Van der Meulen
Principal Designer
Foolproof, Singapore
Mario Van der Meulen believes that people ignore design that ignores people. He is a creative who’s able to see what others are saying. A versatile, ambidextrous designer who can think strategically and execute tactically.

Formerly as creative director at Frog, currently as a Principal Designer at Foolproof, he discovers, designs and delivers experience design principles. He gives a voice to the end-user, meaning to the solution, and value to the design thinking. Mario understands how people, ideas and brands work, and more importantly, how they work together. His purpose is to uncover, assemble and advance ideas, rooted in insights and research, to solve today’s most complex business/communication/brand challenges. In 2010, Mario was recognised as “One of Fifty Innovation Design Pioneers in China” by CBS Weekly. In 2018, one of his Foolproof projects received the 2018 IDC Smart City Asia Pacific Awards (SCAPA).

3 hrs Workshop (Half Day hands on)

Targeted to ELITE – Expert

Track 3: Design Systems, Research, Methods, and Processes

Cross-Facilitating Innovative Ideas

Ideation matters. That seems obvious, however we often witness – or find ourselves in – good teams producing mediocre products. We have talented, knowledgeable, smart people but still end up with mediocrity. Why? Ideation shouldn’t be kept reserved to only product or design people. That’s against the idea of Ideation. Without a doubt, we take idea generation for granted. We all know that “let’s have a brainstorming session” rarely works but we are still hesitant to going beyond that. Truth is that in order to be creative, and consider truly new ideas, we need structure and a few counterintuitive habits.

Good ideation is the fun part of design. It is the part which shouldn’t feel like work at all. However, successful design and development requires more than good ideas. It requires principles, and a framework to optimise everyone’s unique sense of imagination and creativity. In Cross-facilitating Innovative Ideas, you will learn how to do this.

Track 3: Design Systems, Research, Methods, and Processes

Three key takeaways

1) If you feel like you never have enough or good ideas…
2) If you feel you are not creative enough to have innovative ideas…
3) If you want to learn how to ideate under seemingly unreasonable constraints, with different people…
…then this workshop is for you!

Rough outline of the workshop


First hour:
Introduction from facilitator
Ice breaker – you super hero pose
High emotional – low emotional and the four outcomes How to build a shared understanding

Second hour:
Team formation
Random object selection
Listing Assumptions, selecting one scenario/journey Sharing of the selected journey
New creative brief for all teams

Third hour:
Practicing the conversation model, and the emotional outcomes Ideating towards the new creative brief
Prototyping the idea
Teams present their idea/possibility
One word check out.

30 min Case study

Targeted to ELITE – Expert
Track 2: Design Leadership & Influence

Counterintuitivity – making meaningful UX

Experience design is a lazy industry word. How about designing more meaningfully? Design that goes deeper than disruption, instead of ignored by designing with predictability. Experience design shouldn’t only be done under the tyranny of profit and efficiency. This means our industry needs to be able to question the meaning of it all, become more than practice oriented, and use different methodologies to see our practice co-evolve with these new evolving ecosystems.

Creative leadership has emerged as one of the most important approaches for understanding people and influencing the effectiveness of what we set out to design.

Yet it is often unclear exactly how leaders may influence perceptions of work for their colleagues, clients and stakeholders. Consequently, in this talk, Mario Van der Meulen presents counterintuitive behavioural principles leaders may use to enact positive change in the creation of human-centric design. Those that can pioneer these new ways to propose more meaningful possibilities will have warranted the reputation of being true human centred design practitioners.

Track 2: Design Leadership & Influence

Three key takeaways


  1. New ways seeing, thinking, understanding, and acting, to intentionally embrace the richness of possibilities.
  2. Forming a design culture that can act as a catalyst for meaningful design action.
  3. Facilitating more meaningful experiences for UX practitioners and clients, stakeholders and peers.
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