Inspirational conversations with creators and experts from the creative industry about architecture, art, design, entrepreneurship, fashion, film, music, and pop culture.
“It's all about storytelling. You have to know what makes the beats of a story arc work”
Jon S. Baird
From BBC Television to Hollywood Movie Director, Golden Globe nominee and BAFTA award winner, collaborations with Martin Scorsese, Danny Boyle, Jim Carrey, Mick Jagger and a host of award winning actors, to being one of Britain's most exciting directorial talents.
“The better you do your job, the more invisible you as a designer become”
Professor Malcolm Garrett MBE RDI is a graphic designer who has mastered the art and science of creativity, as evidenced by a diverse portfolio that spans four decades creating landmark designs for musicians and bands, including Buzzcocks, Duran Duran, Simple Minds, Boy George, Peter Gabriel, Oasis, and Pulp, and done numerous innovative digital projects with Apple, Virgin, Warner Brothers, Transport for London, Design Manchester, and many more.
“It’s never good to try to mimic or manufacture a style, because it needs to be authentic and develop naturally”
Anita Kunz has created iconic art that has been internationally shown and published for four decades. She is famous for her covers for the New Yorker, Time Magazine, Rolling Stone, the New York Times Magazine, and many others. Her work has appeared in numerous galleries and museums, and she has won many awards for it.
“The purpose of the creative arts is to provide the necessary service to humanity to be entertained”
From Carnegie Mellon University, to working on multiple events for film, television, and comedy specials, Alana Clapp is the General Stage Manager for Mystère at Cirque du Soleil, invoking the imagination, provoking the senses, and evoking people's emotions by facilitating communication across all creative and technical aspects of the performance.
“The harder you work the luckier you get”
From Virgin to Rough Trade, PIAS and Grand Royal Records, then Trust Management by guiding the careers of hundreds of revered artists that have influenced popular culture - The Beastie Boys to Johnny Marr, Ash, We Are Scientists, Dexys and Baxter Dury. Working with artists who received Ivor Novello Awards, Oscar nominations and NME Godlike Genius Awards. Mentoring the next generation of artists, producers and entrepreneurs at the Academy of Contemporary Music.
“Commit and keep going because everyone is going to tell you why you can't do it”
Culture catalyst, music industry entrepreneur, record label owner, and artist manager Alan McGee founded Creation Records in 1983. He nurtured and brought to the masses multiple influential artists who inspired a generation - The Jesus and Mary Chain to Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine, and Oasis.
“It's the power of being the outsider; looking left when others are looking right”
Design pioneer Clive Grinyer is an acknowledged expert in service design, design thinking, digital and technology innovation, and customer experience. He has led award-winning design teams for companies worldwide, including IDEO, and founded the consultancy Tangerine with Apple design chief Sir Jony Ive. He is a trustee of the Royal Society of Arts, a visiting professor at the Glasgow School of Art, and head of the pioneering service design program at the Royal College of Art in London.
“Having a moral grounding as an entrepreneur provides you with an unlimited source for motivation”
Whilst studying for his degree at the Academy of Contemporary Music, Jonathan envisioned and brought to life an innovative venture by reimagining the sustainability and reusability challenges of the fashion industry in an ethical and respectful way.
“Be open, determined, and willing to really push yourself and explore who you are as a person”
Growing up within a Roma Gypsy community in the North East of England fueled Cherry Valentine's creative instincts, a bias for adventure, and freedom for expression, to emerge as an influential voice in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community by combining life experience, curiosity, comedy, and satire into performance art.
“Bring to the table a sensibility of co-design and co-creativity, which understands all the relational issues which climate throws up”
Climate and Creative Practice
Jeremy Till is an architect, educator, and writer. As an architect, he worked with Sarah Wigglesworth Architects on their pioneering building, 9 Stock Orchard Street. As an educator, Till is Head of Central Saint Martins and Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Arts London. As a writer, Till's extensive work includes Flexible Housing, Architecture Depends, and Spatial Agency, all three of which won the RIBA President's Award for Research. He curated the UK Pavilion at the 2006 Venice Architecture Biennale and the 2013 Shenzhen Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism.
“Know your craft, always come prepared, and bring your own unique perspective to the character”
Actor Cathy Murphy, who has gone from being a student at the Sylvia Young Theatre School to Allan Clarke's Made in Britain, Stars of the Roller Skate Disco, Doctor Who, EastEnders, Holby City, Family Affairs, The Phantom of the Opera, Shameless, Extras, About A Boy, Misery, Two Woman, Once A Catholic and many more.
“Resilience, grit, and stubbornness are the secret sauce to keep going”
Bankrupt at 16. Thrown out of college at 18. Joined Saatchi and Saatchi at 21. Had a ball. Left advertising to go back to Wales. Started Howies in 1995. Sold it to Timberland. Left. Started The Do Lectures, which was voted one of the top 10 ideas festivals globally by the Guardian. And in 2012 started a company making jeans called The Hiut Denim Co in his hometown of Cardigan. A town that used to have Britain’s biggest jeans factory. Its purpose is to get 400 people their jobs back. As of today, it now employs 24 people.
“Think of yourself as an artist, first and foremost. Do what you do from an authentic place within yourself”
From forming the Human League, Heaven 17, and British Electric Foundation to record producer, entrepreneur, educator, and activist Martyn Ware is a musical pioneer who has featured on recordings totaling over 50 million sales worldwide across a career than spans four decades.
Ghulam Rasool is a design leader responsible for growing design enablement at Ford, navigating toward an electric, autonomous, and connected vehicle future that benefits society with improved safety, less pollution, freeing up time, and customized services and experiences enabled by intelligent technologies.
“Communication is the most critical skill for a product designer - listening to what people say and what they dont”
“Fight for the art against the tensions that counter it”
From Johnny Marr's Art Director to being part of the curation team that organized and realized True Faith - an exhibition of the artistic legacy and influence of Joy Division and New Order exhibit at the Manchester Art Gallery and Manchester International Festival in 2017. Spearheaded various pop culture archives including the archives of Factory Records, Tony Wilson and Rob Gretton, and his current work on Derek Jarman’s archive for Art Fund UK.
“A positive mind makes better decisions”
From high profile commercials and films to being Johnny Marr's co-producer. Melanie Isaac, Priya Panda and Benjamin Schoos' co-writer and producer. Mixing music for multiple up and coming bands, to being an acclaimed independent artist.
“You need to engage with the whole product development process. To be a dedicated fashion designer, you really want to know why and how things are made”
Professor José Teunissen is Dean of the School of Design and Technology at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London (UAL), and Professor of Fashion Theory. Established the Centre of Expertise Future Makers, dedicated to digital innovation and sustainable solutions for the Fashion discipline. A board member of the Dutch Creative Industries Council, International Federation of Fashion Technology Institutes (IFFTI), International Apparel Federation (IAF), Sonsbeek State of Fashion, and Fashion for Good.
“Having an opportunity to create ideas, concepts, and scenarios that don't actually exist still fascinates me to this day”
Product Design Engineering
Craig Whittet is the Head of the Department for Product Design Engineering, a collaborative program taught at the Glasgow School of Art and the University of Glasgow. He educates, coaches, and mentors the next generation of product design engineers by applying technology to improve the quality of life. This is achieved through design, engineering, and commerce to make products related to human usage, behavior, and appeal.
“Be aware of your own habits, what interests you and what doesn't, be honest about that, and how they relate to a larger audience”
From mainstreaming metrosexuals as a columnist at the late lamented, details magazine, to developing the illusion of reality, as part of the creative team of The Real Housewives franchise, to pioneering content at Polo, Ralph Lauren, and the maker movement as the Managing Director of the iconic This Old House. Scott Omelianuk, now the Editor in Chief of Inc and Inc.com, has built a reputation for defining the culture and using it to the advantage of clients and the benefit of consumers.
“The purpose of a photography assignment is to capture the essence of the subject and make it memorable”
Brian Smale has photographed some of the world's leading businessmen and women, scientists, inventors, and politicians. He has had assignments for magazines such as Fortune, BusinessWeek, Forbes, Fast Company, Esquire, GQ, Rolling Stone, and Spin. His commercial clients include Microsoft, Panasonic, Boeing, Fuji, and Seattle Children's Hospital.
“Reboot your mind to being in an uninterrupted starting place with a fresh perspective”
From building brands in Brazil and the USA, Leticia Pettená has dedicated herself to changing behavior for the better by influencing corporate cultures and societies through strategic focus, creative thinking, and technology innovation, helping the likes of Itaú, Natura, IBM, Nestlé, Rise Ventures, Beleaf, Verde Asset Management, and Beautybox to reimagine their brands.
“Everything begins with real research to frame the problem and understand the context”
Thais Fonseca leads the brand strategy practice at the Brazilian-based creative agency Marcus com SAL. She specializes in turning strategic thinking and creativity into brand love – brought to life across a diverse Brazilian client portfolio, including Grupo Boticário, Beleaf, Beautybox, and Itaú.
“By exploring the methodologies of other designers, you find out how you would fit in and the way you want to work”
Graphic Design & Typography
John Rooney is a Senior Teaching Fellow in Graphic Design and Visual Communication at the University of Leeds. John has run his own design consultancy that included a 12-year creative commission with Tate Gallery Liverpool. He worked with the curators to produce award-winning art books, exhibition newsletters, international gallery and artist advertising campaigns, web design work, and motion graphic projects.
“It's all of these many different forms of adaptation, both big and small, that contribute to what our culture understands as a given work of art”
Kate Newell is Dean of the School of Liberal Arts at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Her research includes adaptation and intersections of literature and visual culture. She is the author of Expanding Adaptation Networks: From Illustration to Novelization.
“You have to keep your ego in check because you've got to be able to throw things away that you may think are great”
After immersing himself in Shakespeare's language and craft at graduate school in Stratford-upon-Avon, Simon Leake joined Amazon.com in its second year of operation. He was part of the team that built the company's customer service messaging. He then joined their editorial department to create content for the books and DVD divisions. After that, he became a freelance copywriter, creating video scripts for a wide variety of clients, including Microsoft, Nordstrom, HP, the World Bank, and the Gates Foundation.
“Applying creativity to positively impact society by being inclusive and socially responsible and by putting ethics at the center of the creative intent and of what businesses stand for”
Fiorenza Plinio is the Head of Creative Excellence at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, where she nurtures creativity across all the company's products and services and creates continuous innovation and engagement with the global creative community and organizations, building programs that bring to life the highest levels of creativity at the largest gathering of the advertising and creative communications industry and beyond.
“Make the emotional and human connection first and foremost”
Product innovator Gary Burt has guided the success of multiple breakthrough products and services at technology companies: Microsoft, O2, Siemens, Atos, and Blue Prism. He has set the strategy, roadmap, and feature definition to maximize business value by being deeply committed and continuously honing his craft through quality execution and completeness of the entire product life cycle with a focus on the design-based, human-centered approach.
“I try to find the paradox or contradiction that will inform the design intent”
Maggie Hendrie is an interaction designer and founding chair of Art Center College of Design's Bachelor of Science in Interaction Design, and chairs their Graduate Media Design Practices MFA.
“The key is to find the creative trigger and just start!”
Independent musician Iwan Gronow, the bassist in Johnny Marr's band, has toured the world and played at festivals including Glastonbury, Coachella, and Fuji Rock, and appeared on Later with Jools Holland and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
“The beauty of entrepreneurship is creating something that's never existed in the world before”
Rand Fishkin is cofounder and CEO of audience research software startup, SparkToro. He’s dedicated his professional life to helping people do better marketing through his writing, videos, speaking, and his book, Lost and Founder. Author of Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World, co-contributed to two books: Art of SEO and Inbound Marketing & SEO.
“Criticality is absolutely essential to a creative process”
Professor Cameron Tonkinwise is an international expert in design studies and transition design and the Research Director of the Design Innovation Research Centre at UTS. He writes and speaks extensively on the power of design to drive systems-level change to achieve more sustainable and equitable futures. Cameron has long advocated for Design Studies and their importance in ensuring the social responsibility of design professionals.
“As a toy designer, you're actually a designer of all different disciplines”
Darren Lee Phillipson
Toy and Product
Darren Lee Phillipson is a multi-award-winning Consumer Products, Licensing, and Entertainment innovator, and owner of design_lead_play_, spending the last 25 years leading some of the world's most influential toy and licensing companies: Disney, Lucasfilm, Dreamworks, Fisher-Price, and Alpha Group. Creating and bringing to fruition some of the most iconic properties, including Star Wars, Toy Story, Cars, Dora the Explorer, Kung Fu Panda, and Sesame Street.
“You learn more from your mistakes than successes”
Whilst travelling through America and stumbling upon Hollywood, taken aback and moved by the endless possibilities, it led him down the path he has since excelled in - creating inspired content for delivery over a global platform with thousands of clients from the rainforests of Madagascar to the streets of Mumbai, where his work has been viewed by over a billion people.
“Nobody cares about the quality of the drawings you're going to make - what people care about is the clarity they bring to the table”
Dan Roam is the author of five internationally bestselling books on business visualization and communication clarity, including; The Pop-Up Pitch, The Back Of The Napkin, and Draw To Win. His purpose in life is to make complex things clear by drawing them and to help others do the same. He has helped leaders at Google, Microsoft, Boeing, Gap, IBM, the US Navy, the United States Senate, and the White House solve complex problems with simple pictures. His whiteboard has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, and NPR.
“If you don't have curiosity, you're going to get bored fast”
Sam Ladner is a sociologist who helps teams innovate, design, and learn. She is the author of Practical Ethnography: A Guide to Doing Ethnography in The Private Sector and Mixed Methods: A Short Guide to Applied Mixed Methods Research. Sam has worked on many advanced software projects, including Alexa, the Echo Look, Windows 10, Microsoft Office 2016, Cortana, and HoloLens. She currently works at Workday, an enterprise software company, as a Senior Principal Researcher studying the future of work. She received her Ph.D. in sociology from York University in Toronto.
“AI research is too focused on what people do and to try and replicate it, rather than doing what people can't”
Richard Harper is the author of 14 books, published over 200 scientific and has 27 patents. His research looks at how people engage with each other through technology and the implications for engineering and concepts of the individual in the digital age. He is Director of the Institute of Social Futures at Lancaster University, which coheres humanities and social science research with natural and physical sciences and engineering. He is a Fellow of the IET, the Royal Society of Arts, and ACM Fellow. The bulk of his career has been spent in commercial research at Xerox and Microsoft.
“You've got to be thinking about what you're doing for a circular economy”
Alicia Samuel is the Senior Vice President of Information Technology at Holt Renfrew, considered Canada's fashion and lifestyle retailer. Alicia has over 25 years of experience in technology leadership and innovation expertise by connecting people, processes, and technologies to deliver outcomes that support the goals of businesses at several Canadian Retailers and during her time in technology consulting, evangelism, and business development at Microsoft and IBM.
“Design is the art of making things tangible”
Bill Burnett is Co-Author of the New York Times best-seller Designing Your Life, and Co-Director of the Life Design Lab at Stanford University. A designer, educator, and Adjunct Professor at Stanford University. He is also the Executive Director of the Design Program, where he manages the undergraduate and graduate degree-granting programs and advises 70 -100 students annually. Bill holds multiple mechanical and design patents and design awards for various products, including the first “slate” computer. He is a Board member of VOZ, a socially responsible high fashion startup, and advises several internet startup companies.
“Creativity is important because it helps you figure out what's an important question, and why it is important”
Dr Mathew Isaac
Research as a
Dr Mat Isaac is a Professor of Marketing at the Albers School of Business and Economics at Seattle University. His research focuses primarily on consumer judgment and decision-making, examining how contextual and motivational factors influence product evaluations and purchase intentions. His work has been published in a number of leading scientific journals and has been widely featured in business and popular press, including Harvard Business Review, Time, Forbes, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Men's Health, Women's Health, and Fast Company.
“A culture of thinking, learning, and doing is instilled within values and behaviors, and it starts from the top and let it bleed and flow from there”
Dave Gartenberg has been at the forefront of the human resources profession for over 30 years, from economic analyst and teaching fellow to various executive HR leaderships (including Chief People Officer) at companies like Microsoft, Avanade, and Slalom. He has captained all aspects of human resource management, industrial relations policies, practices, and operations.
“I do it because I have the inclination to, and work out why after”
Founder and CEO of Unknown Origins, a creative design studio on a mission to save the world from unoriginality by unleashing the power of creativity. Author of "Creativity Without Frontiers: How to make the invisible visible by lighting the way into the future." Curator of the community-driven storytelling platform that provides everyone access to insights and content from creators worldwide.