UX Week Keynote Speaker Denise Jacobs on Making Creativity Happen

Denise Jacobs calls herself a “creativity evangelist”, helping people cultivate the tools and skills necessary for leading a creative life. These skills are important for everyone, but especially for creative professionals such as designers and developers, for whom the creative challenges never really stop. In this interview, I talk with Denise about how her own life inspired her take on creativity, and what it takes to keep creativity flowing. Jesse James Garrett: Denise, you’ve taken an interesting path to get to where you are. Denise Jacobs: Yes. And it’s actually funny because I find that people are really fascinated by it. JJG: I was when I first heard about it. Tell us a little bit about it. DJ: I’ve been working in the web industry since around 1997. I started off teaching myself HTML and making websites, and then got into doing project management at Microsoft. But I really didn’t enjoy project management. But in the course of that I ended up stumbling into teaching soapmaking classes, of all things. JJG: Soapmaking? DJ: Yes, I started making soap because I was so frustrated with project management that I started doing something creative. I just felt so creatively stifled by working in spreadsheets all day and I just felt like this was not what I was supposed to be doing with my life. So I learned how to make soap and then I started making soap. And then people asked, “Do you sell this? and I said, “Sure.” JJG: I will sell it if you will buy it. DJ: But then people were asking me how to make it, and...

UX Week 2014: Meet the Keynotes

Every year, when we set about the task of choosing speakers for UX Week, we look for people who can bring a broad perspective to the challenges facing experience designers today. I’m particularly excited about this year’s keynotes because they may represent the most diverse range we’ve seen yet. For years, Dwell magazine’s coverage of architecture and interior design has been a major source of inspiration for the designers at Adaptive Path — not just for the obvious aesthetic appeal of the living spaces they feature, but for the clear interest they have in the way people interact with those spaces. That’s why we’re particularly excited to have Dwell editor-in-chief Amanda Dameron as our opening keynote. Amanda will be talking about the emerging patterns she’s seeing in how architects and interior designers are creating practical spaces with emotional appeal. We’ve been trying for a long time to get digital product design thinker Josh Clark at UX Week, and I’m happy to say we finally nabbed him. Josh is the author of the book Tapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps, and he’ll be sharing his thoughts on the deeper principles driving the evolution of digital products in the 21st Century to close out day one of UX Week. He may be best known for taking Alex Trebek to the cleaner 74 times in a row, but author Ken Jennings is also a serious design geek — specifically about maps, and the myriad ways people have used maps to communicate over the centuries. He wrote a whole book on the subject, and he’ll share with us his insights from a lifelong interest in how map...