Look back at blnd 2020

March 14, 2020


2020 speakers

Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic BLND 2020 was unable to proceed as planned.

Lauren Palmer headshot


Director, UX Research

Matt Cebulski headshot


Strategic Partnerships Executive

Mike Clark headshot


Director, Research

Heather Daam-Rossi headshot


Innovation Designer
The Moment

JannaCameron headshot


Design Lead, Innovation Lab

Ben Kim headshot


Manager, Service Design and Strategy

Linn Vizard headshot


Independent Designer

Andrea Ong headshot


Director, Product Design
Loblaw Digital

Markus Grupp Headshot


Senior Director,
Experience Design
Kira Systems

Chase Denomme headshot


Product Designer

Ramy Nassar headshot


1000 Days Out

Hira Javed Headshot


Service Design Lead

Kyle Schruder Headshot


Director of Design

Sarah Hope Keast Headshot

Hope Keast

Experience Designer
Konrad Group

Anoosha Sajjad headshot


Experience Designer
Konrad Group

Headshot of David Luong


Assoc. Experience Designer
Konrad Group

Femke van Schoonhoven headshot


Product Designer

Angie Kwan Headshot


Product Designer

2020 Schedule

9:20 AM

Opening Remarks

9:30 AM

Talk: "You Can Handle the Truth!"  How when design holds a mirror, businesses thrive

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Over the last 20 years design teams have changed form and function as our discipline has evolved.  While the essence of what we bring stays true, our role and impact in organizations has shifted dramatically.  Lauren Palmer shares lessons from a career in UX research and design, and considers a future that may include a re-ambiguation of UX disciplines.

Lauren Palmer
Director, Research | Google

10:15 AM

Talk: Where the rubber hits the road

Finding the intricate balance of traditional design practices and action. The world of design can sometimes seem never ending with workshops, interviews, roundtables, critiques and staged user feedback. These are all important ceremonies that yield valuable information but sometimes the real learning only comes when your idea or product is out in the wild. The real wild. Where The Rubber Hits The Road will focus on this balance and the who, what, when of implementing zero to one innovations. 

Matt Cebulski
Strategic Partnerships Executive | Mappedin

11:00 AM

Morning Workshops: Select 1 to participate in!

* Select 1 of the following workshops to attend:

1. Sketch It Out: a Workshop on How to Sketchnote
Sketchnotes, aka visual notes, harness the power of visual thinking to hone our listening and synthesis skills. They’re not about art or artistic skills. Making sketchnotes is a way to synthesize what we hear, to make mental connections, to become more effective listeners and learners. And it hones your ability to focus.You can sketchnote just about anything: a conference talk, a section or chapter or a whole book, an article, a project plan, a context map for a project, an intro about yourself, your favourite things, highlights from your vacation, a meeting at work, etc.

How to get started with sketchnoting
How to focus and listen to get the most out of what you’re investing your time into

Andrea Ong
Director |  Loblaw Digital

2. Designing for Growth: Sprint experiments for better experiences that drive business growth

For designers, marketers, product managers and engineers who want to collaboratively attack company growth. Participants will learn how to incorporate growth hacking methodologies into short sprints to craft experiments around growth levers, generating better user experiences and igniting business growth.

Chase Denomme
Product Designer | Vidyard


3. Getting and Starting your First Full-Time UX Job

What is it like to get your first full time design job? What makes an application stand out? Hear the first hand experience from designers who just made their way through this transition and are now transforming industries with design thinking. We’ll bring the experiences of our hiring managers who’ve shared what they look for in each stage of the hiring process, including their favourite interview questions and the best ways to navigate them. This workshop is designed to prepare you for your job hunt and empower you to make the most of your opportunities!

Sarah Hope Keast, Annoosha Sajjad & David Luong
Experience Designers | Konrad Group

12:30 PM


Your brain needs energy, eat some food!

1:30 PM

Fireside Chat

Panel discussion with some of the speakers from the day.

2:15 PM

Afternoon Workshops: Select 1 to participate in!

* Select 1 of the following workshops to attend:

1. Design Thinking for AI and ML

This interactive workshop gives participants a deep dive into AI, machine learning, and emerging technology, through the lens of human-centered design. This approach provides individuals & teams a repeatable and scalable toolkit that can be applied to building better AI-enabled solutions.

The program, delivered by the author of the upcoming AI Product Design Handbook, is intended for those involved with bringing disruptive digital products & services to market. Participants will walk away with tools, methods & frameworks focused on applying these technologies to customer and organizational problems.

Ramy Nassar
Partner | 1000 Days Out


2. Kickstarting your Design Career: How to prepare for your first design job
We know how difficult and stressful it can be to land your first design job. What can you do to stand out and embrace your uniqueness? How do you discover your values and what you want out of your career? These are some of the questions we’ll be working through together, as well as sharing advice on preparing your portfolio, writing successful case studies, and nailing take-home assignments. At the end of this interactive workshop, you’ll walk away with actionable takeaways to kickstart your design career.

Femke van Schoonhoven & Angie Kwan
Product Designers | Uber


3. Using Comics to Share Research Results

Too many UX research reports are quickly forgotten. In this workshop, you will learn a new way to communicate the stories you hear: UXR comics. In what will feel like a fast 90 mins, you’ll go through the entire process of creating a UXR comic; From summarizing an interview to creating your final visuals. Feel that your art skills aren’t up to par?  Don’t worry.  You’ll learn some secret shortcuts to creating {sufficiently) engaging visuals.

Janna Cameron
Design Lead | Innovation Lab, Sonova


4. Designing with Diversity: How to adapt your design methods for inclusion

Participants will be able to understand how inclusivity and diversity benefits their design projects and pushes their capacity to become better designers and researchers. Through an experiential activity participants will feel first hand the challenges associated with some of the traditional design and research methods and generate alternative approaches to overcoming barriers to inclusion in teams and on projects.

Ben Kim
Manager of Service Design and Strategy | Telus

Linn Vizard
Independent Designer | Toronto

3:45 PM


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

4:15 PM

Talk: Developing User Experiences for ML and AI in the Workplace

Details to come...

Mike Clarke
Director, Research | Facebook

5:00 PM

Talk: The Joy & Happiness in Design

Over a decade of experience has taught me that joy is essential to bring the best out of people, and bring the most out of collaboration. This is my story about bringing joy and happiness into the design process, even when the content is serious. Through real-life examples, I’ll show how to give joy a critical role in the design process…Spoiler alert–it’s even more important than choosing the ‘right’ framework!

Heather Daam-Rossi
Designer | The Moment

5:45 PM

Closing Remarks

Final remarks for the day by Christine McWebb.