Semi Permanent 2016. It was emotional

I packed light. I flew in. I checked in. I brought an empty mind because I knew that my creative perspective would be the most used item in my locker over the next 2 days. SEMI PERMANENT invited me to leap in, so I did. Boots and all. I immersed myself. I formed opinions. I discussed them. I agreed with most. But not all. I LOVED some of what I saw and heard. I QUESTIONED some stuff too. But that’s why I was there, right? As a designer who creates design solutions for a living, I took time out to take a 2 day break from producing beautiful work so I could gather the tools and inspiration to create even better work. To fall deeper in love with design all over again. And with all it’s possibilities. This is what SEMI PERMANENT is all about.

But WHAT exactly is SEMI PERMANENT? Valid question. Well it’s part of a global creative and design thinking platform, bringing together a community of more than 300,000 people and a network of 800+ speakers and artists.
A collision of ideas, conversations and creativity.

This year’s two-day symposium was filled with visionaries and challengers from international interactive and design studios and more.
SEMI PERMANENT connects New Zealanders with a world of design thinking. That’s why I was there! SEMI PERMANENT is a creative and design thinking platform dedicated to sharing insights and inspiration from internationally renowned artists and creative icons from all over the globe. From live events with talks, panel discussions, workshops, innovation labs and parties; to world-first exhibitions, projects, and the creation and publication of content (across print and digital platforms), SEMI PERMANENT’s goal is to take the design community beyond inspiration and truly enable them.

Starting in Sydney in 2003, SEMI PERMANENT has become a leader in creative conferences and exhibitions throughout the world with festivals in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Auckland, Wellington, los Angeles, Portland, New York, London, Perth, Hong Kong, and Stockholm. I chose Auckland as I had to be back on Saturday night for the kids. Haha. My kids live in Levin. Not Sweden.

SEMI PERMANENT invite not only designers and creatives, but creators, doers and disrupters from across all business disciplines. The organisers promise to inspire and enable creative people with fresh design thinking. They succeeded. They encourage sharing real thought, process, emotion and insight – with no bullshit. They succeeded. SEMI PERMANENT’s home venue is the Aotea Centre in central Auckland. The juxtaposition of a dark, three tiered and deathly silent and captive auditorium with the bright late winter sunshine of Queen Street could not have been more stark. Chalk and cheese. The unfamilar of inside versus the very familiar of outside. The 2 day event started early doors on Friday morning and I wouldn’t really draw breath until dusk fell on Saturday afternoon.

The program of events was about giving real-time, global insights into getting the best out of your business or your role within one. It was about sitting next to, or mingling with like-minded people that will open the doors for potential collaborations and partnerships. The list of speakers was like a VIP roll of honour. We are talking big hitters here! Creative people that have a work ethic that defies belief. A desire to produce work that has not been seen before. Auckland 2016 included the future of business, mind bending experiences, and speakers from Google creative Labs, Uber, 72 and Sunny, Facebook, Graphic Thought Facility, Twitter and many more. Want to do business? Want to know where your industry might be in 10 years? This was the room to be in.

Andrew Stevens flew in from London and he’d packed his wry sense of humour in his hand luggage. I listened in awe to the poetry of Cleo Wade and I drank in the words of Cecilia Herbert who spoke to the masses about her mission to strengthen the diversity of Google to build a most fair and inclusive workplace and Tech industry. Gunnar Green and Richard The represented East side NYC, and Maria Scileppi was West side LA. Mimi Gilmour from Auckland told us that she worked from 5am to 1am 43 days straight to realise a dream. Never again will I complain about my workload. Paul Stafford told us about rebranding the English Premier League. He was a bit anxious he said as the brand launch was due to commence the next day. To an audience of 6 billion people. 6 billion. 6 billion people. Woooosh. We heard from the Head of Account Management of Twitter Australia and of the rebrand of Airbnb. Te Radar brought both days together with his usual wit and dark humour. It was a privilege to be there.

I left with my goodie bag crammed full. I hadn’t really noticed that emblazoned across the tote bag was the line ‘I’m not sure what happened here’.

Summed it up perfectly really. See you next year SEMI PERMAMNET.

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