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Archipelagos of Fragility: a KIKK 2019 recap

World of Digits / Explore


KIKK festivalis an event that takes place once a year in Namur with international speakers who share ideas on Art, Culture, Technology and UX.

The theme of this year’s KIKK festival was “Archipelagos of Fragility”. These fragile ‘island groups’ have a parallel with new technologies emerging almost every day. How unifying they might seem, there are obvious barriers that divide the people (not) using them.

On Thursday October 31st, Claire and Julie, both consultants as UX Designer at WOD, set out to discover these so-called barriers. No need to worry if you couldn’t attend the conference: here’s a recap from what they’ve found most interesting in the conference.

Claire’s insights

Keep learning

We started the day off with a conference from HKI.Paris, a creative agency that proved that ‘faking ‘till you make it’ can work and that you have to keep learning and challenging yourself. A good way for them to always keep up with new technologies was to constantly train themselves instead of hiring experts in a very precise domain. That’s also what we are trying to do at WOD. We are experts in a certain domain, but we train ourselves to adapt and constantly learn to stay up-to-date.

Talk to strangers and push boundaries

Daan Lucas from Random Studio shared a study (from 2014 but still worth knowing) which shows that talking to strangers on the subway is actually enjoyable. Most of us think we don’t want to be interrupted or bothered and believe the outcome to be negative. The opposite is actually true, and the study proves that connecting with strangers is positive and will improve momentary well-being. It works not only on the subway and I’m sure if you try yourself, you’ll find out that talking to people is actually not that bad.
Ok so that was probably 3 minutes of the whole talk but apart from that, Daan pushed us out of the browser and into exploring all our senses. How can we mix hearing, touching and feeling?

It’s all about experiences 

Storytelling is dead. Long live the Experience! Base Design gave a talk about blanding, not branding, which is a way to blend in for brands instead of standing out. They showed that brands are now all looking the same on a visual point of view but in order to differentiate, brands have to not only share a powerful story but they need to prove it as well! We should see companies offering more and more real experiences. As consultants, that’s also what we try to achieve at our clients!

Julie’s insights

Main insight from the conference

In the afternoon we went to a talk from Mala Kumar, Program manager at ;Github and previously UX designer for Unicef. “Design needs to focus more on the world’s most pressing problems” was the title of her talk, and boy she was right! As technologists we’re constantly talking about how we’re “solving problems through technology”. But if you put the solving problems part into perspective, a fruit juicer with a phone doesn’t seem as important as making sure half of the world’s children won’t be born into poverty anymore. For me, the main takeaway from this (and many other talks I’ve heard that day): we are responsible for designing ethical technology. It’s easy to talk about your beliefs and have a certain set of values, but what do those mean if you’re not acting upon them?

Surprisingly interesting

After a not-so-interesting and shorter than expected talk on how Google does usability testing, we had plenty of time left to see Anna Ginsburg’s talk on “Spinning aubergines, Talking Genitals and the Oldest Women on Earth”. It was very inspiring to see her putting her personal life into her work, combined with a splash of humour = amazing animations. The effort she puts into her animations is just fascinating and the subjects such as sexuality and female beauty are liberating. Definitely check out her work!

Knew it already, had to be reminded of it

Aha, Stefan Sagmeister returns to Kikk. Last time he mentioned he was working on his Happy Film and now he’s back to talk about it. Will keep it short here: we’re all responsible for our own happiness, but we can make it easier by having good friends, doing non-repetitive activities and singing in groups. Definitely check out his documentary if you have the time.

5 takeaways

1. The next big thing after storytelling for brands is Creating Experiences. Action speak louder than words🎯.

2. Most designers live in developed countries whereas the real need for designers is in developing countries. Consider working in social goods.
It might bring you less 💰 but will definitely make you 😀.

3. Take a step back! Don’t forget that we work in a privileged environment and that paper and SMS are still popular in many places and countries.

4. Stay curious and why not consider changing the interface from a screen to a wall or a body 🔍?! Think outside the browser!

5. Singing in a group will make you feel happy 🎤. Everytime! At WOD, we actually had a party where we all ended up singing together and it was one of the best events indeed 🥳!

KIKK, see you next year 👋 

written by Claire Dominioni & Julie Van Beethoven


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