(Design conference talk proposal) “Designers: Adapt or Die.”



The game has changed for all of us. If you are a Designer, now is the time to adapt and evolve by learning how to design *and* code, or face becoming irrelevant to teams and clients. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.

This Design talk is meant to be a wake up and call-to-action for Designers of all experiences to look more closely at the trends happening in tech that lead to their marginalization.

We’re all right in the midst of a colossal shift to a Maker/Hacker mindset and approach to just about everything we do – whether that be creating products, providing services, doing things at home, or even just communicating with each other.

This new world needs and values doers, not talkers.

Unfortunately, even the most talented Designers who don’t code are the equivalent of talkers in this example, and Coders are the doers. Yes, Design is absolutely critical to everything we do, and I totally live the whole power of collaboration thing every day myself – but that complete reliance on others to finish the job isn’t going to cut it anymore in this shifting marketplace.

The most valuable person on the team is not the one with the million dollar idea, it’s the person with the ability to actually bring that idea to life quickly. And that value gets exponentially larger when it’s the same person who can both brilliantly envision and skillfully build. That person is called the Coding Designer. And that person is worth their weight in gold to employers and clients.

I’m not saying Designers can or should replace true Developers. Different skillsets (except in the rare case). I am saying the days of being able to skate by without fabricating your designs are numbered Designers, so it’s time to do something about it. You don’t need to become hardcore Devs, but you do need to know how things work in the code world and be able to express your ideas in that medium.


M. Pell

Mike Pell is leading Design for The Microsoft Garage, an innovation accelerator turning people’s wild ideas into reality worldwide. The chaotic and ever-changing nature of The Garage presents Mike with continuous opportunities to learn by doing, whether that’s hacking, making or moving ideas forward.

Bold, insightful and uncompromising, Mike is recognized as a thought leader in the field of visualization, expert in the radical simplification of experiences, and a strong presenter at conferences.

His career in high tech has covered the gamut from intrepid entrepreneur, to venture-backed startup veteran, to corporate man for Adobe and Microsoft over the last three decades.


See this recent post for more on this topic:


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