Skip to content

First-Ever UC San Diego Design Conference sponsored by Design Lab Unites Students with Leading Design and Business Professionals

First-Ever UC San Diego Design Conference sponsored by Design Lab Unites Students with Leading Design and Business Professionals

First-Ever UC San Diego Design Conference sponsored by Design Lab Unites Students with Leading Design and Business Professionals

By Kaila Lee, Design at UCSD

In late May, over 150 students and leading industry professionals representing top design-centric companies such as WorkdayIDEO, and Intuit attended UC San Diego’s first design conference. Among those in attendance were Scott Robinson of Freshform and Alex Waters of the Downtown San Diego Partnership. The all-day event was hosted by Design at UCSD, a pre-professional design organization on campus, in partnership with Delta Sigma Pi, UC San Diego’s premier business fraternity, and drew attendees from a variety of disciplines including cognitive science, computer science, economics, international business, and more. The conference was aimed at teaching attendees the interdisciplinary nature of design and why it is essential to business.

The conference kicked off with a keynote address presented by lecturer Michael Meyer of the UC San Diego Design Lab and the Rady School of Management. During his address, Meyer dispelled the myth of the “genius designer” and conveyed that the true vision and creativity driving human-centered design emerges through acknowledging that we are designing for people who have diverse human needs.

Meyer empowered attendees through stressing the importance of embodying the qualities characterized by a balance of professional competence and a genuine, insatiable thirst for knowledge. Moreover, he illustrated that successful designs are achieved as a result of combined expertise across a wide range of skill sets. He inspired attendees to strive to integrate various disciplines across the spectrum of design and business into their professional endeavors.

The opening address was followed by a panel discussion featuring Neema Mahdavi (Workday), Nastasha Tan (IDEO), Sharon Carmichael (Intuit), Oz Chen (UXBeginner.com), and Erwin Hines (BASIC Agency). The panelists shared their unique insight into the roles they play as designers in their respective organizations and how they envision design and business intersecting to optimize success in the workplace and beyond. Panelists emphasized the importance of showcasing tangible, real experiences to support skills learned in the classroom.

In addition, the speakers collectively echoed the value of candidates who exude the depth of technical expertise in addition to a breadth of knowledge paired with strong communication and problem solving skills. Panelists further engaged with the audience to address questions and provide advice pertaining to professional development and differentiating oneself as an aspiring designer and business professional.

Attendees also had the opportunity to participate in interactive hour-long breakout sessions facilitated by experienced design and business professionals. Breakout sessions highlighted topics such as navigating the design process, delving into UX Research, and creating an effective design portfolio. Following the breakout sessions, the conference concluded with a networking session in the forum of Price Center Theater where attendees were encouraged to speak to industry professionals. Conference participants left the event feeling motivated and excited to continue exploring the rapidly evolving fields of design and business, equipped with a plethora of new tools and key takeaways to apply to their own professional journey.

By Kaila Lee, Design at UCSD

In late May, over 150 students and leading industry professionals representing top design-centric companies such as WorkdayIDEO, and Intuit attended UC San Diego’s first design conference. Among those in attendance were Scott Robinson of Freshform and Alex Waters of the Downtown San Diego Partnership. The all-day event was hosted by Design at UCSD, a pre-professional design organization on campus, in partnership with Delta Sigma Pi, UC San Diego’s premier business fraternity, and drew attendees from a variety of disciplines including cognitive science, computer science, economics, international business, and more. The conference was aimed at teaching attendees the interdisciplinary nature of design and why it is essential to business.

The conference kicked off with a keynote address presented by lecturer Michael Meyer of the UC San Diego Design Lab and the Rady School of Management. During his address, Meyer dispelled the myth of the “genius designer” and conveyed that the true vision and creativity driving human-centered design emerges through acknowledging that we are designing for people who have diverse human needs.

Meyer empowered attendees through stressing the importance of embodying the qualities characterized by a balance of professional competence and a genuine, insatiable thirst for knowledge. Moreover, he illustrated that successful designs are achieved as a result of combined expertise across a wide range of skill sets. He inspired attendees to strive to integrate various disciplines across the spectrum of design and business into their professional endeavors.

The opening address was followed by a panel discussion featuring Neema Mahdavi (Workday), Nastasha Tan (IDEO), Sharon Carmichael (Intuit), Oz Chen (UXBeginner.com), and Erwin Hines (BASIC Agency). The panelists shared their unique insight into the roles they play as designers in their respective organizations and how they envision design and business intersecting to optimize success in the workplace and beyond. Panelists emphasized the importance of showcasing tangible, real experiences to support skills learned in the classroom.

In addition, the speakers collectively echoed the value of candidates who exude the depth of technical expertise in addition to a breadth of knowledge paired with strong communication and problem solving skills. Panelists further engaged with the audience to address questions and provide advice pertaining to professional development and differentiating oneself as an aspiring designer and business professional.

Attendees also had the opportunity to participate in interactive hour-long breakout sessions facilitated by experienced design and business professionals. Breakout sessions highlighted topics such as navigating the design process, delving into UX Research, and creating an effective design portfolio. Following the breakout sessions, the conference concluded with a networking session in the forum of Price Center Theater where attendees were encouraged to speak to industry professionals. Conference participants left the event feeling motivated and excited to continue exploring the rapidly evolving fields of design and business, equipped with a plethora of new tools and key takeaways to apply to their own professional journey.

By Kaila Lee, Design at UCSD

In late May, over 150 students and leading industry professionals representing top design-centric companies such as WorkdayIDEO, and Intuit attended UC San Diego’s first design conference. Among those in attendance were Scott Robinson of Freshform and Alex Waters of the Downtown San Diego Partnership. The all-day event was hosted by Design at UCSD, a pre-professional design organization on campus, in partnership with Delta Sigma Pi, UC San Diego’s premier business fraternity, and drew attendees from a variety of disciplines including cognitive science, computer science, economics, international business, and more. The conference was aimed at teaching attendees the interdisciplinary nature of design and why it is essential to business.

The conference kicked off with a keynote address presented by lecturer Michael Meyer of the UC San Diego Design Lab and the Rady School of Management. During his address, Meyer dispelled the myth of the “genius designer” and conveyed that the true vision and creativity driving human-centered design emerges through acknowledging that we are designing for people who have diverse human needs.

Meyer empowered attendees through stressing the importance of embodying the qualities characterized by a balance of professional competence and a genuine, insatiable thirst for knowledge. Moreover, he illustrated that successful designs are achieved as a result of combined expertise across a wide range of skill sets. He inspired attendees to strive to integrate various disciplines across the spectrum of design and business into their professional endeavors.

The opening address was followed by a panel discussion featuring Neema Mahdavi (Workday), Nastasha Tan (IDEO), Sharon Carmichael (Intuit), Oz Chen (UXBeginner.com), and Erwin Hines (BASIC Agency). The panelists shared their unique insight into the roles they play as designers in their respective organizations and how they envision design and business intersecting to optimize success in the workplace and beyond. Panelists emphasized the importance of showcasing tangible, real experiences to support skills learned in the classroom.

In addition, the speakers collectively echoed the value of candidates who exude the depth of technical expertise in addition to a breadth of knowledge paired with strong communication and problem solving skills. Panelists further engaged with the audience to address questions and provide advice pertaining to professional development and differentiating oneself as an aspiring designer and business professional.

Attendees also had the opportunity to participate in interactive hour-long breakout sessions facilitated by experienced design and business professionals. Breakout sessions highlighted topics such as navigating the design process, delving into UX Research, and creating an effective design portfolio. Following the breakout sessions, the conference concluded with a networking session in the forum of Price Center Theater where attendees were encouraged to speak to industry professionals. Conference participants left the event feeling motivated and excited to continue exploring the rapidly evolving fields of design and business, equipped with a plethora of new tools and key takeaways to apply to their own professional journey.

Read Next

Nazima Ahmad is Putting People Over Profits by Connecting Art and Design at the Design Lab

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that our communities are more important than ever. The pandemic has changed the ways in which we experience and perceive community—sometimes even causing us to feel that it has vanished. The past two years have been an uncertain time for those involved in the arts, with many creative professionals being impacted by dwindling audiences and interest. Nazima Ahmad, a Designer-in-Residence at The Design Lab, noticed the crumbling connection between artists and consumers and sought to find a way to mend it. Working with fellow designer Michelle Hoogenhout, the two were able to come up with City Canvas, a concept developed in collaboration with the Arts and Commission Department of the City of San Diego that won the 2020 SCALE San Diego Urban Innovation Challenge that works to make connecting with local artists easier for San Diego residents.

“Working with the city on that project was all-around trying to figure out how to promote the creative economy of San Diego,” says Ahmad of the goal of the project. Not only was the project a great success at Design Week, but it is also what led Ahmad to The Design Lab.
Design Lab UCSD Maya Azarova

Design Lab Anthropology Graduate Student Wins Prestigious CRES Award

Peering into our culture can reveal new insights about how multidisciplinary teams solve socio-technical problems.…

Design Lab Global

Design Lab Gains Global Perspective with New Student Program

The Design Lab is launching the Global Scholars program this spring quarter, an exciting new initiative for graduate-student learning.

Known for creating human-centered design solutions that focus heavily on users’ needs and behaviors, the Design Lab, located within the Qualcomm Institute at UC San Diego, is home to an impressive team of interdisciplinary designers, engineers, technologists, scientists and business leaders who work on large-scale complex socio-technical challenges regionally and beyond.
Uc San Diego Design Lab Design At Ucsd

Design at UCSD Students Reflect on Summer Internships

This past summer, several members of the Design at UCSD leadership team landed incredible internships alongside leading…

Grace Rieger

Grace Rieger on Designing for Healthcare | Design Chats


How might we use design to improve the efficiency of hospital operating rooms? Hear from Grace Rieger, Designer-in-Residence, as she talks us through one of her projects.

Design Chats is a video series where we sit down with design practitioners to answer questions about how they utilize human-centered design.

View our Design Chats playlist on the Design Lab YouTube Channel
Ucsd Logo Design Lab

Design Lab statement on protests, violence following George Floyd’s death

The Design Lab stands in solidarity with the Black community in the fight against racial injustice. We condemn all acts of police brutality and violence that led to the recent murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, David McAtee, and countless other members of the Black community.

We condemn all acts of discrimination. We fully support the Black Lives Matter movement and their efforts to bring justice, healing, and freedom to Black people across the globe. We recognize that these acts of violence are deeply rooted in a history of systemic racism, and we understand that design plays a large role in influencing whether our structures and technologies support or further oppress people of color. We vow to use our platform, position, and privileges to fight for a more equitable future. 
Back To Top