Designmatters Presentation at IDEO “Know How” Series, July 31, 2008

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August 4, 2008

While it was a thrill to connect and spend some time in the company of Tim Brown following his terrific keynote at Serious Play, Art Center’s Design Conference, his invitation to present the Designmatters program at IDEO’s celebrated Thursday “Know How” lectures series, was quite the unexpected gift.

Tom Kelley once characterized the function of these informal talks “as a weekly burst of cross-pollination that keeps the thinking–and the conversations continuously fresh,” among IDEO staff (for a solid read, see Tom Kelley with Jonathan Littman, The Ten Faces of Innovation).

It was wonderful to have the presentation be introduced by Art Center’s own Graduate Media alumna Laura Janisse, a relatively new IDEOer who participated in the Designmatters GE Healthcare Aging project just before graduation in December 2007.

Following a brief introduction by President Koshalek, and the eloquent overview of the early days of the program’s founding by Erica Clark, I had the privilege to offer a “deep-dive” into the program, highlighting the work of our students and faculty over the past seven years. I am hoping the session may have done justice to the series’ mandate, and may have triggered a “shared buzz” amongst this amazingly talented pool of thinkers and designers.

I am grateful to Tim Brown, David Kelley, and the Social Impact team at IDEO for this wonderful platform. And I am deeply inspired by our exchanges in the Palo Alto campus where everywhere you look–there are reminders of this great firm’s genius for innovating–by always seeking the human touch. As Tom Kelley points out, it is about finding windows of opportunities to design artifacts, interfaces and systems that can “soften the sharp corners of the world, to offer a hand to help people along.”

May this “Know How” conversation be one that endures!