We're Talking about the Importance of Diversity to Design

complex systems

“Sometimes We Have to Recognize that We Have the Ability to Create Our Own Time and Represent Just Ourselves”

The Resonance Test 79: Kevin Bethune, Author of “Reimagining Design”

May 13, 2022
by Ken Gordon
kevinbehtune

The smartest designers understand the importance of diversity. It’s not about signaling openminded-ness but about achieving the deepest levels of innovation. We’re talking about truly heterogenous, multidisciplinary teams, which is a familiar concept to us. “Imagine if our future teams were just as representative as the beautiful tapestry of people making up this world,” writes Kevin G. Bethune, author of Reimagining Design: Unlocking Strategic Innovation, in his recently published volume.

But when it comes to investing in such diversity, Bethune, who is our guest on The Resonance Test, tells Producer Ken Gordon: “The business community at large has a long way to go.”

Bethune knows whereof he speaks. He’s been around all kinds corporate and design cultures. He studied engineering at Notre Dame, business at Carnegie Mellon, and design at ArtCenter; worked on nuclear generators at Westinghouse; designed shoes at Nike; lead design at BCG Digital Ventures; and most recently became the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of dreams • design + life, a think tank for design and innovation.

His book is, in fact, an interesting hybrid of professional autobiography, an argument for inclusion, a little philosophy of multidisciplinary design teams, and a career guide. And in it, and in this conversation, he uses his lived experience to showcase how an incessant willingness to learn, to stretch, are necessary for a successful career.

“Careers are made by really leaning into your curiosity,” he says.

But Bethune also says, in his book on this conversation, that this individual experience needs to be blended into a strong multidisciplinary team. “The collective we is better,” he says, because it creates “a greater sense of resilience, greater sense of flexibility, and a greater sense of future foresight than if I didn't have these experiences to offer in the team room."

In fact, Bethune talks about so much relevant things, such as the important role education played in his career, collaboration during a pandemic, and how to create a network of your own, among other salient topics.

Much wisdom here, for those who click. Join us.

Host: Alison Kotin
Engineer: Kyp Pilalas
Producer: Ken Gordon

The Resonance Test 79: Kevin Bethune, Author of “Reimagining Design”
filed in: complex systems, digital design, business design, service design

About the Author

  • Ken Gordon
    Ken Gordon
    Principal Communications Specialist

    Ken makes EPAM Continuum’s work visible to the necessary people. He creates superlative content, works with colleagues to do the same, and employs social networks to share it widely.

    A card-carrying humanist, Ken co-founded QuickMuse, the improvisational writing website, and JEDLAB, the Jewish education community. He has written for TheAtlantic.com, the New York Times, and many other pubs.

    Ken has an English degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an MA in English from the State University of New York at Albany. He framed both diplomas long ago, but can’t seem to find them now—a fact he considers all-too-human.