Recap: Women in Design Deep Dive 2024

IDSA’s annual Women in Design Deep Dive recently celebrated its 8th year of championing diversity and inclusion in design. This year’s event gathered over 150 design professionals from various backgrounds, including three members of the Sprout team – Daniela Garcia Garcia, industrial designer; Natalia Baltazar, industrial designer; and Pamela Ramos, project manager.

The theme for 2024, “Amplifying Your Efforts,” focused on strategies to gain influence, negotiate effectively, communicate design value, and master self-direction. We are excited to share highlights and takeaways from the thought-provoking discussions and hands-on workshops. 

Day 1: Courageous Conversations and Cutting-Edge Tools

Design for Equity, Shaping Futures by Isabel Prochner set a bold tone for the event, encouraging designers to confront taboo subjects such as sex and gender equity. Prochner emphasized the importance of language in framing questions and how a shift in perspective can challenge traditional narratives. This session reminded us that women should see themselves as subjects, not objects, in design.

Anne Asensio, in her session Design for Life, advocated for responsible innovation, fostering sustainable and circular practices that embrace the full spectrum of life—from birth to regeneration. Anne highlighted the unique opportunity for women to influence and reshape the conditions under which design and designers operate. 

In Enhancing Your ID Process with AI, led by our Boston-local friends Saloni Bedi and Maggie Snoke, we explored generative AI design tools like Midjourney, Vizcom, and Krea, showcasing their potential to revolutionize design processes. We left with fresh insights into how AI can enhance our workflows.

Light at the End of the Tunnel by Alecia Wesner offered a poignant exploration of empathy in design. Wesner’s message about transforming perceived weaknesses into strengths and seeking growth through life’s challenges resonated deeply with us.

Sharon West’s workshop, That Hat Can Fit Me Too, provided practical advice on navigating multiple roles within a team. Her tips on smoothly transitioning between roles and supporting new team members will undoubtedly benefit our team dynamics at Sprout.

Inventive Intersections by Laura Leenhouts focused on aligning personal values with career aspirations. This workshop encouraged participants to identify new areas for career exploration, aiming for fulfillment and effective use of design talents.

Raja Schaar shared the mission of her organization Black Girls STEAMing through Dance with a hands-on workshop that resonated deeply with us, highlighting the importance of culturally sustaining interdisciplinary STEAM experiences for Black girls. This initiative aims to enhance self-efficacy in STEM and STEAM fields, contributing to greater diversity in design and tech industries.

Designing Joy by Irina Kozlovskaya wrapped up the day on an uplifting note. Kozlovskaya urged us to transition from a workaholic mindset to one that embraces happiness as a catalyst for creativity. She shared that her team ends each week with shout outs recognizing positive moments from the week– an idea we’ll be implementing at Sprout.

The day concluded with a visit to Delve’s open studio, where we especially enjoyed exploring their engineering lab and workshop.

Day 2: Emotional Connections and Strategic Negotiations

Day two kicked off with Feel-Good Design: The Power of Emotions by Rina Shin. This session highlighted how emotional connections, driven by color, material, and finish (CMF), can shape user experiences and product perceptions.

Carah Crooks’ workshop, Negotiate Like a Designer, taught us to approach negotiations through the lens of design thinking. Crooks emphasized identifying unique skills and aligning them with business metrics to build leverage.

Informed Design by Christine Sheller delved into user research methodologies for identifying the needs of diverse user groups, and explored the use of AI technology in synthesizing insights.

The Women in Design Deep Dive 2024 was a truly inspiring event, packed with valuable insights and actionable takeaways. As we return to our daily routines, we are energized to apply these lessons and continue our journey towards creating more inclusive and impactful designs.


[mc4wp_form id=”8931″]