ASID Platform Retreat Encourages Designers to Think Differently

Reed Kroloff of Jones|Kroloff Design Services kicks off Platform. Photography courtesy of ASID.

Designers are paid to think differently. So the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Platform: A Retreat for Design Visionaries conference in Victoria, BC, gathered a powerful group of industry professionals to do just that.

For starters, scholars, editors, authors, and luminaries in their fields tackled nine critical questions on technology. Designers turned to WIRED editor in chief Nicholas Thompson for answers on topics from online privacy to cell phone overuse to tools of war.

WIRED Editor-in-Chief Nicholas Thompson ignites the audience with conversations about current and future technology. Photography courtesy of ASID.

They explored the topic of stress with Harvard-educated medical practitioner and author Dr. Shimi Kang. She offered a suggestion based on her book, The Dolphin Parent: A Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy, and Self-Motivated KidsRemember the timeless acronym POD—play, others (for interaction), and downtime—to reduce stress and boost brain health.

Attendees strategized on business transformation using “intrapreneurs,” based on the rubric of Chitra Anand of Forbes School of Business and Technology. She challenged designers to tap intrapreneurs who think and act like entrepreneurs, delivering positive change and innovation inside their own organizations.

And to help designers fathom our urban future, New Cities Foundation senior fellow Greg Lindsay mapped smart city trends from mobility to resiliency. Lindsay explored how cities may be optimized through investing, storytelling, and co-creating.

Layer those heady topics with informal experiences and structured, roundtable-style conversations, and the results were evident. For example, designers logged a list of things design firms should stop doing, and they matched that with things design firms should start doing. See the lists below.

ASID CEO Randy Fiser, Hon. FASID, describes Platform as a catalyst: “We recognized the demand for an industry experience that brings together the best of the best, the true visionaries of the design community, for a retreat that provides an arena for relationship building, interaction, and idea sharing that moves the entire industry forward, not as disparate pieces, but as one united community.”

Elizabeth Von Lehe, Allied ASID, ICRAVE Design, who steered the Platform Advisory Committee, with Lisa Fulford-Roy, CBRE. Photography courtesy of ASID.

Platform was sponsored by Benjamin Moore, Cosentino, Signature Kitchen Suite, and Interior Design.

Gary E. Wheeler, FASID, HDR, and Ken Wilson, ASID, FAIA, LEED Fellow, Perkins+Will DC. Photography courtesy of ASID.
ASID CEO Randy Fiser, Hon. FASID toasts the first-ever Platform: A Retreat for Design Visionaries. Photography courtesy of ASID.
Like all ASID conferences, Platform had a health and wellness theme woven throughout. Each morning, attendees had an option of yoga, a guided walk, or simply breakfast in bed. Photography courtesy of ASID.
Platform attendees tour Victoria’s Dockside Green, one of the most sustainable neighborhoods in North America. Photography courtesy of ASID.
Greg Lindsay, senior fellow at the New Cities Foundation, details the future of cities. Photography courtesy of ASID.

Platform takeaways

What design firms should stop doing

- Managing reactively

- Thinking in silos within teams and studios

- Fighting technology

- Losing track of clients after a project

- Agreeing to impossible timelines

- Operating as note takers and not proactive problem-solvers

What design firms should start doing

- Managing proactively

- Getting involved in the education process of interior design students

- Defining design as visionary, not execution-based

- Crafting adaptive projects with built-in value add or retainer-based

- Convincing clients that adequate timelines lead to better outcomes

- Providing laser-focused detail on service and value

- Acting as trusted advisors and business partners

- Creating an emotional response to projects and ideas

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