Reimagining DesignReimagining Design
Reimagining Design
Unlocking Strategic Innovation
978-0-2625-4847-2
2024
Cover image of The Adventures of Example
Kevin Bethune _ Author
Along with 1 additional contributor below
designstrategybusiness strategyinnovationcreativitybiography
Canonical Book Link https://www.kevinbethune.com/reimagining-design
Design offers so much more than an aesthetically pleasing logo or banner, a beautification add-on after the heavy lifting. In Reimagining Design, Kevin Bethune shows how design provides a unique angle on problem-solving —how it can be leveraged strategically to cultivate innovation and anchor multidisciplinary teamwork.
As he does so, he describes his journey as a Black professional through corporate America, revealing the power of transformative design, multidisciplinary leaps, and diversity.
Bethune, who began as an engineer at Westinghouse, moved on to Nike (where he designed Air Jordans), and now works as a sought-after consultant on design and innovation, shows how design can transform both individual lives and organizations.
In Bethune's account, diversity, equity, and inclusion emerge as a recurring theme. He shows how, as we leverage design for innovation, we also need to consider the broader ecological implications of our decisions and acknowledge the threads of systemic injustice in order to realize positive change. His book is for anyone who has felt like the "other" — and also for allies who want to encourage anti-racist, anti-sexist, and anti-ageist behaviors in the workplace. Design transformation takes leadership-leaders who do not act as gatekeepers but, with agility and nimbleness, build teams that mirror the marketplace.
Design in harmony with other disciplines can be incredibly powerful; multidisciplinary team collaboration is the foundation of future innovation. With insight and compassion, Bethune provides a framework for bringing this about.
***

I enjoyed this book quite a lot, and it read quite easily. I think this was because Kevin tells an engaging story about his experiences working first as an engineer and then finding himself integrating a creative spirit and consciousness adjacent to the analytic business strategy type work he was doing at Nike. This resonated, maybe because we share a similar professional and educational background? (Although I never studied anything close to business nor formally went to design school to study design.)

What resonated most strongly were the challenges he describes of being a bit of an outsider in perspective, approach, experiences, culture and professional trajectory in large enterprises. A certain kind of open-minded naivety about how creativity operates and what it can bring can be easily dashed on the rocky structural undergirdings of a big company.

The stories he tells about serendipitously meeting Dr. D’Wayne Edwards and becoming integrated into te design team at Nike and working mornings and evenings adjacent to his ‘normal’ responsibilities were also resonant. There are times when the enterprise and its agents have difficulty seeing beyond the boxes and arrows by which they conventionally organize and wire-up the potential of their employees. More fluidity, overlaps and embracing those with an expansive, range-y generalism has immense value to unlocking the unrealized greatness of rigid organizational structures.

***
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Contributors

Kevin Bethune
_ Author
John Maeda
_ Foreword

Biography

Kevin Bethune is the Founder & Chief Creative Officer of dreams • design + life, a "think tank" that delivers design & innovation services using a human-centered approach. Kevin's background spans engineering, business and design in equal proportion over his 20+ year career, positioning him to help brands deliver meaningful innovations to enrich people's lives. His work represents creative problem-solving that brings multidisciplinary teams together to see the future through an open aperture, and a deep industrial design approach to inform and influence desirable, feasible and business-viable design outcomes.

Kevin began his career as a mechanical engineer in the nuclear power industry. This chapter gave him deep product experience working with high performing teams across 14 nuclear reactor upgrade campaigns. After his MBA, Kevin joined Nike, Inc. in a business capacity, but quickly navigated to the Global Footwear product engine to drive advanced digital product creation capabilities, discovering the world of design in the process. After solidifying his creative foundation through further studies at ArtCenter College of Design, Kevin co-founded distinct design & innovation capabilities at two Tier 1 management consulting firms in Booz & Co. and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

As Vice President of Strategic Design at BCG Digital Ventures, he led a large cohort of designers that would influence and shape every corporate venture spun out from the incubator. Kevin left BCG Digital Ventures to carve his own path under the banner of dreams • design + life, focusing on unlocking human potential through strategic design, industrial design and the building of new ecologies. Kevin also serves as a Board Trustee for ArtCenter College of Design and the Board Chair for the Design Management Institute (DMI).

Publisher

The MIT Press

Specifications

Cover Hardcover
Pages 208 pp
Size 5 x 8 in
Illustrations 30 b&w illus.

Notes

  1. Personally signed by Kevin May 3rd 2024 when we met for coffee at Zinque
  2. Smells of wood smoke as I took it on a camping trip early summer 2024
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