Unlocking Strategic Innovation
208 pp., 5 x 8 in, 30 b&w illus.
- Published: March 15, 2022
- Published: March 15, 2022
The power of transformative design, multidisciplinary leaps, and diversity: lessons from a Black professional's journey through corporate America.
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.
“An innovative and deeply personal book that is chock-full of insight and actionable content. Bethune's emphasis on 'strategic' design thinking, combined with his ability to balance his corporate and engineering knowledge with design, will unlock value for many readers, from new grads to the C-suite.”
Annie Jean-Baptiste, author of Building for Everyone; founder, Equity Army
“With vulnerability, clarity, and actionable insights, Kevin Bethune answers important questions for increasing diversity and inclusion in design: What does it mean to be a Black man succeeding in design? What can you learn from him to help others succeed?”
Dori Tunstall, Dean of Design, OCAD University
“Kevin Bethune is a master of his craft, and Reimagining Design: Unlocking Strategic Innovation synthesizes his decades of professional and personal experiences into an informative and timely book that BIPOC creatives should study to shape the world through design.”
Maurice Cherry, founder and host, Revision Path
“Nuclear engineer, sneaker designer, professional disrupter, and lots more. . . to say that Kevin Bethune has had a radically varied career path would be an understatement. Driven by optimism, curiosity, and a passion for blurring boundaries, Kevin is a role model for the next generation of design pioneers. This book is required reading for anyone hoping to envision a new future for design.”
Gary Hustwit, filmmaker, Helvetica, Objectified, Rams
Bethune's book is an essential resource for designers looking to shake up the industry… The book provides insights for people of color who want to get ahead in the industry, while also challenging norms and systemic injustice. Because the righting of these wrongs demands intersectional collaboration, it's also a resource for allies. Those who are looking to upend barriers for previously excluded communities and welcome the innovation new voices bring to the practice will find helpful actionable items within the writing. In other words, Reimagining Design is the kind of narrative the industry is in desperate need of as design and its place in the world evolves.
At a time of increasing uncertainty, what can we do to solve ever-changing problems? Designer Kevin Bethune takes on that thorny issue in his new book, with a view to diversity and inclusion.
"Carnegie Mellon University alum Kevin Bethune has followed an unlikely career path through design, engineering and businesses, and offered a midcareer distillation of the wisdom he's distilled in a slender, sleek volume with the rather generalist title Reimagining Design: Unlocking Strategic Innovation… in the end, this is the book's inspirational message: that the key to both professional career fulfilment and a world of more useful consumer and business products and services is a mind open as much to the creative imagination as to the lessons of business, technology, communication and marketing."
Pittsburgh Post Gazette