On Thursday evening, designers, entrepreneurs and community members will gather at the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) to connect, share ideas and explore what it means for industries to be diverse for Design Breifs: Diversity in Tech. Kimberly Wolting heads the American Institute of Graphics Arts West Michigan Design for Good initiative and collaborated in part with the GRAM’s Director of Learning and Audience engagement John Carfagno to coordinate the event.
“We have always been trying to do good for the community, but we were maybe not reaching out to the community in as many places as we could have, ” Wolting said. “We are really making an effort this year to make a wider reach … to make sure that we are including everyone in these conversations.”
The first half of the evening will feature a pitch style platform, with entrepreneurs presenting their ideas to a panel of experts in front of an audience. Instead of be ranked and awarded money, the panel will give the presenters feedback via collaborative conversation. Among the presenters are co-founder and CEO of preQuelist Mira Krishanan, and Lindsay Noonan and Vanessa Gore of Soletics.
“That (part of the event) is really interesting, because you are seeing innovation happen right before your eyes,” Wolting said. “You are seeing idea sharing.”
After presentations conclude, audience members, presenters and panelists will break off into groups for design thinking workshops that have been custom built by local design and strategy firm Visual Hero. The workshops are intended to teach audience members design thinking skills while connecting the entrepreneurs to the design community.
There will, of course, be refreshments–Kangaroo Kitchen is providing a cajun themed spread and libations from Brewery Vivant will be available. The event is the first of more to come from AIGA WM that will focus on diversity in order to create a cohesive community around the tech and design industries.
“You will see a flavor of diversity and inclusion woven into all of our events throughout the year,” Wolting says.
For more information, please visit http://westmichigan.aiga.org/event/design-briefs-diversity-in-tech/
Design Briefs: Diversity in Tech
Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016
Grand Rapids Art Museum, 101 Monroe Center St NW