January 2020

Q2: advice for an uncertain industry future

We asked our speakers, volunteers and organisers: can you offer one piece of advice to help others anticipate or navigate an uncertain industry future?

Cennydd Bowles

London-based designer and futurist. @cennydd.

Distrust orthodoxy. It helps to begin with, then becomes a straight-jacket.

Tatiana Mac

Independent American designer. @TatianaTMac.

Consistent efforts, no matter how small, compound. When faced with an onslaught of endless choices or pathways, it can be daunting to want to take on the weight
of the industry as an individual. Repeated actions — whether that be actively correcting ableist, anti-trans, racist, sexist language in multiple interactions or learning one JavaScript function a day — are the way we can grow and progress. Changing directions midway is okay; you did not waste time if you moved on from something that no longer served you.

Akil Benjamin

Biologist turned design thinker. @akilbenjamin.

Take stock of your resources, make a plan with a clear simple goal. Use all your resources appropriately to deliver on that plan.

A couple notes on execution: Take your time but don’t be slow, usually big goals required lengthy time, find a good pace and stick to it.

Simple is not easy, it’s usually requires good insight and high levels of discipline or consistency. With that in mind keep your goal front of mind at all times, write it on the walls if you have to.

Don’t sleep on yourself, don’t wait for anyone to have your back. This isn’t a casino, stacking the deck in your favour is allowed. Therefore work out all the different ways you can ensure the plan goes your way. Having at least two alternatives to any grand plan is helpful for freedom.

Laura Kalbag

British designer and author living in Ireland. @laurakalbag.

I’m not really qualified to give advice to others in the industry. I’ve always been an outsider, self-employed, and for the majority of my decade in the industry I’ve been running a very small not-for-profit organisation. I’m independent but my future is not certain, I have no financial security or job security. All I know is that we are living in a time of uncertainty, fragility and widening inequality. In a world that is facing climate catastrophe and an industry that is seemingly dominated by exploitation, more things need to change than stay the same.

Bastian Allgeier

Creator of Kirby CMS. @bastianallgeier.

I can only give the advice that I try to give myself. Stay interested and excited about as many things as possible. Motivation, creativity and energy can be found anywhere. We only need to keep the ability to learn and change.

Helen Joy

UX & UR consultant and diversity and inclusion champion. @LittleHelli.

It’s ok to not have a set career plan or 5-year goal. The tech industry changes at speed and new roles develop that you might realise you’re looking for until you
see them. The work you do — how it makes you feel and how it sits with your own moral compass — is more important than job titles.

Geri Coady

Designer, illustrator, NA organiser. @hellogeri.

Have interests and hobbies outside of your industry. Nerd out on something different. It’ll help you come up with new or creative solutions to problems that might not happen if you’re only ever looking in one place.

Other questions


This article was commissioned for our January 2020 magazine. Like it? View all articles, grab our RSS feed, and subscribe to our newsletter.