"Inspiring and original." —It's Nice That
Creativity is human. It’s global. It’s technology-agnostic. It doesn’t discriminate. From people working at the bleeding edge of their fields to others bringing more humanity to technology and business, the program for the 11th Annual 99U Conference is a call to action for creatives to take control of our tomorrow. Because in the hands of creatives, the future is bright.
This year's program includes groundbreakers and innovators in augmented intelligence, virtual reality, interactive art, sonic design, poetic computation, and much more.
Tim Brown is the CEO and president of IDEO. Ranked independently among the ten most innovative companies in the world, IDEO is the global consultancy that contributed to such standard-setting innovations as the first mouse for Apple and the Palm V. Today, IDEO applies its human-centered approach to drive innovation and growth for the world's leading businesses, as well as for government, education, health care, and social sectors.
Tim advises senior executives and boards of Fortune 100 companies and has led strategic client relationships with such corporations as Microsoft, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, and Steelcase.
Kat Holmes, named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business in 2017, is founder of Mismatch.design, a firm dedicated to inclusive design resources and education. She served as the Principal Director of Inclusive Design at Microsoft from 2014 to 2017, leading the company’s executive program for inclusive product innovation.
Kat’s award-winning toolkit was inducted into the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. In 2018, she joined Google and continues to advance inclusive development for some of the most influential technologies in the world.
Kat is the author of Mismatch: How Inclusion Shapes Design.
Dr. Vivienne Ming is a theoretical neuroscientist, entrepreneur, and author frequently featured for her research and inventions in publications including The Financial Times, The Atlantic, Quartz, and The New York Times.
Vivienne co-founded Socos Labs, an independent think tank exploring the future of human potential. Socos, her fifth company, combines her varied work with that of other creative experts to expand their impact on global policy issues, both inside companies and throughout communities.
Previously, Vivienne was a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley's Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience, pursuing research in cognitive neuroprosthetics. In her free time, Vivienne has invented AI systems to help treat her diabetic son, predict manic episodes in bipolar sufferers weeks in advance, and reunite orphan refugees with extended family members. She sits on boards of numerous companies and nonprofit organizations including StartOut, The Palm Center, Cornerstone Capital, Platypus Institute, Shiftgig, Zoic Capital, and SmartStones.
Vivienne also speaks frequently on her AI-driven research into inclusion and gender in business. For relaxation, she is a wife and mother of two.
Ashley C. Ford is a writer, podcaster and educator who lives in Brooklyn. She is writing a memoir entitled Somebody’s Daughter, which will be published by Flatiron Books under the imprint An Oprah Book. Ford is working on a collection of interviews (B-Side Chats) with her husband, Kelly Stacy.
She was also the host of the first season of Audible.Com's literary interview series, Authorized. She has been named among Forbes Magazine's 30 Under 30 in Media (2017), Brooklyn Magazine's Brooklyn 100 (2016), and Time Out New York's New Yorkers of The Year (2017).
Tune-Yards was formed by Merrill Garbus in 2006, and that band name has ever since been synonymous with forward movement—whether because of the group's explosive performance style, the always-surprising way in which their songs unfold, the danceability of the music, or the connections Merrill highlights between song and social consciousness.
First gaining notice with the debut BiRd-BrAiNs, which The New York Times called “a confident do-it-yourselfer's opening salvo,” Merrill forged a reputation as a formidable live presence through relentless touring. She became a producer in her own right on 2011's w h o k i l l, a startling and sonically adventurous statement that led to a whirlwind period where the band accrued accolades from critics (including the #1 spot on the Village Voice's 2011 Pazz and Jop poll.)
Tune-Yards has collaborated with music industry legends including Yoko Ono, Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, and Mavis Staples. Their latest record, I can feel you creep into my private life, was released in January of 2018 as a fully collaborative effort between Merrill and bassist Nate Brenner.
Merrill’s lyrics explore her place in the world, ruminating on race, politics, intersectional feminism, and the environment. Rolling Stone called it “an LP determined to conjure kinetic joy while staring down our present cultural fright show.” Merrill and Nate recently scored Boots Riley’s acclaimed film, Sorry to Bother You. Both will continue to produce music for Tune-Yards and for other artists in the coming year
Anna Pickard makes up voices for a living, then teaches other people how to use them. As the first writer at Slack and holder of the voice and tone, she's been in editorial, marketing, product, design, customer experience, brand, and communications. Because who knows where the gravitational center of writing belongs? Anyway. She now works across them all as Head of Brand Communications at Slack, working out how to create a community of practice across a distributed cross-functional writing team, in an industry and a time when people expect brands to deliver a consistent quality and voice … and to sound authentically human while doing it.
Before Slack, Anna worked in education and in games, writing dialog for pigs, trees, and evil prime numbers. Before that, she worked in advertising, where she gave voice to polydactyl cats and "the concept of butter" on social media; in journalism, where she live blogged cultural milestones for the Guardian newspaper. She trained as an actress and holds an MPhil in Dramaturgy, which everyone said could never turn into a successful career. Turns out they were only partially correct.
Kyle T. Webster is an illustrator, designer, and author who has drawn for The New Yorker, TIME, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Scholastic, NPR, Nike, IDEO, and many other distinguished clients. His illustration work has been recognized by the Society of Illustrators, Communications Arts, and American Illustration.
He is perhaps best known as the founder of KyleBrush.com, the brand behind the world's best-selling, and now industry-standard, Photoshop brushes for professionals, used by artists at Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, MTV Networks, and Weta Digital. These brushes were the first of their kind to be officially licensed by Adobe for inclusion in the Adobe Creative Cloud.
Kyle also currently teaches Life Drawing, Portraiture, and Digital Painting at the UNC School of the Arts.
Thaniya is the Head of Product, Creator Experience at Patreon, where she helps creatives make a living through patronage support from their biggest fans. Her passion lies at the intersection of human-computer interaction, design, and behavioral economics.
Thaniya is the former founding Head of Mobile and platforms and Head of Product at TED, where she was responsible for overall strategic direction, investment, product, growth, and operations on all non-web platforms. Prior to TED, Thaniya led product development for live game experiences at Major League Baseball for seven years. Her work has been recognized by the Emmy Awards, the Peabody Awards, Adobe MAX, the Webby Awards, DigiDay, and the prestigious Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards.
Thaniya has advised on various projects for StoryCorps, National Geographic Learning, Women's March Global, and For Freedoms.
Michael Ventura is the CEO and founder of Sub Rosa, a strategy and design firm that has worked with some of the world's largest and most important brands, organizations, and start-ups, including Johnson & Johnson, Pantone, Adobe, TED, Delta Airlines, and The Daily Show.
Michael has served as a board member and adviser to a variety of organizations, including Behance, the Burning Man Project, Cooper-Hewitt, and the UN's Tribal Link Foundation. He is also a visiting lecturer at institutions such as Princeton University and the United States Military Academy at West Point.
In addition to these pursuits, Michael leads a thriving indigenous medicine practice, where he helps patients address illness and injury of all types on the road to better well-being. A passionate entrepreneur, he also owns and operates a globally recognized design store in New York's West Village with his wife, Caroline.
Applied Empathy, his first book, was published by Simon & Schuster in May 2018.
Zach Lieberman is an artist, researcher, and educator with a simple goal: he wants you to be surprised. In his work, he creates performances and installations that take human gestures as input and amplify them in different ways: making drawings come to life, imagining what the voice might look like if we could see it, transforming peoples silhouettes into music.
Zach has been named one of Fast Company's Most Creative People and his projects have won the Golden Nica from Ars Electronica and Interactive Design of the Year from Design Museum London, and have been listed in TIME's Best Inventions of the Year. He creates artwork through writing software and is a co-creator of openFrameworks, an open source C++ toolkit for creative coding.
He helped co-found the School for Poetic Computation, a school examining the lyrical possibilities of code.
Giorgia Lupi is an information designer, artist, and entrepreneur. She is the co-founder and design director of Accurat, a data-driven design firm with offices in Milan and New York.
After receiving her master’s degree in architecture, she earned her PhD in design at Politecnico di Milano. Her work is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, where she was commissioned to create an original, site-specific piece in 2017.
Giorgia's TED TALK on her humanistic approach to data has over one million views. She is co-author of Dear Data and of the new interactive book, Observe, Collect, Draw! A Visual Journal. She recently joined the MIT Media Lab as a Director's Fellow.
Joel Beckerman is an award-winning composer, producer and the founder of Man Made Music, a global sonic studio. He is the author of The Sonic Boom: How Sound Transforms the Way We Think, Feel, and Buy and is dedicated to solving human and business challenges through Sonic Humanism, the power of music and sound to make lives richer and simpler.
As innovators in their field, Joel and Man Made Music have partnered with global brands such as AT&T, Disney, Deloitte, Abbott, Hulu, Nissan, QVC, IMAX, and Subway to craft unique sonic experiences. His work began in network television creating themes for Entertainment Tonight, HBO Features, CBS This Morning, and The Super Bowl on NBC, and has evolved into pioneering new musical approaches for sound in products, brands and environments.
Joel is a leader on the subject of sound, business, and the future of humanity. He has been featured on stages around the world including The Wall Street Journal D.Live, SXSW, Cannes Lions, London Design Week, C2 Montreal, Fast Company Innovation Festival, and Future of StoryTelling. For his work, Fast Company honored Joel as one of their Most Creative People in Business 1000. Beckerman is a PROMAX board member, helped found the New York chapter of the Society of Composers and Lyricists, and proudly serves on the ASCAP board.
Courtney E. Martin is an author, entrepreneur, and facilitator. She has written and edited five books, including The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream and Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists. She is also the co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network and FRESH Speakers Bureau, and has consulted with a wide variety of organizations—like TED, the Aspen Institute, The Obama Foundation, and The Sundance Institute—on how to make impactful, story-rich social change.
Courtney writes frequently for The New York Times and The On Being Project, among other publications; has appeared on the TODAY Show, MSNBC, and The O’Reilly Factor; and speaks widely at conferences and colleges. She has interviewed luminaries as wide ranging as filmmaker Ava DuVernay, writer Zadie Smith, choreographer Alonzo King, organizer Ai-Jen Poo, rapper Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest, and designer Tim Brown.
Courtney has an honorary doctorate from Art Center College of Design and received the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics. She lives with her partner, John Cary, and two daughters, in a co-housing community in Oakland.
Will Allen is a VP at Adobe where he leads Community Products, including Behance, Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Talent, and 99U. Millions of people across the globe use Behance and Adobe Portfolio every month to showcase and discover creative work. Prior to Adobe’s acquisition of Behance, Will acted as Behance’s COO. Previously, he created strategic partnerships with global brands at TED and was co-founder of the consultancy Industry Digital Media.
Spend time with some of our favorite thinkers and makers in a series of breakout workshops and master classes, open only to 99U Conference attendees.
WeTransfer makes beautifully obvious tools that bring ideas to life. Founded in 2009 in Amsterdam as a simple, well-designed file sharing service for the creative community, WeTransfer has grown to include tools that scale across the creative spectrum, including editorial platform WePresent, mobile app 'Collect by WeTransfer', quick slide-making tool Paste, immersive sketching app Paper, and the original web platform with 42 million monthly users and over a billion files sent each month.
SYPartners is a consultancy that helps leaders, teams, and organizations build the capability to transform into more vibrant versions of themselves—so they can grow with purpose, and have a positive impact in the world. For 25 years, they’ve partnered with executives in some of the world’s most influential organizations to help design their futures, including Starbucks, BlackRock, IBM, Apple, Nike, and the Obama Foundation.
SYPartners is based in New York and San Francisco, and is a founding member of kyu, a collective of best-in-class creative firms.
COLLINS is strategy and experience design firm, based in San Francisco and New York. The firm was named by Forbes as a company transforming the future of brand building. Their work -- which includes high-profile projects for Spotify, Chobani, and more -- has been covered by The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Bloomberg Businessweek, and The Wall Street Journal. In a recent survey of creative leaders, COLLINS was named one of the ‘50 Places Creative People Would Kill To Work For’ alongside Nike, Disney, Tesla, and NASA.
Dropbox’s mission is to unleash the world’s creative energy by designing a more enlightened way of working.
Most “productivity tools” drain creative energy. They constantly ping, distract, and disrupt your team’s flow. And none of them connect, so you spend your days switching between apps, tracking down feedback. It’s busywork, not the meaningful stuff. Dropbox wants to change this, so they're building a better way to stay in flow and bring your team’s best ideas to life.
Adobe Design is a global team of designers, researchers, prototypers, content strategists, program managers, and more who work across Adobe’s three product lines: Creative Cloud, Document Cloud, and Experience Cloud.
Wolff Olins has been building and re-building some of the most powerful and purposeful brands in the world for over 50 years. The consultancy has helped Skype go beyond product, Spotify go beyond Europe, and Alibaba go beyond existing technology. They’ve even helped some, liked Modern Fertility and Zocdoc, create whole new categories.
Fake Love creates multi-sensory, holistic branded experiences driven by emergent media, data, and design. The studio strategizes, imagines, and crafts award winning work for the world’s most ambitious and influential brands.
Acquired in 2016 by The New York Times, Fake Love continues to work independently while leveraging and partnering with the creative and media arms of the Times.
Local Projects is a studio that places visitor engagement at the forefront of their work. They design in a wide range of mediums, ranging from architecture and graphic design to interaction design and custom software development. Their aim is to always create original work and to ensure that each one of their clients -- among them, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, Bloomberg, and Target -- see their mission and vision carried through within Local Projects’ design approach.
With over 15 years of experience working for the world's top museums, institutions, and public spaces, Local Projects continues to push the boundaries of experience design around the world.
Anton Repponen and Irene Pereyra climbed their way from junior designers to founders of their own studio, the Brooklyn-based Anton & Irene. Their portfolio includes projects for Karim Rashid, Spotify, Zumtobel, The Met, Nickelodeon, BBC, Balenciaga, Wacom, National Geographic, USA Today, and Red Bull, as well as self-initiated projects like an interactive documentary on co-living and an analog wristwatch.
Almost every month, Anton & Irene deliver workshops and lectures in various corners of the world. The studio has won more than a dozen prestigious awards from the Webbys, Emmys, Red Dot, .NET, and Cannes Lions.
Tina Essmaker is an New York City-based coach, writer, and speaker. An expert in the creative landscape with more than ten years of experience, Tina’s coaching practice draws on her formal education as a social worker, years of researching and interviewing creatives as Editor in Chief of The Great Discontent magazine, and her training in the coaching framework.
Personable and practical, Tina’s approach is rooted in helping individuals and teams across creative industries take action toward their goals.
Man Made Music is a global sonic studio dedicated to creating iconic and enduring music and sound for global brands, technology companies, entertainment groups, and built environments. Their clients include Nissan, Abbott, Alzheimer’s Association, Citi, AT&T, HBO, Hulu, and Deloitte.
Man Made Music's creative approach is based on the concept of Sonic Humanism — the power of sound to make our lives richer and simpler. This commitment to solving for human and business challenges with sound is grounded in their innovative sonic work with autonomous cars, health environments, and connected devices.
HUSH is a concept-driven design firm. They integrate digital technology and physical environments to create powerful brand experiences for their clients' customers, employees, and partners.
Having worked at Disney for 25 years, most recently as Head of Innovation and Creativity, Duncan now serves as an independent design thinking consultant, helping companies embed a culture of innovation and creativity across their organizations. Delivering a series of keynotes, workshops, and ideation forums, his unique design thinking process helps people capture unlikely connections, leading to both fresh thinking and revolutionary ideas.
At Disney he lead the innovation catalyst team, helping teams at Disney Animation, Lucas Films, Marvel, Pixar, and Imagineering and Disney Parks to innovate, creating magical new storylines and amazing experiences for consumers. He now brings his Disney experience to audiences around the world using a unique approach to design thinking that not only places the end user at the core of the creative process, but also looks in new and usual places to uncover insights for innovation and truly disruptive ideas.
Duncan is a multi-time TEDx speaker and contributor to Fast Company. He teaches Innovation and Creativity workshops at Yale, UNC, and UF. He holds the American Citizen Award presented at the White House, an Hons. Doctorate from Edinburgh University, and the Duke of Edinburgh Award, presented by Queen Elizabeth.
Meg Lewis is a designer creating experiences for happy companies and a one-on-one educator creating happier lives for humans of all kinds. She is the founder of Ghostly Ferns, a collective of designers & commercial artists and the co-founder of Fool Proof, a shared workspace, podcast, and a whole lot more.
Meg is the mind behind Full Time You, a self-discovery workbook and comedy video series where she teaches people to find a dang purpose and design a career made just for them.
Decoded helps companies and organizations adapt to the future with hands-on, captivating, and deeply personal educational experiences. As the world's leading digital education company, Decoded prepares teams and organizations for the Future of Work by demystifying the emerging technologies that are disrupting the global status quo.
Dr. Sahar Yousef is a cognitive neuroscientist at UC Berkeley and a lecturer at the Haas School of Business. She has conducted research on brain plasticity, human performance enhancement, and cognitive training, starting out in psychopharmacology and then transitioning to non-invasive training work through the Department of Defense.
Building on over ten years of research in the field of human performance, Sahar’s current consulting practice helps individuals, teams, and departments become more productive and effective at work.
Sylvain Labs is a strategy and design consultancy that helps companies seize the reality and potential of their business, products and brands. Their clients include Google, American Express, Airbnb, Spotify, Blackrock, Samsung, Pepsico, AB InBev, Jet, IKEA, GM, Sonos, and the NBA. Founded in 2010, the company is headquartered in New York City, with offices in Amsterdam and Richmond, VA.
Founder Alain Sylvain is also a partner and investor in several ventures, including Master + Dynamic, So Choice Softworks, Lilo, and PetMio. In addition, he has served as executive producer on short documentaries, including Some Kind of Quest and Instafame. He has been featured in various news outlets and is a current board member of Plus Pool and the VCU Brandcenter.
Christina Amini is the Executive Publishing Director of Art, Food, and Lifestyle Publishing at renowned independent publisher Chronicle Books. She is happy to be a professional collaborator and creator—bringing new ideas to fruition every season, as well as overseeing the publishing of more than 100 books and gift products every year.
Her previous experience includes being the Online Marketing Manager at HarperCollins Children’s Books, the first Online Editor at Dwell Magazine, and rising from intern to Executive Publishing Director in her 15 years at Chronicle Books. She has written for Salon.com, Readymade Magazine, and the San Francisco Chronicle magazine, and is the author of Before the Mortgage (Simon & Schuster). She is also the steward of artist Susan O’Malley’s work, the Chair of Diversity and Inclusion at her children’s school, and a museum guide at SFMOMA.
The Adobe Creative Residency empowers talented individuals to spend a year focusing on a personal creative project, while sharing their experience and process with the creative community.
Lisa Rothstein is the award-winning ad agency copywriter and creative director best known for co-creating the long-running ‘Wait’ll We Get Our Hanes on You’ campaign that changed America’s favorite underwear brand. During her 25-year advertising career in New York and Paris with Y&R, Lowe, and Ogilvy, her clients also included IBM, Unilever, The American Cancer Society, and many more.
As a brand strategist, visual facilitator and speaker, Lisa uses a combination of words and drawings, as well as her own brand storytelling framework, to help organizations visualize their customers, products, culture, and stories in ways that foster innovation, collaboration, creativity, and communication.
Lisa is a published New Yorker cartoonist and a featured author and illustrator in several best-selling books. She holds a degree in Semiotics from Brown University.
co:collective is a strategy and innovation company that designs brands, experiences, and content for firms that transform who they are, how they act, and how they show up in the world. They believe today's most successful organizations are led a driving purpose, one that is so central to their identity it influences everything they do, from capital investment to social media.
Ultimately, these brands are defined by what they do and how they engage communities, not by what they say. For them, purpose accelerates business strategy and storytelling becomes StoryDoing.
For two decades, Jasmine has worked with both established brands and small businesses to develop brand strategy, integrated marketing, strategic planning, business development, creative direction. She is the founder of Candor Branding, a strategy and design agency.
Jasmine is the creator of the global workshop and lecture series Brand Human, centered around the importance of building lasting relationships with one’s core constituencies through the exploration of the self. She also created and teaches the course ‘Centering Your Brand’ at PARSONS The New School of Design. Her work has earned global recognition from Forbes, Architectural Digest, and NPR.
Hear from a diverse group of thinkers and doers in a series of main stage talks over two days. 99U speakers offer pragmatic, real-world insights that transcend creative sectors.
Expert-hosted breakout sessions explore new ideas and methodologies around leadership, teamwork, productivity, and more.
Hands-on workshops give you a chance to dive into new disciplines, trends, and technologies.
From our pre-conference kickoff to our closing party, 99U provides you with endless opportunities to meet fellow attendees and get exposed to new ideas.
Flex your party muscles early with a kickoff event packed to the gills with hands-on demos, games, and networking opportunities. Come to pick up your badge, stay to meet the rest of the 99U community.
No conference parties like 99U: we’ll wind down on Friday with a closing party at the Museum of Modern Art.
Leave with our much-coveted swag bag, packed with cool (and useful!) stuff. More incredible surprises await you throughout the conference - we put a ton of work into creating a beautiful experience for you.
Located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Lincoln Center is one of the city's premiere arts destinations. The 99U Conference hub is Alice Tully Hall, and additional events and sessions take place across Lincoln Center's other striking venues.
The official 99U Closing Party returns to MoMA, one of the world's premier art institutions.
Join us early to pick up your badge, meet fellow attendees, and get hands-on with creative technology at Chelsea's Caldwell Factory, former home to an independent ballet company.
As official hospitality partner for 99U, the Ace offers a preferred room block to registered attendees.
99U brings together 1,000 people across a variety of practices and professions. Who should attend? Anyone in a creative field working to: put an idea into action, get inspiration from creative leaders, connect with potential collaborators, manage an effective team, or understand the trends affecting the future of creativity.