South by Southwest 2017

Hey all, Dc here! Last year, me, Sean, design rockstar, and Jon, web wizard, went to one of North America’s biggest creative, networking, road-to-discovery conferences: South by Southwest, or SXSW for short. What a tymmmmme! Sean’s here to tell you his big takeaways and how it’s impacted our Dc HQ workflow!

Austin, TX

It’s been roughly 7 months since we touched down in sunny Texas for SXSW 2017, and I’m already longing for the conference hussle. You know what I’m talking about: running around an unfamiliar city and trying to beat the crowds to get into those sessions you’ve been waiting for. Good times.

If you’ve been lucky enough to experience SXSW, you know how incredible it can be. But the best thing about the event was what we took back with us to our studio. Based on what we learned at SXSW, DcDH overhauled some major processes on how we approach projects. Now, we’re able to collaborate at a higher level, which is a win-win.

Dyslexic Design Thinking

The session Dyslexic Design Thinking by Gil Gershoni and April Durrett of Gershoni, a San Francisco based creative agency, made all the difference for me. The description from the SXSW2017 website was:

Join the speakers for a discussion on how to help harness people’s hyper-abilities as you solve unique design problems in innovative ways. One of the presenters, a creative director, has dyslexia. In his case, dyslexia has provided a powerful range of perspectives that fit ideally into design-thinking processes. Discover how people’s hyper-abilities might be hidden in so-called “disabilities” and how you can find and harness a similar power in your creative endeavours. This session will teach you to look through, around, above, below, and at problems, and how to better harness diversity and unlock hidden potential.

Gil and his team’s problem solving method is incredible, and kind of insane. Their chaotic, non-linear approach was truly eye-opening for a process-driven team like ours. To summarize the process: explode; break through the noise; excavate; explode again; extract the essence; and repeat.


Process, process, process

Let’s breakdown each step. First, you have to take your problem and come at it from every single angle. Now, get your scissors out and push pins out, and start pinning everything up.


You’ll have tons of basic ideas, so you need to break through the noise, connect things together, and add weight to your strongest ideas.

Somewhere in the tangled web of ideas there is gold, and you have to find it. Start by excavating your strongest idea and trace it back to its core. When you find it, get out your dynamite, because it’s time to blow that gold up!

Explode your solution, and look at it from every angle. Be critical, predict problems, and think like a customer.

If your idea holds up, it’s time to extract the essence. Find out how you can bend, play, and push boundaries without losing the core idea. This is where you get creative!

Now for the magic of this process: once you have your essence, it’s time to explode again. Simply repeat this process until you have a polished, strategic solution. The elegance here is that every time you repeat these steps, you’re constantly refining your idea or solution.

And we’re all about refinement! Thanks, Sean, for this throwback! #TBT

Reach out to make our processes work for your brand, web project, or campaign.

Looking forward,