of very interesting and highly succesful people within and outside the design industry. Tom Kelley, CEO of IDEO, will be presenting and leading the conference. Grant McCracken, anthropologist with rockstar-like status in academia and business. Michael Conforti, psychologist and jungian analyst specializing in subjects like Jung’s archetypes, storytelling (he has consulted a number of movies in the making in order to get the story right) and jungian archetypes. And my favourite writer, journalist and author of Tipping Point and Blink, Malcolm Gladwell will be closing down the conference saturday night. All very exciting!
I am hoping to get inspiration on the way we create value and business for our clients and find input on how we can solve some of the complex challenges that we are facing when we help clients develop their organizational and corporate identities. And ofcourse I’m also looking forward to spending time with our Danish colleagues, meeting my brother and my friends and enjoying the sun in the Big Apple. Sunday night we fly back to Copenhagen.