Spend time with some of our favorite thinkers and doers: 99U Breakout Sessions explore new ideas and methodologies around leadership, teamwork, productivity, and more.
Breakout Session selection is now open to registered 99U attendees. Check your inbox for instructions on how to sign up.
David Rubenstein Atrium Thursday, May 10
Nicole Lulinski, Creative Strategist, Facebook
We brainstorm, strategize and plan for our clients – but do we ever do it for ourselves? Using a mix of brainstorming, visual thinking and copywriting, this interactive workshop guides you through a creative exercise that helps you craft clear intentions for your life. Inspired by Fast Forward and Facebook culture, this session helps you write your accomplishments like they’ve already happened and adds creative constraints to help you prioritize. In this session, you’ll learn the tools to understand what’s most important to you and create the clarity you need to spring into action. And! You’ll leave with a visual cheat sheet of your year. (Drawing skills not necessary!)
About Facebook Creative Shop: Facebook’s Creative Shop is a team of creative strategists, visual designers, filmmakers, and writers focused on serving, inspiring, and provoking partners to create ideas that build valuable connections between people and businesses. Building across Facebook’s entire family of apps and services, Creative Shop directly collaborates with global creative agencies, brands, creators, and businesses of all shapes and sizes. At Creative Shop, they unreservedly believe that creativity is what drives innovation in every aspect of the modern world, disrupts industries, improves the status quo, and helps brands tell the stories of tomorrow to the right people at the right time.
Starr Theater at Alice Tully Hall Thursday, May 10
Adi Hanash, Head, Advanced Skills Academies, General Assembly
Tyler Hartrich, UXDI Lead Instructor, General Assembly
Industry-leading work emerges from design teams that persistently enrich their knowledge base by fostering new skillsets and perspectives. Hear from General Assembly’s design team to learn how they teach innovative design education, understand what emerging technologies designers need to know, and determine what directors and managers can do to foster continual growth in their teams.
About General Assembly: General Assembly is advancing the future of work by creating sustainable talent pipelines for businesses and building transparent career pathways to the most transformational work. Offering employer-driven, practitioner-taught training in high-demand fields like data, technology, design, and business, General Assembly’s global reach, massive community, and leading outcomes have created an international community of professionals nearly one million strong.
The most innovative companies rely on General Assembly’s talent pipeline as a service model to benchmark talent, train employees, hire candidates, and increase diversity. With unmatched scale, flexible training delivery, expert instructors, and employer-tested assessments, General Assembly has have enabled hundreds of companies to fill their talent gaps and hundreds of thousands of individuals to pursue the work they love.
Board Room, David H. Koch Theater Thursday, May 10
Brian Buirge, Co-founder, Designer, Head Janitor, GFDA
Jason Richburg, Director of Strategy and Curriculum, GFDA
Jason Bacher, Co-founder, Designer, Chief Handyman, GFDA
An uncomfortably fun workshop with questionable but successful results.
Risk is the lifeblood of the creative process. You can talk about it, you can tweet about it, you can read about it—but all the book learnin’ in the world can’t replace live, hands-on experience. In GFDA’s intensive workshop, participants get down and dirty with provocative exercises that embrace ambiguity, encourage experimentation, and look at ideas like the Fresh Prince said: flipped-turned upside down (or something like that anyways). Learning to accept risk means charging forward when the outcome is uncertain, and it’s a necessary component of creative problem solving. Easy, safe, and expected can rarely be innovative, long-lived, and thought-provoking. Creativity is valuable precisely because its products are unexpected.
GFDA’s exercises demonstrate the value of taking chances while teaching that success is not left to chance alone. Participants learn that creativity isn’t magic, it’s a process. That it isn’t a moment, it’s a work ethic. That it doesn’t come from a lone genius, but a well-liquored team.
Pick this session if you’re interested in: Creative Thinking, Leadership, Entrepreneurship
About GFDA: Good F***ing Design Advice is known for its colorful, design-based approach to products and experiences that challenge the thinking, discipline, and passion of creatives and entrepreneurs. GFDA believes that the true value of creative work is born from uncertainty; that innovative ideas come from the scrapes and cuts earned in exploring uncharted territory; and that risk is the shortest path to growth. This perspective reflects their story, sense of humor (or lack thereof), business savvy, and passion for design—all of which they share in talks across the globe, and in products with tough-love motivational messages.
Alice Tully Hall Cafe Thursday, May 10
Natalie Lew, Adobe Creative Resident
Join Adobe Creative Resident Natalie Lew for a workshop on UX process, where you’ll learn applicable methods for conducting research, iterative brainstorming, and low-fidelity prototyping. Natalie will be accompanied by Donors Choose, a nonprofit that connects teachers in high-need communities with donors who want to help.
About Natalie Lew: Interaction designer Natalie Lew is passionate about the intersections of design and philosophy. Her interdisciplinary background in design inspires her work in the Adobe Creative Residency, in which she has worked to make user experience design more accessible and available to the creative community.
About Donors Choose: DonorsChoose.org makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America create classroom project requests, and you can give any amount to the project that inspires you.
Daniel & Joanna S. Rose Studio, Rose Building Thursday, May 10
Dan Clay, Partner, Innovation, Lippincott
Daniel Johnston, Partner, Design, Lippincott
Max Pfennighaus, Partner, Design
She doesn’t know how to drive, but she drives all the time. Her T-shirt connects to the internet. Her manager is a robot. Meet Dawn, an average 25-year-old in the not-so-distant future. Dawn is Lippincott’s fictional user of the future, dreamt up by the creative consultancy to illustrate life in 2030 and help organizations plan ahead.
Join its innovation and design teams for an immersive workshop to get up close and personal with Dawn. In this session, you’ll reimagine a new customer experience for a well-known brand in a group workshop, anticipating user needs in the year 2030.
Pick this session if you’re interested in: Future-proofing, Prototyping, Marketing
About Lippincott: Lippincott is a creative consultancy specializing in innovation, brand, and experience design. They believe that success in a changing world requires a more creative approach to solving problems. It demands both rigorous business acumen and courageous creativity. And a different kind of partner that can both think and do, that can inspire growth and create new meaning in customers’ lives. Lippincott has taken Starbucks beyond coffee, helped Delta achieve new heights, and partnered with Samsung to disrupt new categories. Equal parts strategy and design, Lippincott brings this unique combination to everything they do, guided by one purpose: make it meaningful.
Metropolitan Opera Learning Center Thursday, May 10
Jess Peterson, CEO & Creative Producer, Mighty Oak
Emily Collins, Creative Director, Mighty Oak
Michaela Olsen, Creative Director, Mighty Oak
Anthony Galante, Animation Director, Mighty Oak
Marisha Falkovich, Post Production Supervisor, Mighty Oak
Animation finds thoughtful ways to discuss tough issues, explain complex information, remove barriers, and give emotion to any object, creating a totally unique way to share a story. That’s why more brands than ever are turning to animation to cut through the clutter and connect with their audience.
Join creative studio Mighty Oak in an interactive workshop full of animated GIFs, case studies, and a live animation shoot. You can even animate yourself in the pixilation booth, leaving with an understanding of how the process works and how your brand can successfully use it.
Pick this session if you’re interested in: Animation, Graphic Design, Marketing, Storytelling
About Mighty Oak: Mighty Oak is a Brooklyn-based creative studio that specializes in hand-made animation and design. Its mission is to bring the human touch back into the picture, and with over 100 million views across platforms, it seems to be working for clients like Netflix, HBO, Nick Jr., Airbnb, NBC, Condé Nast, G.E, and the New York Times.
The award-winning studio has been featured in the New York Times, Adobe Create, Oxygen, Huffington Post, Forbes, Fusion, Brooklyn Magazine, and Mashable, who say it’s “making some of the coolest videos around.”
Samuels Teaching Studio, Rose Building Thursday, May 10
Jonah Fay-Hurvitz, Strategy Director, Red Antler
Emily Heyward, Partner, Red Antler
Join Red Antler, the brand company behind successes like Casper, Allbirds, Brandless, and Birchbox, for a deep dive into their philosophy on how branding applies to the world of startups. Connect with other participants to create the building blocks of a new brand, including a name, a consumer insight, and the inputs for brand strategy. Who knows, you might be inspired to launch the business you create together.
Pick this session if you’re interested in: Branding, Entrepreneurship, Startups, Marketing
About Red Antler: Red Antler is a brand company based in Brooklyn that partners with startups and businesses that challenge what is and define what’s next, like Casper, Allbirds, Brandless, and Birchbox. Red Antler unites every step of the experience, from strategy and visual design to digital and activation, creating brands that excite the world.
Francesca Beale Theater, Film Society at Lincoln Center Thursday, May 10
Sara Kalick, VP & General Manager, SYPartners
In 50% of our life, we are mindless. We succumb to fear, letting it control our reactions. We apply old assumptions to new situations and people. We form bad habits. All of this is intensified in moments of uncertainty—and today’s leaders are facing more uncertainty than ever.
The good news is that we have the power to improve our own mental wellbeing through the practice of mindfulness. And it isn’t just about meditation. By training the mind to maintain awareness of our present thoughts, feelings, sensations, and the world around us—instead of rehashing the past or worrying about the future—we can unlock new ideas and show up more fully in work and in life.
No matter where you currently are on your mindfulness journey or career, this session will equip you to be a better leader or team member, helping to build a productive and happy workplace.
Pick this session if you’re interested in: Productivity, Creative Thinking, Leadership, Creative Teams
About SYPartners: SYPartners helps human beings, organizations, and societies build the capability to become fuller and more vibrant versions of themselves, so they can constantly transform and have a positive impact in the world.
For more than 20 years, SYPartners has worked with executive teams at some of the world’s most influential companies, including Starbucks, IBM, Facebook, Apple, Nike, Target Corporation, Planned Parenthood, and AARP; and alongside leaders tackling the toughest issues of our time: education, diversity, healthcare, and gender equality. In addition to its consulting practice, SYPartners develops products and tools—including Unstuck and Leadfully—that help individuals and teams unlock their full potential. SYPartners is based in San Francisco and New York, and is a founding member of kyu, a collective of best-in-class creative firms.
Clark Studio Theater, Rose Building Thursday, May 10
Rachael Feinman, Product Designer, ustwo
Shaun Tollerton, Product Designer, ustwo
Annie Malarkey, Programs and Partnerships Manager, ustwo
Digital product studio ustwo believes that every great team starts with building trust. After more than 10 years making digital products, they’ve discovered that building the foundation for trust with an internal team or client starts with active listening and creating the right moments for effective feedback.
It’s a skill that we all know is important, but how often have you examined the when, why, and how of giving and receiving feedback? How often have you had to rebuild trust by not listening intently to your teammate or client?
Join ustwo for an interactive workshop exploring simple tools to help you practice active listening and giving and receiving thoughtful feedback. You’ll walk away with exercises you can use to help you gain trust from your team and clarity on the larger goals for a project.
About ustwo: ustwo creates digital products and services that solve the problems of today and define the opportunities of the future. World-class design is matched with exceptional software development and execution to set organizations apart. Through their company builder and accelerator arm, ustwo also develops its own products and invests in ventures—all with the same goal of creating a meaningful impact on the world. Whether it’s innovative experiences for clients or launching businesses that redefine and push the boundaries of conventional industries, ustwo is constantly challenging the definition of what it means to be a digital product studio.
Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse, Rose Building Thursday, May 10
Duncan Wardle, Chief Innovation Officer, id8&innov8
Do you ever wonder why most of your best ideas come to you in the shower? Have you ever pitched a new idea only to watch it get diluted or killed as it moves through the process? Ever wanted to know how Walt Disney came up with the idea for a Disneyland or how Netflix completely revolutionized the movie rental industry? Or perhaps you’ve found yourself amazed at how some companies develop killer insights that enable them to break into major new categories?
Building on 25 years of experience with The Walt Disney Company, most recently as Vice President of Innovation & Creativity, Duncan Wardle’s engaging workshop will not only answer these questions, but leave you with the tools to take on your challenges in new and different ways—and deliver tangible results.
Pick this session if you’re interested in: Creative Thinking, Marketing, Future-proofing
About Duncan Wardle: After 25 years working for The Walt Disney Company, Duncan Wardle now serves as an independent innovation and design thinking consultant.
As Vice President of Innovation & Creativity at Disney, Wardle headed a team that served as both creative ideation consultants and cultural change agents to Disney Imagineering, Pixar, Lucasfilm, ESPN, and the Parks, designing a creative problem-solving process that captures unlikely connections, leading to both fresh thinking and revolutionary ideas.
Previously, Wardle held the posts of VP, Global PR for Disney and VP, International Marketing & Sales for Disney Parks around the world. Over the last three decades, Duncan has served in an executive role for The Walt Disney Company in London, Paris, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Mumbai, and Shanghai. In 2008, he was honored with the Outstanding American Citizen Award at the White House, and in 2014 he was awarded an Hons. Doctorate from Edinburgh University. He also holds the Duke Edinburgh Award, presented by Her Majesty the Queen.