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April 28, 2020

Now on Video from In/Visible Talks 2020: John Bielenberg on “Design Thinking on Acid”

Founder and Director of The Think Wrong Institute John Bielenberg inspired us to “Be bold!”

In his own words, John Bielenberg “used to be a famous graphic designer in San Francisco”. But too many years in the corporate world took its toll, so he took a pause. Instead of strictly focusing on design issues, he looked at tackling some of our world’s most-pressing issues, including climate change, population growth, and the explosion of technology. “How can we go from the way things are to the way things need to be?” he asked himself. His answer included founding The Think Wrong Institute, which now is part of the University of Kansas School of Architecture & Design.

With humor and real-world examples in his talk “Design Thinking on Acid” at the 2020 In/Visible Talks conference, John shared how the Institute operates. Students and other creatives immerse themselves in a community to identify problems, then come up with ideas for unconventional projects to address them. (The pie project and bicycles made out of bamboo were two inspiring examples.)

The process starts with moving away from traditional problem-solving models and comes with challenges right off the bat. “Our culture conspires against new ideas,” he said. “The status quo tries to pull bold ideas down to alignment.”

How to work past these barriers?

Be bold!

Don’t just talk—make stuff!

Move fast!

Learn more about John’s and The Think Wrong Institute’s innovative work in the video of his talk below or on Vimeo here.