For the second straight year, I co-chaired the June DMI conference on De-Thinking design in San Francisco with my friend Darrel Rhea, CEO of Cheskin. It was terrific and I encourage everyone to watch for the video of the conference to go up in the next month.
Highlights for me included watching Roberto Verganti in action for the first time. What a smart guy! His writing is great but he is really special live and in color. David Butler, head of design for Coke and I had been meaning to get together for some time and the conference provided an opportunity to do that on stage and it was terrific.
The most fun for me (and I think the audience) was interviewing brilliant Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts President Katie Taylor talk about how design infuses absolutely everything at Four Seasons. Even the interview process for new hires is designed with the user experience in mind. Four Seasons routinely interviews over 100 candidates for a new position – that is interviews, not receives applications. Five interviews are required for the successful candidate; the last one with the hotel general manager – a very senior and responsible person in the Four Seasons system. But unbeknownst to the candidate, that final interview is carried out after the hiring decision has been made (after the fourth round). The fifth interview is there only to let the candidate know that the general manager cares deeply about every single employee in the hotel and wants that personal connection. Beautiful. Kinda explains something about Four Seasons service, doesn’t it.