01/21/2013 01:29 pm ET Updated Mar 23, 2013

Bloomberg Business Week Design Conference Is an Iterative Experience

They came, they collaborated, they conferred. For the 250-some design industry professionals who converged on San Francisco's de Young Museum, the intense day of meetings, presentations and lectures revealed a new design paradigm of communal success. More heads are better than one! Crowdsource! Share! Team credit! Silhouetted in front of Gerhard Richter's sci-fi "Strontium" mural depicting the atomic structure of artificial diamonds, conference presenters and participants kept their heads bowed together, searching for the day's gems.

The crowd included a disproportionate number of men in black suits, sporting colorful socks and arty-looking spectacles as the industry's new normal. When business cards were exchanged, they had unusual photos, or texture. With crystallized mantras flying overhead like drones, they chatted in the language of their tribe, "This is Pop-up Magazine for the design industry," "Design should be deep in the DNA of projects." "Design is the confluence of planning strategy and solutions." "Go fast and iterate!" Many participants came for the opportunity to glean from peers in related fields, and were surprised at the confluence of thought across disciplines. Whether they are designing a thermostat that learns to turn itself off when no one is home, responsive infographics for the New York Times website, or costumes for Lady Gaga, presenters affirmed the importance of collaboration and speed as well as creativity.

Paul Bennett, Chief creative officer at IDEO offered a succinct manifesto, "Action. Purpose. Optimism, " he cheerfully intoned. "Work is global. The biggest barrier to getting things done is hierarchy." He affirmed that, "Silicon Valley's figured it out, it has flattened hierarchy, and as a result is leading the market. It's outgrown its rebellious moment to form a business culture that is permissive and expansive." And so they went forth, expanding and expounding, as they had just been given permission to do.

On the drawing board: Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk, Michael B. Johnson of Pixar, costume and set designer Es Devlin, Steve Duenes of our "sister" publication, The New York Times, Yves Behar of fuseproject and just about everything, Janette Sadik-Khan of the NYC DOT, architect Jeanne Gang, Stephen Doyle of Doyle Partners, Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano of LOT-EK, Thom Mayne of Morphosis Architects, Patricia Urquiola, Gregg Heard, Brian Chesky the wizard of Airbnb, Glen Cummings, Alberto Cairo, Martin Krzywinski of Genome Sciences Centre, Edward Opara, Eric Rodenbeck of Stamen, Leila Takayama, who "manages human-robot interaction" at Willow Garage, Masatoshi Ishikawa, Professor of creative informatics in Tokyo, (really!), Tony Fadell of Nest and a whole slew of Bloombergians who produced the conference and the informationally ubiquitous magazine (which has decided to capitalize only the first word of titles:) Editor Josh Tyrangiel, Creative director Richard Turley, Chairman Norman Pearlstine, Executive editor Brad Wieners, Senior correspondent Sam Grobart, Graphics director Jennifer Daniel, TV Editor Cory Johnson, Staff writer Ashlee Vance, and Lisa Strausfeld, who carries the mind-boggling title of "Global head of data visualization." Now don't you wish you had been there to iterate?

Bloomberg BusinessWeek Design Conference 2013

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