Takeaways from the MITX DesignTech Summit

At the MITX DesignTech Summit, product and design leaders from across industries got together to discuss the business of design through panels, discussions and a few interesting keynotes. The summit was notable for its diversity, not only in speakers but in the focus of the content. Here were some of my key takeaways. I also captured some sketchnotes during the conference, which you can see at the end of the article.

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Reflections on making vs. managing

When you're a maker, the things you make are visible. You can see them, maybe even touch them. Your achievements, such as they are, belong to you. When you're a manager, you have to get used to your achievements being the result of other people. Your job is to get things done through those people. That requires a different set of skills. Relationship building, conversation, influence vs. persuasion. Hell, you can't even boss people around the way you thought you would be able to when you became "the boss."

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Reflections on "the tone conversation"

As almost any woman in technology will tell you, our “tone” gets discussed a lot. If we’re assertive, we’re called bossy; if we aren’t assertive enough, we’re told we need to speak up more. It’s exhausting at times trying to figure out which version of ourselves we should be in any given meeting. The trouble with all of this advice, though, is that none of it seems to relate to the outcome you want to achieve. And as a result, we come out of meetings feeling like we either won the day but lost friends, or that our ideas will always be overlooked.

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