1. We Are All Designers

Design Excellence

It’s not every day that you get to invite valued clients to someplace as prestigious as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and then let them personally experience an exhibition featuring the work of your colleague. Of course, it’s not everybody that can claim a colleague who’s been presented with a Design Excellence Award by fellow design professionals.

Bruce Mau is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. He is heralded for his work as an innovator, author and design visionary. Sometimes I can’t believe we are lucky enough to call him Freeman’s Chief Design Officer.


His remarkable museum exhibition is titled, “Work on What You Love: Bruce Mau Rethinking Design!” Walking through the show, I’m reminded of all the things that initially made me so excited about the work we do in the world of live engagements. (I suspect our clients felt the same way.) And maybe that’s the real secret to Bruce’s success: when we adopt a design-thinking approach, we keep things fresh and relevant and fall in love with what we do again and again.

Of course, the show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is not so much an exhibition as a snapshot of the amazing movement Bruce has inspired. We all have the power to make change happen. Big change. Important change. Change that shapes the future. But it requires that we embrace the habit of acting with intention… by design.

Bruce Mau is one of the most unassuming people I’ve ever met. And yet he has accomplished incredible things. Maybe the fact that he is so matter-of-fact about it helps those around him believe in their own ability to seize and accomplish audacious goals. Or maybe it’s just that he shows us that we already have the tools we need to build the stool, or ladder, or elevator that will let us reach higher.

I’m not qualified to say who is worthy of “design excellence” recognition and who isn’t. But I think it has something to do with generosity. It’s not just being a prodigy, or a diva, or a superstar – the one with the exceptional gifts. It’s helping those around you discover their own genius for design thinking.

That’s something I’m grateful for learning from my friend Bruce.