There is a reason why FUSE has already surpassed last year's attendance and is on track to sell out.  That reason is YOU - You spoke, we listened. By your request... Exciting things are happening this year at FUSE.

Download the Updated FUSE Brochure!

We've shown you the can't-miss roster of Keynotes and the FUSE pods highlighting the critical themes in brand and design. But that's not all, New sessions and experiences are being continually added to make this an all-star event, including: 
·         New economy brands share their secrets like The Home T- straight from Shark Tank and Shinola
·         A look into the impact of technology on design from Gatorade
·         Understanding future consumers and redefining luxury: a panel hosted by The Luxury Council
·         Get out an experience design with one of our two FUSE Explorations: South Beach TrenzWalk and Street Art Tour Wynwood Walls
·         Stay tuned for more surprises and program additions!
You don't want to miss out on attending FUSE this year. Tickets are going fast so get your tickets before they are gone.

Use code FUSE16LI for $100 off the current rate. Buy Tickets Today:

Plus, check out our new FUSE MUSE eBook, a compilation of our interviews with the most inspiring leaders in the design and brand strategy community. They have shared their hit list of things they love. A snapshot of what's on their minds, what they love and what inspires them. Download the full eBook here:

We hope to see you in Miami this spring!

The FUSE Team

February 19 | Sarah Adeelsocial links

lost in thought
with Sarah Adeel

Founder & Director, LettuceBee Kids

To me, brilliant is treating your everyday as a little life.

My favorite app is flip-board.

My favorite color is yellow. Yellow is happy.

My dream project is establishing ties and building a worldwide community of empathetic humans who are aware, connected and grateful without the confines of borders, culture or race. This is precisely what we are trying to achieve through our LettuceBee Kids textiles and stationery products.

The very next thing on my to-do list is ‘sun salutations’

My dream collaborator is IDEO and IKEA.

At least once, everyone should just let it all go and just breathe.

The best way to unwind after a long day is a long hug.

If I had a one year sabbatical, I would take cooking classes from around the world.

At FUSE 2016, I can’t wait to learn and get inspired from other design enthusiasts.
At the moment, I’m obsessed with the idea of home.

As of now, I’m totally over unreliable people.

I’d define my personal style as ‘OCD, curls and red lip color can heal everything.’

My tools of the trade are complete honesty with everything you do or pursue.

The biggest thing that has changed since I started in the industry is human connection.

I lead by conviction and collaboration. I believe nothing can be achieved in isolation.

I wish I could sing.

The best advice I ever received was “You are a priceless stone. But people will value you based on only their financial status, their own level of information, their motive behind entertaining you and their limited risk taking ability. Don't fear, you will surely find someone who will discern your true value. Never second guess yourself based on other people’s opinions. Life's too short to wake up with regrets, So Love the people who treat you right and pray for the ones who don’t."

I’m proud that I did not choose the easier path.

My playlist is a collection of my life OST from various times.

You can usually find me dreaming.

The last stamp on my passport was Paris.

The next stamp on my passport is Pakistan.

I still hope to change the world through design.

When I look back on my career I feel "Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee and I'll forgive Thy great big one on me."
© 2016 IIR Holdings, LTD. All Rights Reserved.
By Kitty Hart, Director, CAPSULE

We make thousands of decisions every day. Many are purchase decisions. We pry our wallets open and hand other people, or automated machines, our hard earned cash in exchange for goods and services. Some exchanges make us uber-happy like the purchase of a fabulous pair of Old Gringo boots, tickets to an Adele concert or a finely frothed morning latte. Others provide a sense of comfort and fill our basic needs like purchasing a week’s worth of groceries. Regardless of the item, a decision has been made based on rational and emotional criteria. The criteria are different for each of us as human beings. For instance, you may be thinking, I don’t give a rat’s-asterisk about Old Gringo boots and I’d rather see Pitbull in concert any day of the week. That’s ok. We’re all different. Live and let live, right? We can’t all have great taste in boots and music. The point is, we all make small, medium and large purchase decisions that are meaningful to us individually. So, isn’t it nice to feel good after we’ve just made a purchase?

Of course it is.

Now, think back to your last trip to the grocery store, Target or the coffee shop. After you made your selections and proceeded to the cashier, what sort of experience did you have? Were you greeted? What sort of interaction did you have with the person there to complete your “transaction?” How did you feel parting with your hard earned cash? Did the person thank you? Did you feel appreciated?

Over the past 6 months I’ve run an experiment. During each of my retail visits, I took note of how I felt after my purchases. And more specifically, I noted if I was thanked for my transaction. Sadly, 8 out of 10 times I was not. It did not feel good.

The irony of this is I always feel compelled to say thank you to the cashier no matter how long I wait for them to say those precious words to me. Why? Why do I feel compelled? Oh right, because it’s the polite thing to do. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for teaching me manners.

But oddly, can you guess what the cashiers' responses were when I thanked them? When I had just pried my wallet open and handed them my cold-hard cash? Again, 8 out of 10 times the responses were, “Yeah, no problem.”

Really? No problem?!

Well, I hope it’s no problem because the fact that I just put $100 into your cashbox for products I probably don’t really “need” is contributing to your salary. I hope it’s no problem because I just provided something for you to do with your hands while you were more interested in carrying on a conversation with the neighboring cashier who, by the way, I now know gets off at 3pm today and is still buzzing from the party last night. Their conversation was far more important to them than the job they had been hired to fulfill. I’ll tell you what’s “NO Problem,” taking my business across the street to another retailer. (Thanks for letting me vent.)

As I consistently experience lack of consumer appreciation I wonder if retail leaders and managers know this is happening. How can they not? It’s right under their noses. It appears they don’t care. Do they not care because they know our world is inching closer and closer to full automation? The experience I just described is nothing more than an automated checkout. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of the self-checkout lanes when I’m in a hurry and they are open. But I prefer the experience of a human checkout if the human acts like a human. I don’t want to see humans lose their jobs to bots. But retailers that employ humans to be nothing more than bots are accelerating the full automation trend faster than the technology itself.

Do these brands not see the connection between appreciation and brand loyalty, within this most important face-to-face interaction? A simple thank you, I believe, is one of the most important statements any brand can make to its customers. It says, “We value you. We know you have choices. We thank you for choosing us.” And these words are best delivered by the human voice, not the computer.

This is the purpose of appreciation.

Brands that understand this connection create loyalty. When they design good shopping experiences,  we appreciate being inside their four walls. We willingly and happily give them our money. And we exuberantly share these experiences with others. Designing experiences with the purpose of appreciation builds better brands. 

Thank you for sticking with me all the way to the end of this rant. I appreciate you.
(See what I did there?)

Kitty Hart
Director of Client Experience

“Don’t tell me who you are. Tell me why you are.” – riCardo Crespo

In our second edition of the “FUSE Calls" podcast series, Informa Creative Director Dan Madinabeitia sat down with riCardo Crespo, Chief Creative Officer and Brand Design Lead withTh13teen and Jackknife Design, to talk about storytelling.

FUSE Calls is a series of interviews where the FUSE team literally picks up the phone and calls disruptive design and brand strategy leaders across the globe - some of whom will be speaking at our upcoming FUSE 2016 Conference in Miami this spring. Dan will also be dialing in to speak with the very esteemed members of our FUSE community. Our goal is to share insight, promote design-thinking and hopefully inspire anyone interested in branding and design as it relates to strategic vision. 

In this session of FUSE Calls, riCardo shared key insights into how storytelling is so important when it comes to design and brand strategy. According to riCardo, storytelling is a key aspect to the branding paradigm. In fact, attributes of storytelling are great metaphors to inform best practices in design, brand strategy & development.

“As a formally trained Designer and Art Director, what I’ve found is through my design career, I was actually designing moments in a story that I was inadvertently telling,” he said. “And as I became more tenured in the business, it became clearer and clearer to me how story and storytelling had many attributes that were very similar to branding.”

To listen to the full podcast, click here:

To download the interview transcript, click here:

Want to hear more on the topic of storytelling? Don’t miss FUSE 2016 April 4-6 in Miami, FL. For more information about the conference or to register, visit the website:

Interviewer Dan Madinabeitia is Creative Director and Brand Advisor at Informa, the Global Information Corporation responsible for facilitating business events such as FUSE 2016.

Over the past two years, we’ve been publishing our eye-catching MUSE Newsletters to give our FUSE community something fun to read once a week that inspires them. Each week, MUSE features the most inspiring leaders in the design and brand strategy community.

We've picked their brains about what inspires them, what brilliant means, the next thing on their to-do list, the biggest thing that has changed in the industry, and the best way to beat creative block. They have shared their hit list of things they love. A snapshot of what's on their minds, what they love and what inspires them.

So, we decided to put over 20 of our inspiring MUSEs together into a beautifully designed eBook for your reading and viewing pleasure.

Sit back, relax and take a peek into the minds of the people ushering the new era of brand. Download FUSE MUSE and hear from Kodak, SC Johnson & Son, Starwood Hotels, 3M, Chipotle, and more!
We hope you enjoy!

Download the full eBook here:
 by Kitty Hart, CAPSULE

As we plunge into the frigid temperatures of February in Minnesota, I look longingly at my calendar. Is there warm relief ahead? Well, yes. FUSE 2016 is headed for Miami!
Always a highlight of our year, @KellerOfCapsule and I usually attend FUSE and provide (hopefully) interesting insights through the social-sphere. We fill our Twitter feeds with little nuggets of knowledge presented by esteemed speakers. We also provide more in-depth recaps and commentary through FUSE’s blog, The Next Big Design. Well, all of this will again be happening, with one change.

@KellerOfCapsule is heading off to Tokyo to conduct consumer research for Patagonia. We hope he returns with lots of lovely travel gifts for those holding down the Capsule pillbox. While he is gone, we are excited to introduce Lauren Sobolik. Lauren is a valued member of the Capsule team and will provide a whole new perspective to the FUSE trough of inspired content this year.

FUSE’s upcoming theme is Designing Brands with Purpose. Over the past 16 years, this perspective has always been at the center of our philosophy. As we guide our clients through change and growth, there is no better advice. Brand engagement and loyalty results when messages are clear, design is impactful and actions are consistent and authentic. Purpose driven brands are center to our purpose.

The list of speakers is long and impressive. IIR has again prepared three solid days of programming with intention. We will be inspired by some of the world’s most impressive brand leaders. But I also know Lauren and I look forward to connecting with other FUSE attendees. Learning and inspiration doesn’t just come from the stage. We open ourselves up to shake hands with the person next to us, share lunch with someone looking for an open seat and grab coffee with that Twitter follower who kindly “hearts” and retweets us. Those around us are also designing brands with purpose. We never know with whom we will meet and where connections will be made. Learning and networking with purpose.

So, we anxiously wait for April 4 to arrive, along with the Miami warmth. If you haven’t registered yet, there is still time. Until then, stay tuned. Lauren and I will do our best to provide purpose-driven prose inspired by The Next Big Design.

Kitty Hart
Director of Client Experience

 The pressure to connect consumers and brands is more meaningful than ever before. Those who can make the connection are thriving and those who cannot are fading away.

That’s why we sat down with Erica Orange, who will be speaking at the upcoming FUSE 2016 conference in Miami this spring. Orange talked to us about the consumer trend of immediacy, what it takes to be a leader who inspires creativity, and how to prepare for disruption.

Today, FUSE is the only event focused on design as a strategic force in your quest to build brands and businesses that connect beyond compare with consumers.

Here’s what Orange had to say:

IIR: We live in an always-on "now," where the priorities of this moment seem to be everything. What does this emphasis on immediacy mean to marketing and design?

Orange: In recent years, there has been considerable dialogue around attention. The ultimate “alternative currency,” attention is what everyone – marketers, teachers and parents, alike – is fighting for. Attention = greater chance for success. In business terms, attention = more money. Marketers, as sophisticated as they have become, are struggling with this because they simply cannot adapt quickly enough to keep pace with technology.

However, the focus is now shifting from attention to boredom. Boredom studies are a fast-growing, formal field of inquiry. Researchers suggest that boredom has serious consequences for health and productivity. Smartphones and other modern, digital technologies may also change the way consumers experience boredom. Mobile devices offer instant stimulation, but researchers speculate that may leave some even more bored when they are unplugged. As a result, “now” takes on an even greater importance. We will have to actively reimagine, reengineer and redesign both the learning and working environments of the future, as well as our marketing paradigms, to mitigate boredom.

IIR: What does it take to be a leader who inspires creativity and innovation?

Orange: I think it’s less about a leader who inspires creativity and innovation, and more about an environment that organically inspires a culture of innovation. If it’s a tone set from the top, many younger generations may view this as artificial. Rather, they will crave spaces that are designed to allow creativity and innovation to flourish. One way this can be accomplished is through spaces that encourage play. The need for play is a fundamental human instinct that never abandons us throughout our lifespans. New research indicates that whimsical play might be critical for healthy childhood development.

And, many neuroscientific studies have identified play as an adaptation that enabled early humans to become powerful learners and problem-solvers. One of the biggest marketing and design opportunities will be figuring out how to best harness concepts of experiential play. We will continue to see stores become more designed around playful experiences; we will continue to see brands engage young consumers with social media driven events that capitalize on this ethic of play; we will continue to see companies – particularly smaller, more entrepreneurial ones – more fundamentally embed elements of play in the workplace.

IIR: How do you prepare for disruption?

Orange: Change has always been a constant, but it is now happening faster than ever before. The pace of technological innovation around the world is increasing at an exponential rate. This is leading to a world of, what we in our shop call, templosion, in which very large things happen in increasingly compressed amounts of time. The impacts of this acceleration – and digital transformation – will be felt everywhere. Because of the rapid speed of change, preparing for disruption becomes ever more difficult.

Perhaps one of the first ways to prepare ourselves is by training our minds to see more clearly and more objectively. This is hard to do because we begin learning from the time we are born; and perhaps even before. And the older we get, the more knowledge we acquire, and the more mental baggage gets loaded into our consciousness. But all of this learning can make it hard to see objectively into the future, because we are so conditioned by what we already think we know. We call this educated incapacity: knowing so much about what we already know that we are the last to see the future for those fields in which we are the most knowledgeable.

We talk about the need to pretend we are children, or aliens from another planet, in order to see our world for the first time, objectively and with no educated incapacity. Only then can we get the future right. One aspect of educated incapacity is focusing on central/core/accepted assumptions and ignoring many relevant and true things that have been relegated to the background. We call this “figure/ground,” and we have seen remarkable truths and strategies emerge from switching out the two. So in a world where things move at an exponential pace, untrapping your mind can help you better prepare for constant disruption.

Want to hear more from Erica Orange? Join her at FUSE 2016 April 4-6 in Miami. She will be presenting a keynote session, “Are You Prepared for Disruption? To learn more or to register for the event, click here:

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