Some time ago (July 14, 2009 to be exact) I wrote an article encouraging designers to walk the entrepreneurial path on their own by bringing some of their own creations to the market. My article “Sometimes Designers need to Walk the Path on Their Own” encouraged design entrepreneurship simply because of the learning experience designers can get. Not only that, a designer should have the DNA to be an entrepreneur. It is really only about changing the mindset.
So I was presently surprised to see an interview where Scott Wilson, of Tik Tok Kickstarter fame, explains his thoughts on why Designers should be Entrepreneurs. However I disagree with the99percent when they labeled him as a “new breed of designer/entrepreneurs”. I’m sure you would agree with me that design entrepreneurship is something that many designers have been practicing for quite sometime now.
Anyways here is the quote:
Do you think all designers should be entrepreneurs? Or is that just your particular makeup?
I find it slightly odd that all designers aren’t like that, because you’re just so curious. For me, I have such a hunger to learn, to try new things, and to connect the dots. I love seeing all kinds of things from medical to industrial to whatever, and then going, “Oh that’s interesting, and how is that relevant to this thing over here that’s in a completely different sector or category.”
I think there’s a difference between a designer who just wants to go to his computer and design things in a vacuum or design things to a brief and not maybe be challenged too much, and a designer that can actually see the connections and challenge the brief and push back and create something that’s disruptive to what’s in the market right now.
Steve Jobs at Apple, Mark Parker at Nike – who I was fortunate enough to work with for two years – those guys are big-picture designers. They’re right-brain, they connect the dots. I think it’s really important to train that part of how you see things as a designer.
There are a lot of people out there who have more skill than I do, who are more creative, maybe more open-minded, but one of the things that I do is I see the connections and I see the opportunities and I can visualize them.
So I agree with Scott, designers have the DNA to be entrepreneurs. It is about curiosity, big picture thinking, and the ability to connect the dots. I would also like to add to his list the ability to wear many hats, working with, and empathizing with other people. Check out the full interview at the99percent for other cool anecdotes such as “Do what you think is Right and Apologize Later”. Enjoy!
Brian is the Founder and Design Director at Design Sojourn, a Design Led Innovation Consultancy. He is a multi-award winning design leader, and specialises in strategic design and innovation programs that drive successful organisations. Brian’s 20-year career in design, driven through a deep understanding of human behavior, spans over multiple domains such as consumer electronics, government, healthcare, non-profit agencies, hospitality, F&B, retail, online solutions and best in class service experiences.