Going to this event I certainly learned a lot about Lab OPM and it certainly expanded my view on design and the things you could do with it aside from making posters and/or logos to sell a certain product.
The meeting began with the representatives of Lab OPM explaining what they do which is using many forms of design and working with government agencies to help solve problems that may have to do with public and cross-sector organizations. Government agencies such as the National Security Agency and Department of Defense and even foreign governments they worked with the Australian government and would trade information and solutions to help solve similar problems. Public sector organizations like the V.A just recently they started a project where they wanted start connections between people who never thought would have connections like a former soldier and a mailman. They also wanted to change the way how learning is done because they notice that people are not only going to school/universities to learn; there are other mediums such as podcasts, events, and other things so they trying to bring those on to table to see if that is a medium that people could use for education. Which is a strategy they are using when interacting with government representatives, when tackling issues that may be complicated, like the principles we as designers learn in graphic design school, they want to make simple so that way it’s incredibly easy to take in so they will use designers to help make simple, may that be worth infographics and others.
The Lab OPM started when there was an incentive to make government “cool” so government agencies wanted to see what people in Silicon Valley were doing and wanted to see what people in San Francisco were doing and brought people in that could help bring innovative ideas to the table.
When the learning about the history was over it was time to discuss with others you didn’t arrive with so I joined with this large group of people and we had to discuss and answer questions on a paper that was given to us, when I joined the large group I was admittedly quite throughout the whole conversation because I felt as though I had nothing to bring on to the table because I was surrounded by design firm CEOs, freelance graphic designers, and head desingers that had helped create design solutions for the Internal Revenue Service. Until one of the design firm partners asked me “Hey Jake I would really like to know what are your thoughts on all of this, it’s not often we get design students come to talks like this. What are your plans after school?”. I said that in open to doing anything design wise, whether that be in the public sector or in the private sector I also said that it wouldn’t be opposed to working for well-known firms like Pentagram, mainly because I have never seen firms with that business model be successful and contribute to well-known clients like Saturday Night Live and Hilary Clinton’s campaign.
After the meeting and exchanging business cards. As I was collecting my things getting ready to go that design firm partner told me that if I’m ever in need of mentorship or just want someone to look at their portfolio and to need some critique I should not hesitate to contact him. I was honestly excited because I felt that this was my opportunity to get my foot in the door and the start of my career it was also time for me to get my portfolio updated.
My overall experience of the event was great. It certainly got me to start thinking about my design future in terms of the world around me and life. I realized that I don’t want to be remembered for just making designs for products and other things related I want my designs to help those who want help improve life and tackle issues that are possibly not getting enough traction or are being ignored. Which is why I wouldn’t be opposed to design for political organizations or for government agencies. I think if I could contribute to something bigger than me, I’m helping push forward something that could push the country forward.