Why I’m Writing: Burning Questions and Invitation to Creative Leaders


A Short Story: How I Got Here

I’ve been working as a creative for almost as long as I can remember, mostly in the positions of leading teams or products, and generally bringing ideas to life.

I started by dropping out of college to do design and web development, running my own solo business for many years. Somewhere in the mix I got pulled into some start ups (that’s another story).

In the last five years I’ve often been on teams with the directive of “innovation.” I led product initiatives on eBay’s Mobile Innovation Team, then Magento’s Retail Innovation Team, and then worked on product experience for Nike’s Retail and Digital Innovation Team. I worked on stores of the future at more than one company.

Now, I work for an amazing company, collaborating with the Apple Enterprise Design Team (and, I should mention, some of the best designers in the world), where we take a product from idea to market.

Along the way I’ve learn a lot. I hope to share what I’ve learned, refine my thinking and dig on some questions to find what’s next.

Burning Questions

Questions allow ideologies to be challenged, this challenge is the path to breakthrough ideas. Being steeped in creative environments I’ve had the honor to see many ideas become real and many more die. That along with one of my key realizations that empathy, or understanding people, is a key component of success. But I want to see what is beyond this by asking some burning questions, like:

  • What if great design doesn’t just result from empathy, but generates empathy?
  • What if breakthrough tech is applied to art and storytelling?
  • What if human traits are the key to the machine future?

Additionally,

  • Why are so many good ideas executed so poorly?
  • Why do some projects get stuck even when they are backed by all the resources that seem to be needed?

These last two questions can be wrapped up in a bigger question:

  • Why does knowledge not always lead to wisdom?

There is a gap between knowing and taking action. I want to know more about this gap. A lot of my creative work has come out of these questions.

An Invitation to Creative Leaders

All of these questions are rhetorical, however, they should be worked out in products, projects, companies and art. The goal of these questions is not to simply pounder, but to drive us to do work that’s breakthrough worthy.

I want to invite you, creative leaders who are working to bring something to life, to wrestle with these questions, to join me as I refine and share my process and thinking while traversing this design and technology world.

Together we will challenge the status quo to create the industries of tomorrow.


“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.”
 — John Maynard Keynes, 1936, Preface of “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money”


Originally published at RON SPARKS.

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