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2019 dmi:Student Essay Winner Reflection
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dmi:Design Leadership Conference



2019 dmi:Student Essay Winner Reflection

Julia Lin, Integrated Product Design 2020, University of Pennsylvania


Community Co-Creation

Communities are built by group drawn together by shared interests, and conferences physically collocate many individuals representing their organizations into one space to spontaneously generate a community. As a student essay winner invited to my first dmi conference, I was not sure what to expect before the event. With such an intimidating attendee list, I was unsure of who I would actually be able to talk to when I arrived in Boston for the dmi: Design Leadership Conference 2019. Luckily, I had unfounded fears, and engaged in many conversations with other conference attendees. My main takeaway from the conference can be shown in the communities I now feel included within:


  1. Student Design Community I felt an immediate connection to the other graduate design students that represented multiple other academic institutions with design programs across 3 countries. Despite the differences in design majors and interests, we connected over our similar interests to pursue design professionally, engaged others throughout the event, and reflected critically on the aspects of design as a career.
  2. Professional Design Community The dmi conference speakers and topics provided me with plenty of starting conversations with the conference attendees around me, and I found many opportunities to network with design professionals across a variety of industries. Through the conference, I could imagine myself projected a few years into my career and predict the design management challenges I would face as an individual and an organization. Call it a premortem for my design career @ibm!
  3. Dmi Community Last but not least, by becoming a dmi member, I feel that I am not only within a group of practicing design professionals, but part of a group actively curating the conversation around design management. I can envision myself continuing to draw value from the dmi community throughout my career.


I would like to thank dmi and the student sponsors for providing this opportunity to be one of a handful of students in the room during the dmi:Design Leadership Conference 2019. I hope I contributed a fresh perspective to the other attendees as a digital native and current design student.





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