The joy of designing for happy companies

If you come to a Generate conference then you'll find a packed schedule of talks and workshops that'll provide you with laser-focused advice that you'll be able to incorporate into your workflow as soon as you get back to work; it's a great way to arm yourself for all the future developments that the web has to throw at you.

Whether you want to learn about the latest techniques in animation, frontend development, user experience design or web apps, you'll be able to pick up tips from some of the brightest people in the business.

However, sometimes it's useful to pick up some more general insight on life and work in the web industries; not something that you can really incorporate into your workflow, but something that might provide you with a bit of outside perspective that can help you face whatever challenges you come up against in your working life.

Generate New York - Meg Lewis

Find out why Meg Lewis is the world's happiest person in this brilliant Generate talk

Take, for example, Meg Lewis' recent session at Generate New York, which you can see above. Entitled Designing for happy companies, it's definitely not your usual conference session. In it Meg, who describes herself as the world's happiest person – and who reveals that she has a neurological condition that actually prevents her from feeling some negative emotions that most of us take for granted – shares her hilarious life journey and explains how getting weird and finding a purpose helped her create a design mission.

It's an unconventional and fun talk in which she shares some tips for designing personable products that she's picked up through her career designing for happy companies and even happier users, and even if her design tips don't apply to you, you'll find plenty there to inspire you, even if it's just the video of her dancing while a cat strolls past behind her looking slightly horrified.

You'll find more sessions like this at upcoming Generate conferences. At Generate San Francisco on 15 July, Mike Monteiro will be there with a talk entitled In Praise of Ordinary People. "We want to change the world, yet the world is rarely changed by people who claim to want that," he says. "It's changed by people who are just trying to get home. We want to disrupt, yet we end up disrupting the lives of those who can least afford it. We need to do better." And he promises to explore how we can do this in his talk.

Generate San Francisco - Mike Monteiro

Can you disrupt without disrupting ordinary people's lives?

And at Generate London in September, Mike Kus will encourage you to Be the Black Sheep. It's human nature to follow the crowd, but Mike notes in order to stand out you sometimes need to stand alone. He believes that every client is unique, yet many websites are starting to look the same, and in his talk he will share the secrets of how to extract an organisation's identity, and use it as the inspiration to help you craft truly distinctive web designs.

If you want to give your work a human edge then you won't want to miss these talks; they'll perfectly complement the wealth of more specific sessions on offer at all three upcoming Generates. Find out more at the Generate site.

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Jim McCauley

Jim McCauley is a writer, performer and cat-wrangler who started writing professionally way back in 1995 on PC Format magazine, and has been covering technology-related subjects ever since, whether it's hardware, software or videogames. A chance call in 2005 led to Jim taking charge of Computer Arts' website and developing an interest in the world of graphic design, and eventually led to a move over to the freshly-launched Creative Bloq in 2012. Jim now works as a freelance writer for sites including Creative Bloq, T3 and PetsRadar, specialising in design, technology, wellness and cats, while doing the occasional pantomime and street performance in Bath and designing posters for a local drama group on the side.