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Networking for Creatives, Innovators & Designers

Why is Networking Important?


In the realm of Creativity, Innovation & Design (CID), talent alone often falls short of guaranteeing success. Networking plays a pivotal role in shaping careers, opening doors, and providing opportunities that might otherwise remain inaccessible. Here are some reasons why creatives need to network:




Exposure to New Opportunities:

  • Networking introduces you to potential collaborations, freelance gigs, or even full-time positions that you might not encounter through traditional channels.

  • By connecting with decision-makers and influencers, you increase the likelihood of being recommended or thought of when such opportunities arise.

Skill Enhancement:

  • Networking isn’t just about exchanging business cards; it’s also an avenue for professional development.

  • Interacting with people from diverse backgrounds and skill sets provides insights and knowledge that you wouldn’t gain otherwise.


Building Your Personal Brand:

  • Networking allows you to showcase your work, share your creative vision, and establish a memorable presence.

  • A strong personal brand can attract opportunities and set you apart in a competitive field.

Emotional and Creative Support:

  • A robust network serves as a support system, providing emotional encouragement and constructive criticism.

  • Fellow creatives can offer diverse perspectives, helping you refine your projects.


Access to Resources:

  • Networking connects you to resources such as workshops, mentorship programs, and industry events.

  • These resources enhance your skills and keep you informed about industry trends.


Collaboration and Partnership:

  • Creative collaboration can lead to results that are impossible to achieve solo.

  • Networking helps you find potential collaborators and partners who complement your skills.


Mentorship and Guidance:

  • Experienced professionals in your network can offer valuable advice, guidance, and mentorship.

  • Learning from their experiences can accelerate your growth.


Financial Benefits:

  • Networking can lead to paid opportunities, commissions, and clients.

  • Building relationships with potential clients or patrons can directly impact your income.



How to start building your Network.

Starting your networking journey as a CID professional can be both exciting and rewarding. Here are some practical steps to help you get started:


  1. Define Your Goals:

  • Clarify your career objectives. What do you want to achieve through networking? Whether it’s finding job opportunities, collaborating on projects, or simply expanding your creative circle, having clear goals will guide your efforts.

  1. Leverage Social Media:

  • Create a professional online presence. Use platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter to showcase your work, connect with other creatives, and engage in relevant conversations.

  • Follow industry leaders and participate in discussions related to your field.

  1. Attend Industry Events:

  • Look for local events, workshops, and conferences related to your creative discipline. These gatherings provide excellent networking opportunities.

  • Be open to meeting new people. Strike up conversations, exchange contact details, and follow up afterward.

  1. Start Small:

  • Chat with fellow creatives at co-working spaces, studios, or online communities. Share your experiences and learn from theirs.

  • Join after-work sports teams or hobby groups. Networking doesn’t always have to be formal; it can happen while doing something you enjoy.

  1. Be Authentic:

  • Be genuine and approachable. People appreciate authenticity.

  • Ask questions about others’ work and interests. Active listening helps build meaningful connections.

  1. Business Cards (Digital or Physical):

  • Carry business cards with your contact information. These come in handy during in-person events.

  • If you prefer digital networking, ensure your online profiles are up-to-date and easily accessible.

  1. Follow Up:

  • After meeting someone, send a brief follow-up email or message. Express gratitude for the conversation and express interest in staying connected.

  • Remember to nurture relationships over time.

  1. Seek and Offer Support:

  • Networking isn’t just about taking; it’s also about giving. Offer help, share resources, and support fellow creatives.

  • Be part of a community that uplifts and encourages one another.

  1. Measure Your Efforts:

  • Track your networking activities. Are you attending events? Connecting online? Collaborating? Assess what works best for you.

  • Evaluate the impact of your networking efforts on your career growth.



One step closer with Design in Focus.

Networks & Community Area


Design in Focus is a multimedia channel and professional platform serving CID professionals.


Networks & Community Menu
Networks & Community Menu

On this platform we are listing Creative, Innovation and Design networks and Communities. Visit the Networks & Community list to discover Networks and Communities that are relevant for you. Many of these are external networks and communities. Some are websites and apps, while others take form on social media.



Take Charge - Groups


One great way to get started is to build your own Network. You can start for free using social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Another great way to start for free is by joining this platform and starting your own group from here. We have a few pre existing groups that you can join too, or post about your new group to ask members to join. Join this short Training to get started.



The groups feature of this platform gives you a Discussion board where you can start or join conversations or share just about any kind of digital content, a Media tab for sharing content, a Members tab where you can see all members of the group and start discussions with them, as well as the option to publish events.


The Design in Focus social media channels also become available to you. You can share your events on our LinkedIn pages as well as our Meetup page. This will ensure that you have an audience for your events. The first few months will be quiet, but with some effort you could create a network of 10 000 or more in one year.



Design in Focus Content Creator


Success story: In May 2022 Candice Storm started building Design in Focus. At the time she had 89 connections. In October 2022 the Networks & Community portal was launched with the flagship network Randstad UX. From the first event in October 22 to August 2023, Candice's network grew by over 10 000, and she published content and created an event lead by Don Norman, known as the father of UX which was attended by several hundred designers around the globe.

Another great way to get started is to join this platform as a content creator. This entails unpaid community work, but together with your imagination can ensure that you expand your network. We publish content in 5 media formats, on 4 pillars, and in 3 topics.


The 3 topics are Creativity, Innovation & Design.



These three topics can be entered into broadly or you may choose to focus on a specific subject relating to the topics. For example. Creative -> Idea Generation, Innovation -> Creative Problem Solving, Design -> Interior Design.


It could be interesting to think about creating content based in your local area or perhaps you would might consider focussing on a movement. For example exploring The Best Innovation in your city or dive into Design Trends.



The 4 Pillars contribute four different perspectives to create content from.


Industry Talks content is highly professional and industry focussed and requires content in formal tone of voice.


The Human Experience is deeply human focused and the content requires empathy and a warm tone of voice.


The Dream Team Roundtable is solidarity outcomes focused, and requires the presence of team spirit and collaboration.


The Dark Side of the Force is austerely fact based and requires objective and provoking content.


You may consider creating content for one of the pillars such as Industry Talks focussing on for example DesignOps, or you could consider exploring a topic like DesignOps from all four perspectives.


The best way to build your network is to publish content frequently. This takes commitment but will pay off.


On the platform we are also building Collectives. The difference between building Networks and Communities and building Collectives is that networks and communities are tightly linked, while as collectives are linked through a specific initiative, but members are individual personalities that are independently focussed on a topic collectively.



#ImpactCollective is a good example. Content published in this area tends to focus on the impact of creativity, innovation and or design. You could consider building a listing page like this where you can find members and publish content with them. Currently we are searching for collaborations and building the following collectives,

Creative, Innovation, Design or collective CID;

#MammasAndPappasCorner, a portal for professionals who are also parents and create kid friendly events and conferences.

#EmpowerHour, a portal listing influential speakers and professionals talking about and enabling creatives, innovators and designers.

#TheFlashyAndTheFabulous, a portal dedicated to the pop culture of the now and wow of the industry.

#NewToTheCrew, a portal dedicated to emerging professionals where they can find resources and tools to up their professional game.


These are just a few examples, but you might ideate and propose a collective of your own. We require at least three productions to publish a collective.


Now that you have a topic and a lens, you can decide on what kind of content to create.


You may consider creating Audio and Video content such as podcasts or webshows, in which case you may think about weather you want to host or present. For example, if you start your own Audio/Video Podcast, do you want to invite guests to speak with you, or would you perhaps take on more of a reporting role and discuss your topic and lens from?


Maybe writing is your way to go, you could consider publishing articles with your perspective, or you could journal about meeting or talking with professionals or industry developments. If visuals is your thing, you could create infographics and memes.


Another great way to network is by publishing events. Aside from the events in the groups section, you could also organise and publish events on the main portal. Great networking events include webinars, talk events, and networking events.



All events are listed in the events portal under the Professional tab in the menu. The difference between posting events to groups and on the platform is that you do not need to create a group to publish events and in the groups you do not need to create events.


Checkout some predefined events here. All events marked with TBD are still being organised. Do you see one or more that you think you could lead? Then Join the event and find the link on the event page to contact us.


All these events have one thing in common:

The Value & Impact of Creativity, Innovation, and Design in Business and Society.

That is also the Mission and Vision of this platform.


Using this mission and vision, you can ideate on your own events (as well as any other form of content). You may want to organise talk events exploring the Value of Urban Design in Society, or webinars on The Impact of Industrial Innovation in Business for example.


The key is to consider or focus on 1.Value and or 2.Impact,

Of an industry topic relative to your field in A. Creativity, B. Innovation and or C. Design,

By exploring its effects on either I. Business or II. Society.


Why is this THE formula?

Considering 1.Value allows you to demonstrate factually why your topic is important, while as if you explore the 2. Impact, you can share success stories.

A. Creative, B. Innovation, C. Design can encompass a wide array of topics, but all are unified under one umbrella that is for those who make things and is relative in all industries where something becomes.

By exploring the effect in either I. business or II. society, you can make it I. Objective or II. Subjective.


Formula Short Form

1 or 2 or 1+2

A, B, or C, or any combination of A. B. C,

I or II or I+&II.


Now let's look at the idea shared above again :

You may want to organise talk events exploring the 1. Value of C. Urban Design in II Society, or webinars on The 2. Impact of B. Industrial Innovation in I Business for example.


Aside from formulating types of events and content, this formula also aids you in the type of networking you would like to do.


If you would like to network to climb the corporate ladder, focus on the value of your topic in business and showcase your professionality and reliability as well as your knowledge and dedication.


On the other hand if you would like your networking to be more social and you want to build lasting connections you may want to focus on the impact of your topic in society.


You could of course mix the two up for some interesting new line of thought, but both set different tones you can use to start from. When building a network, you really want to ensure that you communicate the right tone so that your network is engaging. What appeals to the Data Driven Designer may not be as inviting to Human centered Designer. While both have value & impact, value is more expressed in facts and figures while impact often is best expressed in stories and cases.


Also when starting to build a network, it's good to have a foundation on which to build on. Reaching out to complete strangers online can be intimidating. When you approach a professional you would like to network with, having clearly defined messaging helps.


As a content or event creator on a dedicated platform, with a clear topic and tone, you can find common ground with like minded professionals with a demonstrated Ice Breaker.


You will be surprised how humble professionals on all levels, including leaders, can be, and often when you have a mission and a vision when you network with them, they are happy to talk to you or join your event as a speaker.


Summary


The Three ways to start building your network publically on this platform.


Networks & Community Area

Find Networks and Communities on this platform. Visit Networks & Communities to discover networks relevant for you.


Take Charge - Groups

Join or Start a Group on this platform. Become a member and get active on this platform and associated media channels to start or grow your network.


Design in Focus Content Creator

Create public content to build a network with followers. Choose your topics, pillars, and media types. Start publishing content and engaging with the industry to build your reputation and network.



Last But Not Least


If you can dedicate 24+ hours a month and would like to seriously build a Creative, Innovation and or Design Network, then joining us a a volunteer can be a promising option. We have open positions for all levels from Intern to Board Member at Design in Focus.

Here are two examples of how a volunteer position can help you grow you network.


Industry Talks Audio & Video personalities

This role is open to intelligent and witty interviewers who can bring out the best in our participants. By becoming a Audio / Video Personality, you gain visibility in the industry. During your publications, you could invite professionals to network with or follow you. Publishing content also gives viewers a reason to start a conversation with you.


Board Member Creative

This role is open to a candidate who will be the voice for Creatives, and champion for the creative industry and professionals. By working as a Board Member for the Creative Industry, you demonstrate your commitment. You also assume a leading role which potentially could inspire other creatives. Network and Speak to industry leaders and help define what is relevant for creatives on this platform.


There are many open roles and if you do not find a role you like, you may propose one for us to consider. Either way, when you join the platform and dedicate your free time, you really get to shine.




 

Was this information useful to you? Do you have something to add to the conversation? Any other questions or comments? Please add your responses below.

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