Archived on August 20, 2012. Visit for more information.
Gain Conference 2006
Presentation Descriptions

Michael Conforti, PhD., Jungian analyst, consultant and author
Archetypes, Image and Design

Visually and conceptually, what we know about life we learn from the patterns around us, and those we ourselves create. In both cases, there is a universal and mythic dimension to images, and understanding these allows us to be much more discerning when working with brand logos and designs.

Through illustrations from film, music, myth and the sciences, we will explore the importance of understanding the archetypal root of images. And while mainstream or contemporary culture might have us shy away from words like ‘ancient’ and ‘wisdom,’ we find these highly relevant to our topic. Because archetypes correlate with the deepest levels of the human psyche, it is not enough to look simply at the manifest aspect of a design. There is great opportunity to tap an even richer source of meaning and make this resonance work for you.

Moira Cullen, design director, Coca-Cola North America
Breaking Down the Silos: The Evolution of Brand Collaboration

Today’s creativity economy demands that brand building become a collaborative act. Consider this next phase in brand evolution: a strategic synthesis of brand and design management that transcends organizational and professional barriers and rivalries to create meaningful and measurable consumer experiences.

Todd DeGarmo, principal, STUDIOS Architecture with Lauren Eckhart-Smith, IAC/Interactive Corp
Challenging Design Convention at IAC/Interactive's New Headquarters

IAC/Interactive Corp operates leading and diversified businesses in sectors being transformed by the Internet, both online and offline. These businesses include, Evite, Ticketmaster and Home Shopping Network among others. IAC is building a new headquarters in Chelsea to accommodate these diverse organizations and the corporate staff. The design team consists of Gehry Partners for the building, Bruce Mau for graphics and STUDIOS Architecture for the interiors. Todd DeGarmo and Lauren Eckhart-Smith will discuss the project’s goals, the collaborative design process and the development of IAC’s interior solution.

Kierstin De West and Jason McCormick, Ci: Conscientious Innovation*
The SHIFT Report

Ci is a strategic and creative brand and innovation consultancy with expertise on the relationship between consumers, brands and sustainability. Ci’s Kierstin De West and Jason McCormick discuss The SHIFT Report—the first of its kind—a comprehensive study of the cultural shift to sustainability occurring in the marketplace. A key ingredient in SHIFT is a primary North American qualitative research study on consumer perceptions of social responsibility, sustainability and the impact this has on lifestyle choices, brand relationships and purchase decisions.

SHIFT is designed and analyzed to present insights based on consumer and cultural truths, that can be applied to four key areas of business: Product design and development, marketing communications, brand development, corporate responsibility and the relationship between all four.
* "Short story" presentation, 5 minutes

Nell Daniel, executive director, Sweat Equity Enterprises, Marc Ecko Enterprises

Marc Ecko is one of today’s leading lifestyle designers whose company includes *ecko unltd., G–Unit Clothing Company, Zoo York, Avirex Sportswear, Complex magazine and a recently launched video game with Atari which last year reported billings of over $1.2 billion. He has grown his business and navigated across platforms and media using good design and smart business savvy. Nell Daniel will present Ecko’s hottest new business venture, which takes design to the next level, taps the hottest creative ideas of urban teens and generates an even greater return on investment.

Kevin Farnham, chief executive officer, Method with Shane Brentham, senior director, brand services, Autodesk
Brand and Interface Innovation: Method and Autodesk Build Profitability Through Design

In a presentation designed to educate attendees on the creative possibilities and challenges related to Autodesk's brand redesign and new interface architecture, Kevin Farnham of Method, a San Francisco branding and design practice, and client Shane Brentham of Autodesk, one of the largest software companies in the world with a market cap of U.S. $8 billion, will discuss:
*How and where design influences Autodesk's business and culture
* A description of Method and Autodesk's collaboration, with a particular emphasis on elements of the collaboration that showcase how both parties value design as a strategic process
*The top three branding and design guidelines that characterized the Autodesk rebrand
* A description of specific successes and challenges related to the Autodesk rebranding effort
* The most important principles guiding Autodesk's interface redesign.

Fritz Doddy and Noel Franus, senior strategist, Sun Microsystems, audio branding
Audio Branding: Boosting Value Everywhere the Brand Lives

Perhaps you've heard the NBC chimes. Or you've hummed along with your cell–phone’s ringtone. Maybe you'd even like to teach the world to sing. If so, you’re familiar with audio branding—the use of music, sound and voice, intentionally crafted to distinguish a brand in an otherwise crowded marketplace.

The difference between an intentional audio brand and an accidental one: all companies already communicate through the use of sound across multiple touchpoints, but few leverage a strategic approach that spans multiple media for the sake of boosting the bottom line.

Noel Franus recently directed the new Sun Microsystems and Java audio brands. He'll walk us through their new sonic side, and discuss the related business potential, which covers everything from Sun's music–on–hold to its operating systems to more than one billion Java–enabled cell phones and other networked devices. Bonus material: an audio–branding pop quiz, plus the debut of Sun and Java startup sounds.

Maria Giudice, chief executive officer and founder, Hot Studio, Inc. (Followed by Q&A with colleagues Cynthia Barton, director, Architecture for Humanity, New York and Noel Franus, senior strategist, Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Design Like You Give a Damn

Architecture for Humanity (AFH) is a non–profit organization that creates opportunities for designers from around the world to help communities in crisis. This year, AFH co–founder Cameron Sinclair was one of three recipients to receive the prestigious TED Prize, awarded to individuals who have shown that they can, in some way, positively impact life on this planet. TED Prize recipients each get one wish to change the world. San Francisco design firm Hot Studio and technology leader Sun Microsystems have teamed up with AFH to grant Sinclair's wish—to create a collaborative design community to help raise living standards around the world. Through the process of working together, we are learning how design and technology can have a powerful impact on the economic sustainability of an organization. We are also seeing how technology can provide a much–needed organizational infrastructure that will allow AFH to continue to grow for many years to come. In this discussion, we will focus on how we have worked collaboratively to maximize creative thinking as we shape our strategy for the "internet ecosystem" we are designing.

Sam Hecht, founding partner, Industrial Facility, London
Product as Landscape

Many people who go about their daily lives are oblivious to the fact that everything they see, hear, touch or smell has a profound effect on their temperament. The city, the building, the room, the chair, the table and so on, are all interconnected, and equally influential. This simple reality is often either neglected, not involved, forgotten or misunderstood during the process of commissioning, making and consuming goods. Consequently, the public, the consumer, and the user become oblivious to subtlety and simplicity, because our receptors are challenged by an ever greater dependence on marketplace ‘wow’ factors. A consumer may not know all reasons for desiring a product—but nevertheless, desire is there. The foundation for this desire should be discovered with use and the appreciation acquired over time. Like-minded companies and institutions that regard design as a fundamental part of their life, are working with Industrial Facility to explore the ideas of dependence, landscape and simplicity. Sam Hecht of Industrial Facility will describe the balance of simplicity and impact through recent projects and studies, including works for Muji, Harrison Fisher and Epson.

Michael Hendrix, chief brand officer, Tricycle, Inc., with Bo Barber, founder and president, Nood Floorcovering
All Look, No Feel

Last year, 4.8 billion pounds of carpet went into U.S. landfills and over $1 billion was spent by carpet manufacturers to produce samples—products used only briefly in the design process, then thrown away.
These manufacturers hired Tricycle for a “mid-course correction” that exponentially reduced the amount of resources required to produce a sample; in 2005 Tricycle’s customers shipped over 35,000 carpet simulations that resulted in a savings of 8,000 gallons of oil and reduced landfill waste by more than 50,000 lbs.
In the final quarter of 2005 Nood Floorcovering commissioned Tricycle to design sustainable processes from the ground up—from PD to sales to marketing. Rather than “fixing” problems in a faulty system, Tricycle moved into a position of creating innovative, integrated processes and methodologies along the manufacturing and merchandising chain, establishing a new standard for best practices in the industry —all from a small Southern town.

Ji Lee, The Bubble Project*
The Bubble Project

60,000 blank bubble stickers were printed. They’ve been continually placed on top of street advertising—bus stops, phone booths, subway ads, etc. They’re left empty, inviting passersby to fill them in. Later the results are photographed.

The Bubble Project instantly transforms the corporate monologues into public dialogues while providing a lot of fun. The Bubble Project has gained a lot of interest from people and media from all around the world. Its story has appeared in the ABC “World News”, Newsweek, NY Daily News, The Guardian among others.
* "Short story" presentation, 5 minutes

Bobby C. Martin Jr., design director, Jazz at Lincoln Center*
Creative is not a Service, it's a Necessity

Bobby C. Martin will discuss the integration of jazz, art, commerce and culture from the perspective of an in-house design director.
* "Short story" presentation, 5 minutes

Roger Martin, dean, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
Designing in Hostile Territory

Many designers feel that when they attempt to design in the business context they are designing in hostile territory. Their creative new ideas get shot down in flames or shunted to the side or twisted into something they never intended. At the heart of the challenge is a natural tension between the reliability orientation of business and the validity orientation of designers. While the tension will always be there, designers can manage it productively if they understand it. Designing in Hostile Territory provides designers with the five tools they can use to produce design success even on tricky terrain.

Henry Myerberg, principal, Rockwell Group and Richard Smyth, vice president, redevelopment, JFK, JetBlue Airways Corporation
JetBlue Terminal Marketplace: Design for a Higher Plane

JetBlue engaged the Rockwell Group in 2005 to design the “marketplace” of their new large–scale terminal, being planned by Gensler at John F. Kennedy International Airport. This marketplace—like a modern–day agora for dining, shopping and lounging—will serve as the nexus for arriving and departing passengers. JetBlue, the upstart and growing airline that has “brought humanity back to air travel,” challenged Rockwell Group to design a place and an experience that reflected JetBlue’s passionately customer–centric values. Rockwell Group responded with a pair of highly functional, slightly whimsical and simply sculptural grandstands and platforms to guide the route and offer respite for the swarms of passengers whose numbers will match all of LaGuardia’s on any single day. Like bleachers at Yankee Stadium or the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, these grandstands will host scenes of informal munching and internet surfing, and overlook the hustle and bustle of the terminal.

Doug Powell, principle, Schwartz Powell Design and director, creative development, HealthSimple

Doug Powell and his wife Lisa were operating a successful small design firm in Minneapolis in 2002 when their young daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. The months that followed transformed their family and their professional lives. After developing Type 1 Tools, a line of products to help families adjust to the shocking reality of everyday life with diabetes, the Powell’s discovered there is an enormous need for similar tools in other areas of healthcare. Hence they formed HealthSimple with a mission to help the millions of people living with chronic health problems better manage their conditions and live healthier lives.
This session will get you thinking about following your personal passions to new business opportunities; alternatives to the “traditional” design firm model and; using design to make the world a better place.

Harry Rich, Deputy Chief Executive, Design Council
Trust me, I’m a designer*

Successful businesses and economies increasingly understand design as a strategic activity. This move up the value chain brings with it the responsibility for design professionals to demonstrate the impact of design on business performance. Harry Rich will share the Design Council’s new Value of Design Factfinder, an online tool that helps designers, design managers and business advisers, to make the case for design.
* “Short story” presentation, 5 minutes

Michael Stanat, author, China's Generation Y: Understanding the Future Leaders of the World's Next Superpower
Realizing the Design of Tomorrow

The world has witnessed tremendous, irreversible changes that have revolutionized the way people view their lives. Young people throughout the world have given birth to new thought processes and a new generation of design. As the world rethinks itself, the design community must also reposition itself. Paying special attention to the future “hotbeds” of design like China and India, Michael Stanat explores the impact of youth on design and the approaching challenges and opportunities that young people pose to the design community.
This presentation will illustrate that companies and youth can forge a symbiotic relationship in which young people develop designer trends, while companies innovate corporate strategies to suit these new market demands. Stanat will further examine how companies can grasp youth trends and cultivate design talent. Together through design, young people and companies can usher in a new business and global environment that could shape the next few decades.

Scott Williams, chief creative officer, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

In this presentation, Scott Williams will consider the relationship between design, innovation and loyalty through a discussion of his innovation with the Sheraton, Westin and W Hotel brands. He will demonstrate you how you can “execute the obvious” to rise above the competition by watching your customers and transforming experience through better design.
Through a wide array of data and artifacts—both from within Starwood and beyond—Scott will convey:
* What we can learn from observation in the user environment
* How we can then import that knowledge for innovation
* How you can emotionally connect and resonate with your customer
* Examples of how Empathic Design has transformed the customer experience
* How companies that create a process for design connect better with their customers

LiAnne Yu, director, Asian Business Strategy, Cheskin
Exporting Fast Food to China: Using Ethnography to Understand How Western Brands Can Connect to China’s Consumer Revolution. A Case Study

Pollo Campero means "country chicken" in Spanish, but it may mean "trouble" to competitors in the restaurant industry. The Guatemala-based chain affirmed that 2006 would be a year dedicated to a new and ambitious goal—a unique positioning in Asia to support the opening of 500 restaurants in the next 5 years in Shanghai, Beijing and Wuhan, cities which together represent over 33 million potential customers. Cross-cultural ethnographic immersion in both Latin American and Chinese culture dispelled preconceived cultural bias and illuminated opportunities that will ensure this endeavor’s success.

Takeaways of this presentation include:
*The challenges to watch for when navigating between cultures in ethnographic studies
* The importance of cultural consumer understanding to develop design and business strategies
* Insights into the emerging Chinese consumer and implications for product and brand development