A few weeks ago Sid Lee Montreal had its annual Boot Camp. The Dutch Bas Geelen who opened his own industrial design studio Ordo dB last year was one of the chosen ones to attend the Boot Camp – with 7 others out of  600 applicants. The eight boot campers had very different backgrounds; an architect, art director, copywriter, industrial designer, creative technologist, web designer and two graphic designers – all from different parts of the world. The assignment was to help (RED) stimulate people to be more aware of and involved with AIDS – the theme was “Inspi(RED) to Innovate.” After 240 consecutive hours, on May 24th, the Boot Campers presented the fruit of their labour on the main stage of C2-MTL, an international conference on commerce and creativity curated by Sid Lee. After his return to the Netherlands we asked Bas a couple of questions about his Boot Camp experience.

How did you end up being one of the eight boot campers?
I knew Sid Lee since I worked around the corner of their Amsterdam office two years ago. I still visit their website sometimes to see if they have new nice projects, jobs or something else. So during one of these visits I saw that they were organizing a new bootcamp. I applied a few hours before the deadline and got selected. Lucky me!

Looking at the topic you had to work on, was it one that instantly appealed to you personally?
The subject instantly interested me. It was for (RED) a charity organization with a very “commercial” way of working. They have an interesting way off collecting money for their cause by using the existing infrastructure of large companies. This creates a problem: how do you tell your story? So for us there was a clear question.

You were a group of people with very different cultural and professional backgrounds. Did you experience this in the way you worked together?
Yes, it was a very mixed group. But there were no big difficulties or differences. Everyone felt that this had to be done together and we were a strong and close team; everyone was open and honest. So the different backgrounds and professions turned out to be very uplifting and inspirational.

What was the outcome?
The outcome is an animated movie that explains how to stop the HIV transmission from mother to child. It’s a campaign of nine months using the virtual and physical world.

The C2-MTL conference is quite a big business conference. Any ‘lessons learned’ you can share about working under pressure in a professional setting and for a big audience?
Do your thing, your way. And say what you think, don’t hesitate. You should be proud of what you made.

Bas Geelen on the very left.

The one thing you will never forget about the whole experience?
I will never forget all the great and nice people I worked with during these 10 days: the 8 bootcampers, Ruben the chief and the people at Sid Lee.

Anything else that’s worth sharing?
Buy (Red) products!