The headline tech conference of the Forward Festival, the Forward Technology Conference (FTC) is geared toward startup founders, tech geeks, and those wanting to build successful technology companies. Whether you’re thinking about launching a startup business or you’re an experienced entrepreneur, you’ll find this conference relevant and insightful.

Sign up or log in to bookmark your favorites and sync them to your phone or calendar.

Design Thinking [clear filter]
Tuesday, August 21


Design Thinking
avatar for Sherry Eckholm

Sherry Eckholm

American Family Insurance
Sherry Eckholm joined Innovation as a Business Design Expert within Innovation. She brings to the team 20+ years of product design and design strategy, design thinking, thought leadership and project management expertise from the consultancy side of innovation. Sherry has an insatiable... Read More →
avatar for Michael Gardon

Michael Gardon

American Family Insurance
Michael Gardon is a seasoned entrepreneur and consultant with broad experience in derivatives trading, semiconductor intellectual property, and internet startups. Before joining the Innovation team, he helped build Soda.com, an early stage internet marketing firm based in Seattle. As part of the founding leadership team, he helped grow revenue from $0 to over $1M per month in two years.  Michael holds a BS from The University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MBA from DePaul University in Chicago. Outside of the office, Mike enjoys... Read More →
avatar for Dan Sarbaker

Dan Sarbaker

American Family Insurance
Dan Sarbacker brings over fifteen years of experience practicing human-centered design to American Family Insurance. After receiving his undergraduate degree in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis, Dan spent the first part of his career focused on the built environment... Read More →

Tuesday August 21, 2018 10:15am - 11:15am
State Room (4th Floor)


Play is the Thing
As humans, play is one of the first ways we connect with others and our environment. Play promotes free thinking, imagination, confidence, bonding, and persistence in kids so why do we stop as adults? Learn through the lens of one woman’s journey from drama major to executive technology leader how letting play lead the way can have a powerful impact on your career and your life.

avatar for Jennifer Javornik

Jennifer Javornik

Technology Growth Executive, Filament Games
Jennifer Javornik is a technology growth executive who specializes in new business development, partnership management, revenue growth, and entrepreneurship. She is a founding member of the Wisconsin Games Alliance, an affiliation of video game studios and stakeholders focused on... Read More →

Tuesday August 21, 2018 11:30am - 12:00pm
Old Madison (3rd Floor)


UX Meets MBA: What Happens When a Designer Goes to Business School
If great design can imbue customers with trust, why are designers so removed from product management and the larger business strategy? As a VP of UX with an MBA, I strive to bring both worlds together to create a new model in which user experience and design align with overall business strategy and company vision to drive increased revenue and customer engagement.

avatar for McLean Donnelly

McLean Donnelly

Design Executive, The Makery
Prior to founding The Makery Group, McLean Donnelly was the Vice President of Product Design for Shutterstock. Previously, he worked as a design leader for Expedia and CaringBridge. He earned an Masters of Business Administration from the Opus School of Business and a Bachelors of... Read More →

Tuesday August 21, 2018 1:00pm - 1:30pm
Old Madison (3rd Floor)


See the Change
I want to SHOW you how scribing, visualizing ideas through drawing, graphic recording, whiteboard animation and other methods, helps organizations see the paths they are taking to change the way their audience, employees, community thinks and behaves. We spend a lot of our time communicating through audio and text, and using only 1/6 of our potential for generating new ideas, capturing elusive moments of clarity, and presenting salient and retainable messages that bring about real change.

avatar for Eric Herkert-Oakland

Eric Herkert-Oakland

Chief Innovation Officer, Squigl
In 2011, after 4 years working for myself as a Brand and Design consultant, I started TruScribe, the first Whiteboard Video Production Company in the US to serve Fortune 100 companies, right here in Fitchburg, WI. TruScribe became one of the most recognized names and styles of whiteboard... Read More →

Tuesday August 21, 2018 1:45pm - 2:30pm
Reception Room (4th Floor)


Think Like Your Customers: How to reach underserved markets
Using design thinking principles, we would create a strategy to reach underserved or often ignored consumer markets. The presentation would cover basics of design thinking and propose a challenge to solve. Then, we'd break into teams and run a design thinking workshop or "power hour".

avatar for Amanda Schulze

Amanda Schulze

Founder, Lithia Effect, LLC
Born and raised in Oregon, Amanda moved to Madison, Wisconsin in 2008 to work for a major bicycle company. Over the next eight years, she discovered her love of researching customer needs, building communities, connecting with people, and solving problems by focusing on the human... Read More →

Tuesday August 21, 2018 3:30pm - 4:30pm
State Room (4th Floor)