ASU, Tonalea, Scottsdale Arts Collaboration

This has been a thrilling project to be a part of. My favorite is seeing all these kids get excited about design!
Read the full article here.

“Cumulus” is a collaboration between 120 students from Tonalea School in Scottsdale and 44 students in The Design School in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. The 10 graduate students in interior architecture and 34 undergraduate students in industrial design visited the children several times this semester. The middle schoolers did activities like coloring in drawings of rain drops, writing their thoughts about water and making paper crowns.

Then the ASU students drew inspiration from the kids’ work as they created the installation, which will debut Nov. 9. Designed to be interactive, the piece will have benches to sit on and parts will light up when people walk by.

Tour & Ideation Workshop


KU’s IDSA Student Chapter came to Hallmark for a tour and ideation activity in conjunction with the kickoff of KC Design Week.

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We showed them around to see what corporate life is like, but also to highlight the unicorns of Hallmark. With hundreds of artists on site it is fun to walk around the studios seeing work on progress.

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Another favorite stop of mine is the Time Machine


To finish the day out we rolled up our sleeves to brainstorm and prototype some concepts for Christmas 2018 product line. I look forward to seeing the floating Christmas tree in stores soon.




It was energizing having the students on campus. I look forward to working with them more in the future. We actually have project starting with the Junior Studio next week. So I will get to see a lot more of those students.

Clever Packaging

While shopping in the Hallmark Gold Crown store near headquarters, I found this little gem. The product did not intrigue me as much as the packaging. Vinyl bag sealed with air inside allowing the product inside to be protected and bounce around.


Fun ride. Reminds me of Zorbing.


Giant hamster balls for humans. I wonder what other packing ideas taking a ride in one of these things would inspire.

IBM’s Take on Design Thinking

Ah… a company with an engineering laden past throwing down some Design Thinking. Feels good, because I work in a group lead by and dominated by engineers. Refreshing to see a similar company committing resources to internalize this approach.

At the center of their approach is a behavior model they call The Loop:

IBM the loop

Check out more of their thoughts on the approach here: IBM Design Thinking

Article: Design Thinking Coming of Age

Refreshing perspective on Design Thinking… where it is and where it is going within companies.

“Diagrams such as customer journey maps explore the problem space, prototypes explore the solution space”

Design-centric cultures

Emotional value propositions –
“An emotional value proposition is a promise of feeling: If you buy a Lexus, the automaker promises that you will feel pampered, luxurious, and affluent. In design-centric organizations, emotionally charged language isn’t denigrated as thin, silly, or biased. Strategic conversations in those companies frequently address how a business decision or a market trajectory will positively influence users’ experiences and often acknowledge only implicitly that well-designed offerings contribute to financial success.”

CX – Customer Experience Framework

Call it what you will, but I believe in this holistic approach. Better is always better than just being different.


Inspire Motivated Talent

I like and agree with this thought…
(not sure of the source… just found on linkedin feed)

Innovation Confusion Explained

Presenting a refreshed framework for approaching innovation, Patrick Whitney states:

“Innovation is often confused with new technological capability, but we now know that business models and understanding people’s needs are equally important. The problem is the people in each of these areas operate with competing conceptual frameworks and approaches that prevent adequate understanding each other. Progress in one area is neutralized by confusion and lack of stakeholder alignment.”

He called his approach a Whole View framework. From my experience. I agree completely with his observation and somewhat with his approach to resolving. Thanks for always sharing wise words.

Check out a whole presentation about the subject…

Ideation with Kids


This great article was shared with me. It has some very practical tips on ideating with kids, by making just a few tweaks to typical ideation methods.

Schedule lots of breaks.
Whereas I recommend a break every two hours for adults, you need a break every hour for 8-11 year olds and every 90 minutes for 12-18 year olds.

Help keep them stay still.
I know this sounds silly, but kids will swing around in chairs and can’t sit still, especially boys. You’ll avoid that distraction with chairs that don’t spin or have wheels. Ideally, have lower chairs where kids’ feet can touch the ground. It physically “grounds” them as well as helps them not feel so small. All that being said, don’t stress about their fidgeting—it’s natural.

Pay attention to blood sugar.
Provide snacks—that is the BEST way to change the energy of the room, but beware of high sugar snacks where you’ll have big blood sugar spikes and dips.

Talk to them in an age-appropriate way, but don’t be condescending.
Talk TO them, not LIKE them. Be yourself and authentic, but don’t resort to gimmicks to relate to them. Lay off the thesaurus and use age-appropriate words.

At the beginning, clarify that you are not a teacher and this is not a classroom.
Kids this age are absolutely wired for school. They see the moderator as the authority and are looking for the “RIGHT” answer. Spend some time debunking that and make sure that they know that you are looking for THEIR answers and ANY answers are the right ones. Use humor to reinforce that you are in charge, but not the teacher who will be grading them.

Over-emphasize the process and what you want from them.
Tell them the process at the beginning and reference it several times through the session. Remind them often (seriously, like every 10 minutes) what kinds of output you want out of them. It helps them to know where they are and what they are supposed to be doing.

Link these thoughts with IDEOs Methods JR cards and my Ideate Like you’re 8 tips and you’ve got some real fire power.

Work Differently by Gravity Tank

Online resources for methods, theory, and case studies are very helpful, especially when an organization is new to trying to infuse innovation behaviors and capabilities. Gravity Tank has recently launched a new resource called Work Differently. Although it is a thinly veiled advertisement piece, it is also extremely useful. Divided into 6 principles to “Work Differently” they explain some of the basic elements of their innovation approach.

My favorite principle covered on the site is Dimensions and Diagrams:
“Whoever best describes the problem is most likely to solve it.” – Dan Roam


Gravity Tank brings clarity to frameworks by clearly explaining dimensions and diagrams to structure problems…


Slide Share here


The whole section of the site is work checking out. Gravity Tank – Think Differently