06 Article Casey Barbarino Dodgeball H1

Of design and dodgeball

What can you learn from dodgeball, you ask?

Well, besides learning to dodge some wrenches in training and the classic 5Ds (dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge), there’s a bit more under the surface.

This being my first design dodgeball tournament — or dodgeball tournament of any sort since fifth grade, for that matter — I was blown away with the turnout.

To start, the entire park was consumed with hundreds of designers setting up tents, tables and warming up their arms when I arrived ... I could already tell that this was a serious event.

As the Design Concepts and Swope Design Solutions team assembled (insert your favorite Anchorman conch shell meme here), we also started warming up side by side. Very quickly, the “dominate and conquer” mindset dissipated as different teams co-mingled.

Even with a pretty high level of competition during the games, everybody was having fun and enjoying the event despite some dodgeballs to the head (I speak from experience).

All of this made me think about how collaborative the whole process was. From a firm setting up the whole event, to coordinating teams and referees, to figuring out starting lineups and strategy. I think it’s pretty clear that there’s a parallel here: in the office we all work together to come up with inspiring ideas and designs.

In my experience, collaborative design is the best design and I think dodgeball works the same way.

This was a huge event and it never would have worked if the design community didn’t come together to collaborate on making it happen.

I loved getting to hang out and meet other firms and designers. Design dodgeball helped remind me that it isn’t about one firm against another, but rather designers taking opportunities to put forth the best and most inspiring designs on the stage of an ever-changing world.

If nothing else, design dodgeball was a fantastic reminder that there’s a lot of people out there that are excited about design!

We hope to see you out there at next year’s San Francisco Design Dodgeball!!!

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