19 September 2018
Rob van der Haar
Rob van der Haar

Intersection18 (Prague)

A trip report

Together with my colleague Susanne van Mulken, I recently attended the conference Intersection18 in Prague. The conference had its 5th edition and was themed ‘Scaling Ambitious Endeavours’ this year.

Intersection aims at the relative new field of Enterprise Design. The motivation behind Enterprise Design is that currently (large) enterprises are not functioning optimally and that therefore they need to be (re)designed. During a previous Intersection, the term Enterprise Awkwardness was introduced for this.

Intersection has been initiated and co-organized by Milan Guenther, author of a book by the same title and partner at strategic design agency EDA. Both his book and the Enterprise Design Framework have been a source of inspiration for our own Customer Experience Framework.

Last year, I attended Intersection in Barcelona as a participant and this year I had the opportunity to give a presentation on transforming enterprises from the perspective of experience design. It was very exciting to deliver my story at such a large stage in front of a very heterogenous audience. However, it all worked out quite well and based upon comments afterwards I sense my presentation was well-received.

The conference took place in the wonderfully decorated Theatre Royal in the center of Prague. The event lasted two days and consisted of two tracks: presentations and workshops. The presentations were held in the large theatre room with a cocktail bar in the back and very comfortable armchairs. The workshops took place in the basement of the theatre. I estimated the number of attendees was around 80 with typical backgrounds, such as enterprise architecture, experience design, business (process) consultancy and scaled agile experts. It’s my impression that this years event was a little bigger and more professional than last year, with significant differences being the beautiful location and a devoted master of ceremony.

Because I find it difficult to provide an adequate summary of the large diversity of presentations, I’ll just give a brief impression. Just like last year, various disciplines presented their perspective, vision and experiences on redesigning organizations, culture, processes and services. A developer told the story of how he designed an app for ISS astronauts to prevent them from losing their tools, an UX consultant showed how after an analysis of 50+ articles and 500+ activities she created a design leadership framework, an architect introduced a design system for enterprise architecture, an entrepreneur told how to apply anarchy in organizational culture, a UX strategist performed several songs on the sense and non-sense of innovation in large enterprises, etc.

Where Intersection started with the Enterprise Design Framework of Milan, the framework seems to gradually disappear to the background. It’s now up to participants themselves to learn from each other how to understand and redesign enterprises by applying different frameworks and methods. Although participants share the ‘vibe’ it still remains uncertain what the overarching objective of Enterprise Design actually is: improving the customer experience, the employee experience, operational excellence, innovation, all of these or something else? However, it is clear that all disciplines need each other and that their intersection will bring new insights and change. And as far as I’m concerned, a compelling playing field to follow and contribute to.

All presentations and video registrations (including the one I gave) of Intersection18 will be published shortly. Have you gotten curious to know more, just ping Susanne or me.

About the author

Rob van der Haar is design strategist, enterprise designer en design manager with more than twenty years of international experience, working for research, development, government and consultancy organizations. Leading the design and innovation of products, services and enterprises. Creating and executing digital strategies and delivering unique customer experiences. Embedding and positioning experience design capabilities into the organization.

Design thinking (16), Events (26)