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How the plans for FBTB 2022 have taken shape

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The planning for this year’s FBTB stretches back to May 2020. Already back then, our trend analysis pointed towards a topic that repeatedly returned in our research over the past two years – resilience. This article outlines the ongoing journey of the conference from May 2020 to May 2022, from the perspectives of FBTB team members.

How do you go about planning for relevant FBTB topics two years before the actual event?

– In many ways, it was a huge challenge to do it so far in advance. We found ourselves in the beginning of a pandemic. At that point, there was no rule book for how to proceed. We didn´t know how things would develop. Quite early, we realized that the experience of the pandemic was helping to raise the big questions that affect us all. What challenges will we be facing in May 2022? As the pandemic developed, we also developed a sense for these challenges through a series of interviews and workshops. We’ve been working closely with designers, colleagues, customers and directors of inUse through a series of interviews workshops, says Sara Yxhage, who together with Lotta Gerdt is the President of the Programme Committee for FBTB.

During the early work, there was one word and theme that stood out and remained. Resilience – the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties

– Resilience was a word we kept coming back to. The pandemic raised big questions about big issues such as world health, equality, and climate. We noticed how these big issues often led us to land the word resilience – the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. We explored how companies, products, and services would make it through the pandemic. How do you create good products and services that you want to keep using? What will remain in the long run? That’s how we found the overall theme and we wanted the speakers to somehow be able to present new perspectives and answer these questions, says Sara.

”We want all of the world to affect our scene”

After a while the Programme Committee had produced a long list of potential speakers.

– We asked the attendees what they want out of FBTB regarding these big questions. We then started identifying speakers that would both match the questions while together making a good combo. It was a puzzle to be solved. The speakers should complement each other but not overlap too much. On the other hand, the lineup shouldn’t be perceived as too scattered, says Lotta Gerdt

How do you get a good mix of speakers and workshops?

– We have been working systematically as designers and investigated what the FBTB design community wants. They want both inspiration and concrete hands on-tips. They want new perspectives on the abstract themes as well as specific actions that they can start using immediately. Based on this, we formulated clear goals for our speakers. Leyla Acaroglu, for example, is one of the speakers who will talk about good sustainable services and products. Andy Budd is another example that rather will focus on how we, as designers, need to reach the managers with our work and create business models, says Sara.

– It was also important that there was a vision for the future and a kind of greater purpose in everything. We want to create a sense of a design community on site in the physical meeting, both by speakers and among colleagues, says Lotta.

Several speaker names have now been released, there will be a total of nine speakers. But there are no Swedish names. How come?

– The idea is to highlight and engage speakers that you don’t have the opportunity to see anywhere else in Sweden. We want the whole world to affect our scene and there will be speakers from the USA, Israel and Australia for instance, says Lotta.

– The original idea of the conference is to find world-renowned names that are interesting from an international perspective while also relevant regarding potential local impact. Instead of having to travel to conferences abroad, designers can attend FBTB right here in Sweden, says Sara.

Invites the world to Stockholm

Finally, what is the absolute most important takeaway from planning FBTB?

– As with most things we do in our work, it is possible to connect to Design thinking and how we as designers operate in the intersection between desirability, viability, and feasibility. If we in-depth succeed in understanding the challenges we as designers and leaders face on a daily basis, we can then find speakers and topics that make us succeed in creating a product, a conference in this case, that has something for all our participants. As a result, we’re counting on nothing short of magic to occur!, says Lotta Gerdt.