KDY15 Diaries: Harsh Purohit

Post Day 1, Harsh Purohit of Cognito India reflects on The Anatomy of a Successful Design Conference

I returned to Kyoorius Design Yatra after a two year hiatus and it was fantastic to see a hall bursting with participants. I am told that new records were breached this year and registrations were closed days before the yatra.

The reasons for the success of KDY are many. One among them is that showreels and agency credentials are discouraged and speakers are requested to talk about and around the theme of the conference. This time the theme is ‘What pumps your heart.’ And it was evident that Team Kyoorius had done a great job of seeding it in mind of the speakers.

I don’t think I have seen so many hearts and brains since my 12th Grade biology class. From the first speaker, Nick Law to the last speaker John McHale, they were omnipresent. Speakers who didn’t show them, spoke about them.

But my vote for ‘the heart of the day’ goes to Laura Jordan Bambach, the co-moderator of the conference. Nick Law in his presentation had highlighted an emerging trend in audience engagement – ‘End of the metaphor, back to demonstration.’ And it was Laura who stepped away from the metaphorical and literal heart references to demonstrate what it meant to have a heart.

On a super short notice she stood in for Ashwini Asokan, who couldn’t make it to India due to visa problems, and delivered one of the most crackling presentations of the day with some really pithy thought provokers like ‘Only boring people get bored.’ (catch them on the #kdy15 twitter feed). In course of the presentation, with refined grace and without much ado, she let us know that close to her heart, is a women’s empowerment project called ‘She Says’ – a global creative network for women that offers free mentorship to enable more women to reach greater career heights.

In this day and age when causes are blatantly flogged as brand props and used (pun intended) to mount hi-decibel campaigns, which to me and am sure to many others, have started to ring hollow, it was refreshing to see how understated and matter of fact Laura was about ‘She Says’.

Over and above, Laura, what really struck me on Day 1 at #kdy15 was the drastic reduction in the average age of a yatri. The energy was palpable and it overflowed in the evening. Can’t deny the fact that it did make me feel a tad old. But not for long. Because soon I bumped into an extremely dear friend – Rajesh Dahiya, who quickly reminded me that it was not so long ago (2008) that both of us presented at KDY under the banner of ‘Young Guns’. It is miraculous how the right words at the right time can work wonders because from then on the night was young.

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