Canvas Conference 2016 - The Full Talks.

Article by

Kath Preston
Marketing Lead

Kath Preston

Kath Preston

Marketing Lead

On 20th October 2016, over 300 product people filled the Library of Birmingham for our fifth edition of Canvas Conference. All 11 of our speakers promised to share their insider stories, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. We’re thrilled to be able to share those talks with you, in full.

If you came; thanks for your support and we hope you got as much from the day as we did. If you didn’t manage to this time - enjoy the talks and please tell us if you’re interested in next year and we’ll make sure you’re on the early bird notification list.

Thoughts on Experimentation

The first session of the day was all about the scientific approach that Netflix and Skyscanner have adopted and how this affects their product development process, with a real emphasis on the benefits of running small experiments. Navin shared his three rules for running effective tests based on his experiences at Netflix, and Hilary focused on how Skyscanner have adapted the Lean Startup methodology to work at scale.

Navin Iyengar, Product Design Lead at Netflix

“The Art of Experimentation: Using A/B Testing to Inform Design”


Hilary Roberts, Senior Product Manager at Skyscanner

“Science and Sensibility: Thoughts on Experimentation and Growth”


(Excuse the slight fuzziness on an otherwise brilliant talk from Hilary!)

The way we work

After the morning break, we shifted topic to how product teams can work together, and within the organisations they’re part of, more effectively. Jane (Moo) focused on some strategies for better decision-making, and Tessa’s (FutureLearn) message was that if building a great team is the problem, then technology is not the answer. Dariusz (Spotify) showed us how product discovery happens at Spotify; more specifically, how they use their internal DIBBs model (Data, Insights, Beliefs & Bets) across the whole team to bring new ideas to light.

Jane Austin, Design and UX Director at Moo

“Decisions, Decisions”


Dariusz Dziuk, Product Manager at Spotify

“Discovering Products at Spotify”


Tessa Cooper, Product Manager at FutureLearn

“If building great teams is the problem, technology is not the answer”


Empathy and giving

Waking us all up after lunch (and doing an excellent job), Merci’s talk covered a range of topic related to onboarding and the new user experience at Slack; it’s all about having a beginner’s mindset, and ‘tactical empathy’ with your users. She was followed by Mike’s story on how JustGiving have been using data science to understand how and why people give to causes they care about.

Merci Victoria Grace, Head of Growth Products at Slack

“Constantly Beginning”


Mike Bugembe, Chief Analytics Officer at JustGiving

“Getting Big Data to work (when you are not Facebook, Google or Amazon)”


Uncertainty is a great thing

The speakers in our final session all touched on the concept of uncertainty in some way. Brian shared with us some of the messiness behind the scenes at Intercom (and why that’s a good thing), while Charlotte talked about how building the research team from scratch at Deliveroo has been an answer to some of that uncertainty; but ultimately how much more there is to know. Our final talk was about uncertainty of a different kind - how do we design for a largely unknown user experience, in this case, Virtual Reality. Christophe and Brian, both part of the VR team at Facebook, shared some fascinating challenges they face when designing for a new medium.

Brian Donohue, Senior Product Manager at Intercom

“If things aren’t messy, it’s time to worry”


Charlotte Clancy, User Research Lead at Deliveroo

“Finding the Balance: How we Prioritise Research at Deliveroo”


Christophe Tauziet and Brian Perone, Product Design & User Research at Facebook VR

“Designing for VR”


We’ve got write-ups of the lessons from each talk, as well as interviews with each of the speakers - all coming soon.