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Leo Burnett Business
300 Park Avenue South
New York, New York 10010
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Lisa Abbatiello

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The Amsterdam Experience

A four-day crash course on core concepts and methods in Experience Strategy, Design Research, Interaction Design and Service Design in Amsterdam.

I recently traveled to Amsterdam for a four-day crash course on core concepts and methods in Experience Strategy, Design Research, Interaction Design and Service Design. The UX Intensive workshop was hosted by Adaptive Path, a San Francisco-based design firm focused on user experience - and what an experience it was!

The event was held at the largest and oldest remaining hidden church in The Netherlands. Yeah, crazy! There were about 70 interaction designers, strategists and research professionals from various industries all over the globe and each day we completed multiple exercises in groups of six (think copious amounts of sticky notes and more accents than a Garmin). By the end of day four my brain hurt, but was full of valuable concepts and useful tools to bring back to my team and incorporate into my Content Strategy work at Leo Burnett/Arc Chicago.

While I was out that way, I popped into the Leo Burnett/Arc and Saatchi & Saatchi office located in the port of Amsterdam. Both Leo Burnett and Saatchi & Saatchi combined in 2010 to form a partnership in The Netherlands. I met with Digital Director, Wesley Bos, and he graciously showed me around the chic office space. There are about 35 employees and they mostly speak Dutch in the office, but many Dutch also speak better English than some Americans (e.g. totes jeals of your adorbs apt). So, overall it was very easy to communicate with the fine folks in Amsterdam.

Wesley also shared some of the digital work the agency recently created, including the Samsung Smart TV Challenge. The project was an interactive quiz that appeared on Europe's largest outdoor screen in Rembrandt Square the day before Christmas 2011. Participants emerged themselves into a real-time battle by answering questions on their mobile phones. After one day and six rounds, six Samsung Smart TVs were given away to the winners. The event created much buzz with ample media coverage and social media reach.

To say this trip was awesome is an understatement. I gained a wealth of knowledge that I can apply to my job, checked out how the Dutch do it - LB style, made many new friends from all parts of the world and got to experience one of the coolest, most beautiful cities in all the land.