Team collaboration

Forge on purpose, focus and teamwork

Forge Conference

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
Benjamin Franklin

Do you ever ask yourself “What impact do you want to make?” or “What’s viable to learn something?”. These were some of the questions that challenged very engaged UX and product designers at the FORGE 2016 Conference at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia.

This conference was not your typical industry event. The stage itself – the Penn Museum on University of Pennsylvania’s campus, was inspiring and encouraged curiosity with exhibits left open for exploration during breaks.

Forge Conference Penn Museum

Environment aside, what made FORGE a special event was the curated speakers from companies like Mad*Pow, Odopod, Lyft, Slack and NASA, who lead by example and spoke honestly from first hand experience. “The speakers that we choose tend to be the ones that are more in the trenches, doing the work day to day, much akin to the maker culture. FORGE is to pay homage to the makers in the digital community that are pushing the industry forward.” says Keith Scandone, CEO & Partner of O3 World, the Philadelphia agency behind the conference.

A few themes stood out across the content: finding purpose, focus and teams. It’s not the same as being in the room, but here are my Cliff Notes & favorite quotes:

1. Finding purpose

The conference featured an agenda that kicked off with a keynote from Amy Cueva, Founder and Chief Experience Officer at Mad*Pow, around purpose driven design and challenging designers to make empathy core and center to design.

“What is good for the people we serve is ultimately good for the business”
Amy Cueva

“Designers should be…
– Facilitators: assisting others in refining and transmitting ideas.
– Stewards: Supporting and protecting empathy and the creative process.
– Connoseuirs: Maintaining a high bar of quality.”
Diogenes Brito / Slack

“Do right by customers. Lead by design.”
Alissa Briggs / PlanGrid

Slide from C. Todd Lombardo's presentation
Slide from C. Todd Lombardo’s presentation

2. Staying focused

“When getting started: Focus on skills and tools to give you capacity to do more of the thinking.”
Frank Yoo / Lyft

“Think about a goal”
Amanda Stockwell / 352 Inc. on building a minimum viable product

“Focus is the new minimalism. Good content experiences have focus.”
Gina Pensiero & Sara Getz / Facebook

3. Building teams

“Collaboration is the new innovation. What could we accomplish if we banded together?”
Amy Cueva / Mad*Pow

“We need to go from a me to we mentality because it brings the best out of each one of us”
Clemente Miller / Smashing Ideas

Albert Poon from Odopod shared his leadership skills learned from coaching little league baseball – one main point being:

“Win with the team you have…to succeed, fit the process and your work…to your team.”


Clemente Miller Forge Conference
Slide from Clemente Miller’s presentation

As a native of Philly, I was proud that Hightail was able to sponsor this event that continued the trend which the city has historically been known for: designers, inventors, thought leaders. Special thanks to O3 World for spreading the #phillylove and keep forging on.

To check out some of the presentations from the event, visit

Hightail forge conference 2016
Hightail schwag given to Forge Conference attendees
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