Big Ideas Shared at Annual Symposium

The ASLA Oregon Chapter hosted its annual educational symposium on Saturday April 6, 2019 at the Oregon Zoo. Over 120 participants listened and participated in presentations and discussions about big ideas – where they come from, how they grow and evolve, and how they take shape and are built.

Jelly Helm of Studio Helm kicked off the symposium with a deep dive into the creative process of developing ideas that connect with not only the intended audience but represent the heart and soul of client. Patricia Algara followed with a presentation about the importance of pollinators that created a real buzz of excitement and shared concern among listeners about the risks to our ecosystem caused by the worldwide decline of pollinating insects, especially bees.

Keynote speaker Claude Cormier shared his love of creativity and imagination that takes shape with his firm’s projects in Canada and the US. Claude shared some of his secrets to successful implementation of big ideas – and that was to listen first, and then build agreement with clients that the reward of a successful project is gained by agreeing to take risks together, working out the details as the project progresses. Anne Godfrey’s was the last featured presentation. Sharing her research and application of photography, symposium participants learned that pictures can be much more than a selfie from your phone – pictures can be a powerful tool in the revelation of a big idea, a key part of the analytical process in developing the framework that support big ideas for landscape architecture.

A panel discussion moderated by Landscape Architecture Magazine Editor Brad McKee capped the day, bringing Jelly, Patricia, Claude and Anne back to the stage to discuss and share their thoughts on the themes of the day. Symposium participants were encouraged to participate in the discussion, and asked the panelists about how to recognize a big idea from a long list of initial ideas, how big ideas are most effectively messaged and communicated, and how big ideas can survive the complications of controversial approval processes.

Meeting attendees earned 6 Professional Development Hours for attending the full day conference. Feedback from comment forms was overwhelmingly positive, and ALSA Oregon looks forward to another successful Symposium in 2020!