I grew up surrounded by foam core, sketching markers, rub-down type and all sorts of graphic design tools of the '80s. My dad owned his own design firm and it was a magical place of creativity and making. But it was also sometimes stressful for the family when the natural downs of the business cycle would hit our household budget.
So when I went off on my own I consciously decided not to start a traditional agency. It wasn't the fear of not making payroll during the tough times, but more of a belief that the gig economy, distributed work, and networks of dynamic teams could create a new model of the future of design work. It turns out others shared that belief.
Creative leaders are seeking purpose and autonomy They have built their experience inside corporate teams or agencies and now wish to act as free agents—to be able to choose what challenges they work on. Some of the most leading-edge and creative talent in innovation, design, strategy, brand, and communications have gone independent. Yet, it is the same people who also want a sense of community. They are eager to learn from their peers and swarm in teams when pressing challenges demand it.
So today I am announcing that I have officially joined Neol as a Catalyst, representing our network into the familiar spaces of finance, healthcare, retail and technology - and also broadening my advising into new places of social impact and transformation. Joining Neol as a senior leader allows me to keep my independence and flexibility, but importantly gives me access to the world's best creative talent as my advising engagements transition into project and design impact.
I'll close this week's update with a portion of the Neol manifesto. I hope this gives you as much joy and optimism as it has given me for the future of design:
Dear creative leaders of the world.
Here’s to you.
To those fighting for a better world
To those who love what they do and ask big questions, no matter how scary
To those thinking in systems and telling powerful stories
To those who design environments, reimagine organizations, craft strategies and enable experiences
To those pushing conversations to the edge.
Because, they know that the edge is where they might see new horizons
To those who chose a different path.
Even when it was hard.
Especially when it was hard.
To those who dare.
Those who dare to do things their own way.
Dare to fail.
To those who dare to create because they are tired of talking and making slides.
Neol is a system we can lean on. The space we can convene. A platform to rise upon. Neol, designed for a better future, built by those who dare.