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Emerging Leaders Tackle the World's Great Problems...and Marshmallows

Contributor: Swinerton Blogger   |   October 31, 2013   |   Image Gallery »
Emerging Leaders Tackle the World's Great Problems...and Marshmallows

Last week, Swinerton Operations Manager Jason Chupp and Project Manager Andrew Pearl represented the company at Building Design + Construction magazine’s annual Under 40 Leadership Summit in San Francisco. Held as a companion program to the publication’s popular “40 Under 40” awards, the annual event connects emerging industry leaders through networking, discussion, and collaboration.

The summit kicked off with an interactive tour of Autodesk’s virtual design gallery led by Autodesk strategist and TED Talk speaker Tom Wujec. Later, as a visual thinking icebreaker, teams competed in a “Marshmallow Challenge” in which they attempted to build the tallest structure that could support a marshmallow in 18 minutes. Later, attendees were treated to a Q&A session with Arthur Gensler, founder of renowned global architecture firm Gensler, who shared insights on career challenges and the future of the design industry.

This year also marked the inaugural Vision U40 competition, which challenged teams to develop technology-based solutions to economic, social, and cultural problems of the modern world. To stimulate creativity, ideas were assembled visually rather than verbally, with team members brainstorming on post-it notes, then “seeing” connections between related concepts. This exercise proved to be very effective, says Pearl. “In our industry, many times the problems that arise are seemingly overwhelming or cumbersome. These visual thinking techniques identify ways to help illustrate a problem, whether by pictures or words, to help better define it and eventually come up with solutions.” Read about the winning ideas here.

Swinerton looks forward to new connections and more innovative ideas at next year’s summit!

-By Madigan Talmage-Bowers