Speak the Future: Interview with Christoph Schmid, Service Design Director at Interactive Things

Conferize’s “Speak the Future” series features speakers who are currently changing the conference world. Often described as the thought-leaders and knowledge port-holes to this world, which is why we are passionate about sharing their ideas, right here, with you! For more info check out our “Speak the Future” Manifesto.

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A little bit about myself
I’m the Service Design Director at Interactive Things, a user experience & data visualization studio located in Zurich, Switzerland. We are wholeheartedly passionate about making design things understandable, usable, enjoyable and actionable.

My favorite area of expertise to present
One of the core things we do at Interactive Things is data visualization. To reveal the essence and beauty of insightful data in a tangible way, you probably haven’t seen before is very exciting and also fun to present. It’s also about telling a data story and that’s what people are most excited about.

How I find public speaking
Back in time I was asked to moderate a circus show at elementary school. I clearly remember that moment, I was incredibly nervous but the show was a success and I felt so much relief afterward. Nowadays I more prefer when the presentation becomes more like a discussion, when it’s not long a speaker-centered kind of talk and it transforms into a dialogue with the audience. From my perspective public speaking is a great opportunity to get instant feedback from the listeners and that’s a good reason why you should take every chance to go out there and speak to the world.

Key conferences -
Two months ago I came back from the resonate Festival in Belgrade. The conference was held only for the second time but it already became one of my favorite venues to visit.
It’s a creative and inspiring conference with an international audience and a fantastic set of speakers like Casey Reas, Golan Levin and Zach Gage.
If you’re interested in data visualization you also should attend the See Conference in Germany. Every year since 2006 the conference surprises me with an extremely inspiring list of speakers; all about the art of visualization of information.

Importance of Conferences -
Conferences are magical places where knowledge transfer takes place. To learn from the other people face to face, is something which cannot be replaced by anything else. It’s a different perception in terms of processing information when you physically attend a conference rather joining in a virtual manner.

Trends regarding the wake of digital development -
What has changed in my opinion is the importance of social networks like Twitter or Facebook. They contribute a constant and simultaneous meta layer of information during the event.

Change of conferences for the future -
It’s difficult to predict what can bring conferences to the next level. In general, I appreciate when the audience has the opportunity to be an active part of the conference and the chance to share their experiences with the other attendees. In my opinion this should be stressed more.

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Things I need -
The sword of insouciance and the shield of experience would definitely help.

Conference Nightmares -
Mobile HCI09, three days fully packed with talks but it felt superficial and I expected more.

My advice -
Well prepared is half the battle. But don’t be afraid to improvise. It’s a skill that can be learned, sharpened and be used as a powerful instrument to make the difference in a positive sense.
And please, don’t use PowerPoint slides from hell.

To keep up to date with Christoph Schmid and start following the conferences he is, follow him here

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