My Lecture at Seattle University's Institute of Public Service

Seattle University students – Thank you for letting me share Human Centered Design (HCD) with you (my slides can be seen here).  If you'd like to further explore HCD, the following resources are great places to start. Additionally, if you have further questions don't hesitate to reach out.


  • Designing Public Services – This guide was created by Nesta and IDEO and is a great introduction to the tools of design as they relate to 3rd sector programming. Print this out and study it, you won't regret it.
  • - Design Kit is an online resource for all things HCD, produced by IDEO. On this site, you can find resources including training videos, case studies, and a seven-week online course to help you develop HCD mindsets and skillsets.
  • Stanford d.School - Stanford d.School was founded in the Engineering School at Stanford to equip the next generation of innovators with design-centric skills to solve some of the most challenging issues our society. They are a great resource for learning HCD and design-thinking methods.
  • Epic People - Epic is the leading online facilitator of knowledge sharing  and resources when it comes to qualitative ethnographic research. Search "government" and all kinds of great stuff will come up.


Case Studies & Miscellaneous 

Further resources on design can be found in my design thinking resource guide.

Web Series Prototype

My friend David and I were talking over margaritas one day that we should create a web series about creativity. So we made a prototype to see what form this short informational film could take. I picked a topic, wrote a script, and David basically did the rest – the final product shown above.

We learned some good stuff. Namely, we don't have time to do this on a regular basis. But also that a teleprompter would be super helpful, the writing could use some work, and branding this kind of thing takes a lot of work.

At the end of the day it was just super fun to have an idea and to act on it. It's always satisfying to create something, regardless if it turns into anything.

Dickie lives! ;)

Job Posting: Investor Wanted

The Future is now seeking full time Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists to join their team of dreamers, inventors, astronauts, artists, pioneers, and explorers. The Investor will partner with The Future to implement an extraordinarily ambitious vision for the future of business. Interested in transformational technologies that augment the best of human creativity and imagination, you won’t be building weather apps or role playing games; you’ll be building audacious companies who want to make a dent in the universe. Your job will be to ensure other investors who join your team are passionate about funding the future, not features. A bit contrarian, you'll advocate unpopular investments that may be hard to assess, but have exponential potential for being enormously valuable. You’ll use decades, not months, to measure your window of opportunity. 

Qualifications and Characteristics: You must - 

  • Have experience creating something new, preferably new markets, but this experience may also include new technology and businesses
  • Be comfortable with and interested in the tensions of money and meaning, transaction and transcendence
  • Believe in teams as much as ideas, and have a track record of empowering founding teams, not firing them
  • Have rolled the dice on creative businesses with the potential to change the world, and won
  • Want to build a business culture and brand that posits intuition and creativity
  • Be connected to a network of the world’s greatest technical talent, as well as the most renown creative minds in design thinking
  • Have experience aligning wild-eyed passion with humble wisdom
  • Have at least 10 years experience seeking out breathtaking beauty in the world on a daily basis
  • Like solving hard and interesting problems, like how to inspire the next generation of innovators to create a yet-to-be-imagined world 
  • Have as many art, poetry, and design books in your library as you do business books
  • Always be ready to argue that the internet is not dead, but is ready to rock and roll
  • Masters of Business Futures or equivalent degree or experience

If this sounds like you or if you’re looking for a team to build a time machine, we look forward to hearing from you!

On Being a Generalist

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." - Robert A. Heinlein

Timothy Ferriss recently released a short podcast (episode 19) that outlined the benefits of being a generalist. It struck a deep cord and I thought I would share his five reasons to be a generalist here, in descending order:

5. "Jack of trades, master of none" is a false dichotomy.

  • Mastering a skill is different than perfecting a skill
  • 80/20 rule - 20% of the knowledge gives 80% return
  • Study to the point of, but not beyond, rapidly declining return
  • 10k hour rule has been discredited, correlation does not mean causation
  • It is possible to be world class in any skill in 1 year

4. In a world of dogmatic specialists, its often the generalist who ends up running the show.

  • Knowledge has been democratized, we have access to intellectual capital when we need it
  • Generalist can predict and innovate faster
  • Proper leaders must weave everything together
  • Leadership requires multiple perspectives

3. Boredom is failure.

  • The opposite of happiness is not sadness, but boredom
  • Lack of intellectual stimulation drives us to depression
  • Over specialization almost guarantees boredom
  • Leaders never have an identity born from one skill set

2. Diversity of intellectual playgrounds breeds confidence instead of fear.

  • Contentedness is related to embracing confidence
  • Diversity of knowledge breeds empathy with broadest range of human conditions and experiences

1. It's more fun.

  • The jack of all trades maximizes his number of peak experiences in life
  • He enjoys the pursuit of excellence while discovering what he is built to dominate in    
  • He looks at the same problems that have been ‘solved’ and sees something different

In the spirit of this post, I mapped my experience and skills in the hopes that it would help me to better understand how I describe what I do (post disciplinary design and strategy). While I still have a hard time describing what I do, this was a fun exercise.