January 04, 2021

Five Questions with Sara Cantor: Co-Founder & Executive Director of Greater Good Studio

INVT21 Speaker Sara Cantor, who will help us understand why “Design is Not Neutral”, shares her thoughts about the importance of listening for the “whys”, knowing vulnerability is a strength, and fighting for social justice.

INVT21 Main Talk speaker Sara Cantor hopes her company lives on long after her. A creative leader and human-centered designer, she co-founded Greater Good Studio in 2011 to be able to apply the processes and principles of design she’d mastered while creating new markets for corporate clients to addressing challenges in the social sector. Today she serves as Executive Director in a team of “pissed-off optimists” who work with nonprofits, foundations, and government agencies.

Sara will draw from her experiences to inspire and motivate us on January 14 with her talk “Design is Not Neutral: How to Align Work and Values”.

Here are some insights into what drives her to create.

What did 2020 bring into focus for you that you want to Re:Make, Re:Think, Re:Imagine, or Re:Design for 2021?

I want to re:design my days to support times of peak energy and times when I just need to take a nap! Working from home has made me extra-attuned to my own energy levels—like I’ve gotten better at observing myself, because so much of the noise has been cut out.

What is your relationship to the creative process?

I draw inspiration from people, so my creative process starts with research. But I get most creative during synthesis, when I’m finding patterns in people’s behaviors and listening for the “whys” behind the stories.

How or where do you find inspiration?

In leaders who aren’t afraid to speak truth to power, and who know that their vulnerability is a strength.

What was one of your biggest creative challenges?

Designing a company that could thrive under pandemic conditions.

When did you first realize you needed to be in a creative field?

When I was failing all of my engineering classes (where there was usually One Right Answer)!

Bonus Round: What drives you to create?

The knowledge that my liberation is tied to the liberation of all people; that nobody is free until everybody is free. This may sound a bit strong, but I have learned all about the ways that white supremacy robs me of my humanity as a white person, and so I feel personally invested in the fight for social justice in our country. This drives me to keep designing a sustainable organization, keep pitching projects, and keep leading design teams into uncharted territory.