March 24, 2018

stratford, on

The quality of speakers is amazing and it's such a unique opportunity to have locally. I look forward to BLND every year and it's always a blast.

Attendee who filled out our event survey :)

2018 Speakers

BLND brings experts in UX research, product designer, creative strategy, and much more. Get to know some of our previous speakers. This years incredible lineup will excite and inspire you to have a whole new appreciation for design in business.

Mike Clarke headshot


Director, UX Research

Sarah McMullin headshot


Director, Product Management
Tulip Retail

Michael Joffe headshot


Americas Lead, Creative Strategy

Vanessa Rementilla headshot


Design Strategist
RBC Ventures

Adi Sharma headshot


Experience Design Strategist
RBC Ventures

Candice Luck headshot


Innovation Program Manager

Chris Hayes headshot


Head of User Experience

Alisha Kassam headshot


Senior Product Designer

Greg Dubejsky headshot


International Advertising Manager,

Suhaila Baheyeldin headshot


Senior Product Designer
Greenfield Labs

Markus Grupp Headshot


Director, Experience Design
Indigo Digital

Everton Lewis headshot


VP & Practice Lead

2018 Schedule

8:00 AM

Bus Departure from Waterloo

For those coming from Kitchener-Waterloo, the buses will be departing from Hagey Hall at the University of Waterloo Main Campus at 8:00 AM to arrive at the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus for 8:45am.

8:45 AM

Registration & Breakfast

Welcome! Upon arriving to the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus, pick-up your name tag at the front desk.

Breakfast and beverages will be served to kick-off the event.

9:30 AM

Talk: 3 Ways to Innovate Beyond Product

Business model disruption. “Fail fast.” “Iterate.” Have you heard these words enough times yet?
They represent critical concepts to actually create and deliver change. However, most of the time we just pay them lip service & skim the surface, while avoiding the gory details and stories that give better insight to what actually goes right and wrong in the pursuit of innovation.

In this talk, Greg goes behind the scenes with a real live case study of innovation strategy, focusing on a pivotal moment for Gillette. Greg will share insights, and his good, bad, and ugly anecdotes on how he approached business model innovation on an $8B established business.

You will learn about pitching to a multinational CEO, how the tiniest parameter can have dramatic impact on a system, why business models are actually important, and how to innovate even though there are no new ideas.

10:15 AM

Talk: Are we still designing for people? (Diversity and Ethics in Design)

Our role as designers is to advocate and design for the people using our products. To do that we need to understand and empathize with them, consider their differences and diversity (experience, education, age, tech knowledge, etc.), and make sure we’re making sound decisions with our products to avoid unintended consequences for our users.

11:00 AM

Morning Workshops: Select 1 to participate in!

* Select 1 of the following workshops to attend:

(1) Knowing Your Future Customers with Vanessa Rementilla & Adi Sharma

How might you capture your customer needs, values, attitudes and behaviours in 10, 20, 30 years and beyond? Does your organization want to grow the same market over time or create a new market for a future user? Do you want to be able to compare and contrast multi-generational profiles to best understand similarities and differences?

In this workshop, you will learn to combine the tools and methods of Design and Strategic Foresight to model future user profiles. We augment the classic Persona with Horizon Scanning techniques and contextual insights such as life-changing events, to create a plausible future user. You’ll learn to take the market segments you know today and have a clear view of what may have changed in the future so you can align your product strategy for tomorrow.

(2) Designing for the Unknown with Chris Hayes

Digital products evolve over time. As people use your app in the real world, you learn what works and what doesn’t and adjust accordingly. Iteration, right?

But how do you ensure the product design you create today is a solid foundation to evolve from? What are the tenets of a design system that's flexible enough to work for features you haven’t even dreamed up yet?

(3) How to determine what to build next? Using Journey Mapping to find areas of opportunity within software development with Sarah McMullin

Truly understanding the present can help you redefine and create a better future. In this hands-on workshop you will be taken through the steps of (1) how to visually map a story of your end user, (2) identify stages of that journey, (3) identify friction points within that journey, and finally (4) reimagine your story with your new software intervention!

12:30 PM

Bus Departure from Waterloo

Your brain needs energy, eat some food! Enjoy a catered lunch.

1:30 PM

Bus Departure from Waterloo

Alisha is an experience designer interested in how design can create organizational and social change. Over the past 7 years she has worked with large international brands and clients, spearheading research, design and strategy. She currently works as a Senior Product Designer at Shopify and Founded non-profit Side x Side Collective, an organization that provides mentorship for young women working in tech and aims to create equality and diversity of thought in creative leadership.

Alisha sits down with Markus Grupp to discuss the importance of mentorship in your career development.

2:15 PM

Afternoon Workshops: Select 1 to participate in!

* Select 1 of the following workshops to attend:

(1) Empathy through Wargaming with Candice Luck

Wargaming is a civilian hobby that allows its players to experience and solve a simulated conflict. This can take the form of a physical game of paintball to a virtual massive multiplayer online role playing game.

Most wargames draw from simple military simulations where the competition is seen as an enemy and the objective is simple, to win. However, when used in simulated market and business situations, wargaming encourages outside of the box thinking and increases our understanding of the stakeholders involved. In fact, it forces us to empathize and fight for the stakeholders (e.g. customers) at the table.

Join us for a high energy workshop where we take role playing to new levels to unpack a complex multi-stakeholder and multi-faceted problem.

(2) Designing for Behaviour Change with Everton Lewis

Our Designing for Behaviour Change workshop will outline Bridgeable’s approach to harnessing behavioural economics to design better products and services by nudging users that are faced with a decision.

In Designing for Behaviour Change, we will answer:
• What is behavioural economics (BE) and how does it intersect with design?
• How can behavioural economics be leveraged to design behaviour change?
• Which BE principles are most relevant to service and experience designers?

This workshop will teach you how to use Bridgeable’s Designing for Behaviour Change Toolkit, and provide step-by-step guidance for incorporating BE into your design process.

Please note, this toolkit was crafted for design practitioners, assuming you are familiar with the foundational tools of Service and Experience Design, but are new to the principles of behavioural economics or designing for behaviour change.

(3) Developing People through Design (Design for Social Impact) with Chenny Xia & Markus Grupp

Using the designer's mindset and toolset that we rely on daily, we tackled the wicked problem of reducing poverty in East Toronto. In this workshop, we'll explore how we used our design capabilities to transform our community through co-creating The Prosper Lab.

We'll share our story of how everyday designers were able to collaborate with people-in-need to find employment, housing, or go back to school. By building safe and inclusive learn-by-doing environments, we created real-life learning opportunities to help low-income individuals. Through design, we build the critical soft-skills, confidence, and support they needed to rise above poverty.

Workshop participants will get hands-on to explore how they can use a designer mindset and toolkit to tackle wicked problems, while understanding potential challenges, shortcomings and the realization, that design is not enough.

3:45 PM

Networking Break

Connect and socialize with speakers, sponsors and attendee's over light snacks and refreshments!

5:15 PM

Talk: 4 lessons from my 4 year quest to design the perfect ad at YouTube

This talk explores the role of creative effectiveness as a design practice and its impact on approaches to brand marketing. Michael Joffe will share his personal experience working with Google's top customers to apply insights from causal data to improve the quality of future creative communication.

6:00 PM

Talk: Approaches to Design Research at Netflix

Drawing on mixed methods in order to create meaningful services for consumers. Setting a strategy and being practical in order to delight global consumers.

6:45 PM

Final Remarks and After Party!

Final remarks for the day and instructions for BLND 2018 after party.

9:00 PM

Bus Departure Stratford

Bus departs the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus to return to the University of Waterloo Main Campus at Hagey Hall.