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The Power of Staying a Beginner

By Sarmishta Pantham

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Session type

Deep Dive Talk


Fri, 04 Nov 2022


Main stage

About this session

We were fresh out of design school once upon a time. As soon as we were out, freshly minted, we sprinted from the status as far away as humanly possible– charging through time and space, putting in the hours, collecting experience, filling up the CV and climbing the proverbial ladder, assuming the rungs kept going one way or another. And that was until the last two years, when suddenly, we were faced with giant slithery snakes thrown at those ladders– surviving, burning out, reevaluating…boy, has it been a ride.

Standing at the start of a new path is powerful. It makes no promises and it is very likely going to be messy, but it is powerful. And returning to stand there again and again and again is even more powerful. There’s no greater teacher than the curiosity-filled, optimism-pumped state of being a beginner to humble even the greatest expert, while holding the hand of the most insecure learner.

Sarmishta will share how she stumbled upon unexpected inspiration for seeing the process of starting fresh as a continuum, how we might lean on it to navigate work in times of great change – and reshape our approach to work.

About Sarmishta

Sarmishta Pantham

Sarmishta Pantham

User Experience Designer & Creative Director at

Sarmishta is a user experience designer, creative director and consultant collaborating with companies to uncover strategic opportunities and shape them into purposeful experiences for customers and teams alike. Over the last 18 years, she has worked in India, Germany and the United States, her work running the gamut from trend research and brand strategy to designing and helping others design for a host of digital products like Levi’s, eBay and Blinkist.

Backed with multidisciplinary experience, Sarmishta’s work bridges purpose, culture and experience, seeking whatever object, environment, or experience most effectively and appropriately addresses the audience.

Alongside her practice, Sarmishta runs a parallel design practice of interdisciplinary experiments through writing, photography and community– including her pop-up dinner series serving up traditional Indian delicacies, Indian Standard Time.