ESPN’s Rob King Challenges Designers to ‘Create Wonder’

Rob King’s keynote speech proved to be an inspiring send-off for attendees at the 2015 SNDDC workshop in Washington, D.C.

King, the senior vice president of ESPN SportsCenter and news, talked about the network’s recent platform-spanning makeover.

“All of this is built around stuff, machinery, utility,” he said. “And we’re spending a lot of time in our industry talking about what platforms we should be in and what products we should design and what screens we can enliven. And it’s all about making sure that it works for folks. It’s all about usefulness and utility.”

But, all that attention paid to utility and function can take away from what designers and content creators should be focusing on.

“It is also our job to create wonder, to create things that people are passionate about, that they feel,” King said. “There’s a balance. … If all we do is make the fastest site, if all we do is look at the ratings and figure out what should be placed where and shows, if all we do is build is a big beautiful studio, then we are not matching up to what audience expectation really is. There isn’t a product that you can think of that doesn’t have some amazing wonder to it. Otherwise, you’ll just abandon it.”

King called on the younger audience members to produce inspiring things.

“What’s amazing and what’s unusual and what’s new? What can you dare yourself to do?” he asked.