HxRefactored 2014 Recap

I can’t believe HxR 2014 is over!  It was a crazy two days.  Exciting and exhausting, in the very best of ways. I’m going to give a personal highlight reel, of some of the awesome stuff I saw while taking photos.

DAY 1

We started off the conference with workshops.  Even before registration on the first day, people were up bright and early to start learning new skills.  We had an awesome lineup: Susan Dybbs, Katie McCurdy, Dustin DiTommaso, Ciara Taylor, and Dan Saffer (on the left).

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I actually stopped in for a while at Dan Saffer’s Microinteractions workshop so I could report back on the experience. I have two thoughts: (a) Dan’s a genius, microinteractions are actually wildly important (b) These workshops are insanely informative and hands on. If you don’t go to one next year, you are seriously missing out.  On the left I have a photo of the workshop group I sat in with.  They were too much fun (or maybe too caffeinated?) to sit for a more natural looking photo.

But seriously, take a workshop. Your brain will come away heavy with new information but sparked with new ideas and the enthusiasm of everyone else there!

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Between workshops and events, people networked like crazy.  There were attendees at tables, on sofas, and even on the floor. People here work on the greatest stuff.  Projects you wouldn’t even expect! On the left I took a photo of a pair, talking about printing microscope images on scarves as a way to assist science education.

IMG_0887.JPGThe talks themselves were packed. The full day workshops occupied some of the rooms, so for Day 1 everyone squeezed into rooms A, B and F. The limited space deterred no one. People squeezed into every open spot.  On the floor, by the walls….some more space-shy attendees were even hovering in crowds outside the open doors to listen in on the speakers. The energy was high. Although laptops were open and phones were out, nobody was simply perusing the internet. Everyone there was taking notes to make sure they absorbed all of the speakers’ knowledge and advice. The enthusiasm continued into the night with receptions and a live performance for DJ Baron von Luxxury

DAY 2

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After HxR, I feel like every morning should start this way: coffee and Cindy Gallop. If anyone knows how to make a room come alive, its her. At 9 in the morning, her keynote had us all sitting upright in chairs, paying attention, and laughing as she talked about her amazing project MakeLoveNotPorn. It’s fun, but also serious business. We all wish her the best in affecting social change, and finding a bank that will work with a company with that name.

That morning we even had our very own surprise protest. A group crashed the stage (peacefully!) between speakers to draw attention to the plight of the transgender community and healthcare.

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Even more people showed up for DAY 2! But that was okay, because we had all our rooms, plus the grand ballroom up and running for our speakers to use. As you can see, nobody was sitting on the floor this time. But still, some talks were so popular that people were competing to stand at the back of the room.

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I met some incredible people during coffee breaks and between talks.  On the left is Aaron (the human), who sat in the hallway drawing attention with his diabetic teddy bear!  Jerry (the bear) is a toy for kids with diabetes. He has his own insulin pen, and a glucose monitor screen built in that doubles as an interactive screen for virtual interactions. Everyone who passed Jerry smiled.

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The next picture is Nick Jehlen, of the Action Mill, fielding questions in the exhibit hall. In addition to being one of our speakers, he had an interactive station about his end of life game My Gift of Grace. Apparently you don’t need to be on your deathbed to have those special reconnection/reconciliation moments, and you can laugh while having them! Nick’s advice for up-and-comers is this: Ask for advice. It’s not ironic. He says people are always way happier to talk to you and give you advice than you could predict, so don’t miss opportunities to make those connections.

IMG_1775.JPGThis is Dan Berlin, giving a speech on UX Research in healthcare. He is the experience research director for Mad*Pow, our co-whatisthewordforthis. He was so nice, even though I stopped him in the hall by saying “Are you the UX speaker guy?” (forgive me, I was running madly between rooms to photograph everything), and took the time to tell me about how he went from a psychology BA to user experience research.

We finished up with an inspiring keynote by Pat Masters who launched her new patient group, Patient Voice Institute.

The takeaway from HxR2014 is this:

Everyone has an awesome story. Everyone is doing something amazing, not just the speakers!  So network, create new things, break new ground in healthcare, and join us next year!

 

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