I attended Generate London last month – a conference for web designers and developers, presented by net magazine and Creative Bloq. Here’s a brief summary from some of the talks.

White Space Creativity by Denise Jacobs

Denise talked about ways to get into the creative zone and channel our creative power.

  • Reduce noise and clutter – ie. distractions. When we’re in the creative zone we’re focused inwards. Noise and clutter makes us focus outwards. These distractions cause lots of ‘unclosed loops’ and make us think we’re being productive when really we’re not.
  • Relax by breathing, spacing out, mindless activity, laying down, day dreaming, taking showers, walking, laughter, playing and having fun. (Probably not all at once)
  • ‘Listen to your genius’. It takes the pressure away from you if you frame your ideas coming from another invisible genius whispering you ideas.

Ideas are Easy, Implementation is Hard by Chris Murphy

People have ideas all the time but few actually go on to implement them. Chris told the story of how he worked with two of his master students on Get Invited, a social ticketing app he had on a napkin years beforehand. Chris is an advocater of the Lean Startupapproach and it was an amusing insight into the conception and development of the product and its many iterations.

  • The idea doesn’t mean anything whilst it’s on the napkin.
  • Keep the product focus
  • If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.
  • You need to ship and learn. (The early examples of Get Invited were extremely basic)
  • Your product needs to be 10x better than the competitors because people can’t be bothered to move.
  • Focus on appealing to innovators and early adoptors.

Graft, Craft and being Daft by Gavin Strange

Gavin‘s talk on the importance of personal projects was the highlight of the day. He doesn’t like the clear boarders that job titles can give designers – UI, Branding etc. Job titles are only mental constraints – it’s all making stuff at the end of the day! Personal projects are a great way to expand our skillset, have fun and create opportunities.

  • Be a Jack of all trades, master of none. Or ‘Polydisciplinery’ if you want to sound fancy.
  • Say yes and be open to opportunities (or create them).
  • The reason we struggle with insecurities is because we compare our behind the scenes struggle with everyone else’s highlights reel.

Dan Celderholm

Following on nicely from Gavins talk on personal projects, Dribbble creator Dan talked about the start of Dribbble. He created it in pubs and coffee shops after work as a side project before it got as big as it is now. He went on to play the Banjo for a bit, talk about CSS and SASS, then play the Banjo some more.