HaveYouHeard co-founder and head of strategy Ryan McFadyen
DNA Paris, an award show and design conference, was founded to discover, progress and celebrate fresh and remarkable design thinking across a multitude of disciplines from architecture and interior design to landscaping, product and graphic design.
It brings together the world’s bestselling creative thinkers, innovators, designers and entrepreneurs for three days of workshops, exhibitions, master classes, a design lab and the awards themselves, which attract upwards of 5,000 entries.
Having previously been acknowledged as one of the 30 most creative business leaders in Africa by Fast Company Magazine, McFadyen was invited to judge in 2019 and will return (virtually) in 2020. He is the only judge from South Africa and one of only three from the continent. Other jury members include post-disciplinary designer and thinker Mario Gagliardi, who founded penccil, a non-profit social medium for the global creative community, after a career as chief designer at LG and advisor at Samsung, and the China editor of Wallpaper Magazine, Yoko Choy.
McFadyen welcomes his participation in events like these as both learning and motivational experience.
“Last year, what stood out for me was the importance of designing with a purpose, and how deeply ingrained it has become an integral component of design thinking. Every top design had a deep understanding of the audience at heart driving the design. The winning pieces also demonstrated real practicality and innovation in making a product better at doing its job.
“This inspired me to look further and be more aware of this type of design innovation. A great example is shoe and apparel brand Vans which moved the closures on its new range of surfer board shorts from the front to the side.
“Genius – it’s simple design thinking brilliantly executed, based on the insight that surfers spend 95% of their time in the water lying prone on their surfboards where the front fixtures are uncomfortable.
“This aligns very closely with our approach to strategy at HaveYouHeard. Here, we make sure that we really unpack the needs of the audience we want to speak to, work with our brand partners to create products and calls to action that benefit that audience, and then create brand campaigns that truly do their job by increasing sales.”