Design to Connect: DC EXCOMM 2015 Recap and Review


Last Thursday, we hosted the first annual DC EXCOMM: Design to Connect Executive Communications and Visualization Conference.

Congregating in a room with beautiful views of Georgetown and the National Mall from across the river in Arlington, our guests were treated to two phenomenal keynote speeches from bestselling author Dan Roam and renowned communications expert Vincent Covello.

Dan Roam DC EXCOMM Presentation

Within minutes Dan Roam had our crowd drawing stick figures, and showing them the powerful impact that simple communications can have on their thinking and communications through materials from his book Back of the Napkin.

He shared stories of some of the most important doodles in history, from the development of Southwest Airlines business model to the conception of trickle down economics.

Scott Williams and Dan Roam

After the group had caught their collective breaths (and snagged a quick bite to eat) Vince Covello launched in to the second keynote speech.

He introduced the rules and techniques of high-concern communications, and walked the participants through a variety of case studies including his first hand experience working with the World Health Organization during the Ebola crisis.

DC EXCOMM Graphic Recording

As impressive as the keynote speakers were, our guests in attendance matched them. They were all decision makers and executives from across different industries, inside and outside the federal government and military fields.

DCEXCOMM Attendees

We saw just how quickly they picked up the tricks of the trade during our interactive workshops. In short order they visually developed solutions to deal with hypothetical cyber attacks, figured out ways to lower the cost of space exploration, and even explored the structural societal pressures that led to the rise of the “free range” parenting style.

“Who here thinks they are good at drawing?” Dan asked early in the day. At that point, only a couple of people raised their hands in the affirmative (and that may have included one of our designers).

Yet despite the modesty on their artistic ability, all of our participants were eager to learn.

DC EXCOMM Challenge

Throughout the day, the pens and markers were flying across the page as doodles, drawings, and message maps took for.

Were they all beautiful? Of course not, and that was never the point. Too often, design, communications, and visualization are seen as tasks handled by only a select few. Instead, as DC EXCOMM showed, these tools can be used to help any person confront any challenge.

To all who attended, thanks for being a part of a great day. To all who couldn’t make it, we hope to see you next year!

SPARC: Hackathon 3D

This past weekend Maga Design teamed up with SPARC to help host the 3rd annual Hackathon. The 3D themed event included presentations, guest speakers, food, drinks, and games while the 34 participating teams of software engineers tirelessly worked to create the best mobile app. Maga Design offered support by providing creative team name cards for tables, certificates for winning teams, maps of event locations, and a 36”x72” Info-graphic Map reflecting the history of 3D.

This event brought together imaginative teams of hackers from across the country to show off their skills in a colorful setting. Teams were adorned with vibrant costumes and represented themselves with creative titles. In the end, Team App Life 3 left with the title of Best in Show and the $2,000 cash prize. Congratulations App Life 3!

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Sundae Funday

Everyone loves an ice cream sundae, especially when the temperatures outside are up in the 90s. We were surprised this morning at the D.C. studio by a gift from our friends at Windows Catering, a whole kit of ice cream toppings and cones. With one tub of chocolate and another of vanilla, we were set for an afternoon snack. Continue reading Sundae Funday

Salute to Service – An Evening with the Red Cross

This past Saturday, May 4th, Maga was delighted to partake in one of Washington’s most respected events – the American Red Cross’ Salute to Service Gala. This year marked our first time sponsoring the National Capital Region’s largest fundraising event of the year, but it certainly won’t be the last!

Continue reading Salute to Service – An Evening with the Red Cross

Maga Charleston teams up with Operation Home

Maga’s Charleston crew recently sponsored and attended a special charity event, Gimme Shelter, on Thursday, April 18. The event was hosted by our office “neighbors” here at the Navy Yard — Operation Home. Our team was exited to support the local community, especially because it involved testing our bowling talents at The Alley in downtown Charleston. While some of the team seemed to have trouble hitting even a single pin at times, we all enjoyed supporting a good cause and mingling with the local community.