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Back to Tobacco Theatre: Design Thinking Conference 2021

So much energy in the room! The Design Thinking Conference 2021 in Amsterdam was a live event – the first after a long time for many of the participants. Many of the cherished community were there (Yuen Yen, Jenny, Fieke, Jane, Adela Christea, Patrick Marcelissen, Jeroen van der Weide, organizer of the DTC, and a good number of other participants of the WWJ. And a few were missed very much, like Daryl Lim, Colin, the US Design Thinkers team, or Pedro, to name only a few.

Julie Harris was my buddy, so I might recommend her summaries on the conference here and here. She was courageous enough to state a flaw which I hope will be removed next year: We’re in a luxurious & privileged bubble: We explore and experiment, have no obligation to produce results, live through two days of empathic and emotional bliss. Yet, what do we then bring into the world? And Jeroen took up the challenge.

„Refuse to accept the current reality“, Idea-DJ Ramon Vullings advised in his talk. And: „Always question the norm!“ added Hans Looijen, director of the „Museum van de Geest“, which aims at neurodiversity. Strong encouragement to play an active part in changing things for the better. 

More insights: Sometimes, we have to destroy things. Ears can be on legs. And many times, it is better not to force things but rely on the other people in the process, let go and trust the flow.

Coming back to the conference – hosted as always in the wonderful Tobacco Theater – felt a bit like coming home. I love the venue, the green lights and the coffee, the conversations during the breaks and Peter Quirijnen’s drawings. 

After two conference days, my head packed with new impressions and experiences, I was very happy to be invited to wind down at Yuen Yen’s house. Have some wind in the face during a walk on the beach, let the conversation flow with Yuen Yen and Henk Frits, and sit at a family table with Indonesian food.

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