Be part of Steelcase’s worldwide centennial celebration. Our yearlong anniversary project, “100 Dreams, 100 Minds, 100 Years,” is a springboard to the century ahead. Read, view, engage, comment, share.

Mar 6

John Hockenberry Speaking at TED 2012

Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Author, journalist and 100 Minds curator John Hockenberry addressed the crowd at TED last week. There, he offered a personal and candid look at design and our ability to not only create, but improve upon what has been created before. Using the example of a song, John said, “Broadly speaking, design is the courage and brilliance to cover an original and make it different, make it universal.”

John spoke about his earliest design influence. His father was a designer for IBM, Kodak, and Steelcase. He recalled a lesson that his dad reiterated throughout his childhood, which he still believes in today:  ”Good design is about supplying intent.”

Ironically, it was poor design that caused John to spend his life in a wheelchair. “Thirty-six years ago, I was in a poorly designed automobile that hit a poorly designed guardrail on a poorly designed road in Pennsylvania, plummeted down an embankment and killed two people in the car. . . [After the accident,] I had no option but to make up this new life without walking. A life with intent, lived by design, covering the original with something better. It’s something for us all to do or find a way to do in these times: to get back to this, to get back to design.”

In his 100 Minds contribution, John refers to our individual potential to shape the future. He writes, “The seeds of the future lie in our own time.” In what ways have you seen design help our today? And how do you see it shape tomorrow?

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