By DTS Committee Member: Robert Manna

It’s hard to believe that as I write this article summing up the DTS 2020 Online event, almost all of us have been cooped up in our homes to a degree for the last nine months (three quarters of a year!), and so far, It doesn’t feel as though a change in our work life is in the cards. On top of that, it has already been nearly two weeks since our third and final virtual DTS session of the year. Back in March and April when we realized the direction we were quickly headed in, we pivoted to the idea of a virtual DTS; why couldn’t we make DTS work as a virtual discussion session? In some respects, virtualization afforded us some interesting opportunities. No need to tell people to introduce themselves (because their names are visible on Zoom), it’s been easy to hear everything (barring no audio issues), flexibility to facilitate large group discussions or quickly disperse into small groups, ability to record sessions for future reference, automatic transcription – all benefits we can’t enjoy when we’re physically together.

This year we decided to keep things simple to start our virtual foray by hosting a panel discussion in June, which was well received and helped set the stage for our follow-up small group discussion sessions in August and just a few weeks ago in October. While we had a group on the smaller side for our discussion sessions, they were a widely diverse set of folks and it ultimately allowed for a more intimate atmosphere and a chance for people to not only discuss design technology, but also to catch-up and renew personal contacts, or make  new ones.

With that in mind we are already looking ahead to 2021. Given the circumstances we find ourselves in today, we think it’s wise to plan to continue the opportunity for virtual discussions. We want to keep things “simple”, therefore we are looking at hosting our first DTS Dialogs Session in  quarter one of 2021. The Dialogs are meant to be short (about an hour-long), slightly less formal, discussion sessions focused on a single topic/statement/thesis to discuss (we already have several possible topics arising from our discussions this year). The plan will be to continue the Dialog sessions into the future, choosing to attend pretty much up to the last moment and when circumstances permit, we will join together for a full in-person Design Technology Summit, where the first round of drinks will be “on me”!

Attendance to the Dialog Sessions will be open to members of the DBEI Community starting at the Affiliate Level. In addition, Community members at the Associate Level or higher have access to all those recordings I mentioned earlier from the sessions you may have missed (another great benefit of joining and participating in the DBEI Community).

With that I’m going to sign-off; I wish everyone a safe holiday season and look forward to seeing you in our DTS Dialogs kicking off in 2021. Until then, stay safe!

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