Kenny Arnold is a multidisciplinary industrial designer exploring the intersection of play and sustainability. Kenny is most known for his award-winning designs of toys, playgrounds, and other educational tools. When he’s not tinkering, Kenny teaches workshops on design principles and creative thinking.
In this conversation, Chris and Kenny show how to apply design-thinking principles to day-to-day problem-solving. Listen to improve your ability to adapt on the fly, and transform your ideas from concepts into reality.
For the video, transcript, and show notes, visit forcingfunctionhour.com/kenny-arnold.
Welcome to Forcing Function Hour, a conversation series exploring the boundaries of peak performance. Join me, Chris Sparks, as I interview elite performers to reveal principles, systems, and strategies for achieving a competitive edge in business. If you are an executive or investor ready to take yourself to the next level, download my workbook at experimentwithoutlimits.com. For all episodes and show notes, go to forcingfunctionhour.com.
Hello from London. I'm delighted to introduce today's guest, Kenny Arnold. Kenny Arnold is a multidisciplinary industrial designer, exploring the intersection of play and sustainability. Kenny is most known for his award-winning designs of toys, playgrounds, and other educational tools. When he's not tinkering, Kenny teaches workshops on design principles and creative thinking.
Today you will learn how to think like a designer, improve your ability to solve problems, adapt on the fly, and transform your ideas from concept into reality.
Thanks for joining me, Kenny. This is going to be a lot of fun.Kenny:
Great to be here, Chris. What a lovely introduction that was.Chris:
So, let's start at the beginning, shall we? How did you originally become interested in design?Kenny:
Well, I think that goes back to my early days of childhood and really just pure love of building. I think it all starts with LEGO and playing well, and that's what I did as a kid, and that's what I still do. I mean, I still have a healthy amount of LEGOs, I would say. But somewhere around high school I was, you know, looking for career paths and, you know, how do I take that passion and turn it into something, and luckily Google existed at the time, and my mom googled "spatial problem solving," while we were figuring out college applications, and then we learned about something called industrial design. We heard about the professional society called IDSA, which is the Industrial Designers Society of America, and they had a recommended list of collegiate pathways. And so I basically ended up applying to a bunch of schools, and I went to the University of Michigan.Chris:
So, talk to me about when you're a kid playing with LEGOs. What was that experience like for you?Kenny:
I think it was really all about bringing your imagination into reality. And as a kid, there's a lot shorter gap between imagination and reality. I think as we get older that gap increases with, you know, responsibilities and whatever we're occupying our attention with. But one of my earliest memories of, you know, never really being satisfied with just, you know, what's in the box—I don't know if you were a subscriber to their magazine. They used to have a magazine called LEGO Maniacs, and I would always give myself the challenge of trying to recreate what was on the cover of that magazine with whatever I had in my own little box of LEGOs. And that idea of trying to see one perspective and recreate it with what you have is something that actually blended really well with industrial design training.
I remember that we had this really crazy Norwegian design professor, who was my first introduction to design, and he was really adamant about instilling in us the skill of being able to look at an object from multiple perspectives. And so what we would do in that first year of sort of drawing, unlike a traditional still life class in art school, where you have your still life, you're set up with a nude model, or just a bunch of fruit or something, and everyone is around that in a circle, you start off that way, but instead of having us draw it from our vantage point, he put a tennis ball in the other corner of the room, and he says, "Draw it as if you're the tennis ball."
Right? And it's kind of this twisting perception kind of challenge. But later on, you know, after college, my first job out of college I was working at a toy company, and my challenge there, their whole business was purchasing inventions from inventors and then developing it into a product line. That's when it would get to my desk. And you know, how do you take this one thing and make a bunch of things out of it? It's so easy to run out of ideas. And so the challenge that I started in that LEGO magazine which continued in, you know, college, became evident again when I would have to really reconfigure what I had in a new position, and so I was really iterating on just changing the building blocks around. What do you see when you shift things around? And I think that's been a common thread of industrial design, and probably any kind of design framework, I imagine.Chris:
I think that's a really important skill to have, to be able to take the opposite perspective. In this case, not just a human perspective, but the perspective of an inanimate object in the room. And describing this not being satisfied with what's in the box, that there's never the right pieces, can you recreate with what you have—It reminds me a little bit, there was a Wait But Why post on Elon Musk, talking about the difference between a cook and a chef. And a cook is someone who can just follow the instructions, right? So you have LEGO instructions, you know, step by step, all right, you start to build up, you start to match the picture. But a chef is someone who can just open up the refrigerator and say, "Okay, what are we gonna do with all these condiments and whatever hasn't spoiled?" And I think that's a really interesting inflection point in creativity, is to see something that isn't there, and we're to operate with, "Well, this is what we have. What can we do with this?"
How would you describe your first real design progress? You know, what were you working on, what did you learn from it?Kenny:
I have a bit of an Achilles' Heel, which is that I tend to overcomplicate things. And the first real design project, I think, was—We were tasked to design a pair of salt and pepper shakers. And it sounds pretty simple. Salt and pepper. You have your granulars, you have a grinder, you—There's so many sort of physical ways you can prepare and serve and distribute salt and pepper.
And so my—The same professor, Norwegian guy, Jan. Jan is explaining how to design these salt and pepper shakers. He's, "You can look at it from a material perspective. You can look at it from an emotional perspective. You can really, you know, look at it as—Anything can be a starting point in this creative process." And he was like, "Okay." You know, go and get a coffee break, I'm gonna go have a cigarette." And I went up to him on his cigarette break, and I was like, "Jan, I understand the words you're saying, but I don't know what it means." Right? And then he kind of looked at me kind of funny, in his sort of way. He would tease me about it.
But you know, after we go back in from the break, he takes—Goes down to like the bare bones of what it means to design. And it's like, okay. He draws three different-sized cubes. Three different-sized volumes on the whiteboard. And he's like, "Design is all about making decisions. It's—You're systematically making decisions. You're negotiating space. And how a person interacts with those volumes is the experience part of it. Right? And it's like you can design something to make it look heavy, you can design something to make it look light, you can design something to make it look inviting, or you can design something to make it repulsive. Right? And each of those sort of feelings that somebody gets is a result of deliberate intentions. But there's also the flip side of that, which is that there are unintended consequences of design as well."
And actually, that's one of my favorite things about design. It's like—It's the accidental type of qualities there, where it's—"Oh, you didn't mean a product to be used in that way." And it, you know, or—You know, it's just this sort of endless rabbit hole of design decisions and the impact it has on the user experience. And I think what really anchors all of that is who are you designing for, and what is the task or the goal that you need to accomplish?Chris:
It reminds me of a conversation we had with Abby Fuller, who's a documentary filmmaker/director, talking about the intentional choices that you make when filmmaking, which all starts with what effect do you want to have on the viewer. And in this case, thinking about the person who's going to be handling the device, or in this case putting some pepper on their eggs, and how do you want that experience to be? That understanding all of these choices that you have available, all of these 'affordances' (I think is a design term that I really like) really grounds a lot of those future design choices. Like you said, if you want it to feel heavy versus light, or if you want someone to be drawn towards it versus a little bit repulsed, it really comes back to this sense of understanding of the person and the job to be done, the problem to be solved.
How do you build empathy with the person who's going to be handling it, using your design? This seems like a really key principle of design. Is there something that works really well for you for imagining the person and how they're going to be using it?Kenny:
There's a whole range of strategies you can use. I think one of the more influential classes that I ever took and first experiences I had, the subject was called "Universal Design," and it's about how you as the designer make choices so that your end result is as inclusive as possible? And to sort of think about it—In this case, we were designing physical, you know, residential spaces. But the task was to kind of, "Okay, let's simulate what it's like to have a disability." So, you know, the professor took a few different tools out of his box, and he had a pair of goggles, a pair of gloves, and I forget something else. But the goggles had some, you know, smudges on them, so you put 'em on, you could barely see. The gloves made it hard to grip things. Right? And so in that case we're literally taking the expression "walking a mile in somebody's shoes," and really empathizing quite literally with what it's like to have a limitation. And you're like, "Oh, wait, we can't use that color. They can't see it." Right? Or, "That handle is really hard for people who have poor dexterity." Right?
So any time you can sort of simulate the limitation is a really direct way of adding empathy, and it's something that I still use to this day. Another way is really when you start getting into ethnographic research. And this is something I'm doing in my day job today, is that we're interviewing people for a food project, and we want to understand what it's like to cook with this product and we wanna understand what it's like to cook with their available utensils. And so in that case, we're actually kind of being like a fly on the wall. We're being invited into people's homes to basically watch them prepare food. And we're taking notes, and recording it to basically understand what the limitations are, and understand what are those constraints.
And I think you brought up the term 'affordances,' and in my mind 'constraints' is another one of these sort of important pillars of design thinking. What are the boundaries that we're working with? You know, I like to think—Well. I'll take a step back. And I think that there's some misconceptions about design, and about brainstorming and ideation and all those good things, where you hear a term like, "Oh, the sky's the limit," or you know, "Let's go for thinking of anything that could work." Well, anything can't work all the time. That's just not reality. Right? And ultimately I find the best designs, whether that's a product or a service or a company, they're paying attention to the real-world constraints. And that's when it gets into, again, getting back to your point of empathy, it's like, "What are the limitations? What's the box we could play with that we could sort of repurpose to, you know, create the best experience possible with the tools that we have?"Chris:
I took one course in college, I was a psychology minor, it was called "The Psychology of Creativity," and the main thing that I took away from that class was this idea that creativity comes from constraints. And I like what you said about simulating limitations, because until you've experienced something firsthand, it's still an abstraction. So, like you said, experiencing trying to pick something up with those gloves, or to see with cloudy vision really makes that visceral, and creates a real empathy, because you've had that experience. You don't have to just imagine it.
The same thing, I love this research which is shadowing someone. I find a lot with surveys, because it's a self-assessment, they don't tend to be very reliable, because people generally don't know how they do things, or how they feel about things, at least as much as they like to think that they do. And there's always this sense of trying to guess the teacher's password, of telling you what they think you want to hear, versus observing how someone actually uses a device, a product in the real world, there's lots of things that you observe that you would never be able to get out of them by asking them. So the importance of going to the source, experiencing it, seeing it with your own eyes—Do you find that you experience the world differently than others?
I laugh, because I know the way I experience the world I feel is very normal, but I'm walking around, it's like, "Oh, man, that could be way more streamlined, they could definitely have a better process for that." "Oh, like, I think that could be systematized, for sure." Like do you—It's obviously hard to say, because we see the way that we do, but have you gotten feedback that the way that you see the world is different?Kenny:
Yeah. Definitely. You know, you're in London right now, and you may see on the horizon, on the skyline you might see cranes. And in London they have these kinds of T-shaped cranes on new constructions. You'll see 'em a lot. And I used to live in London, I remember them sticking out in my memory. And when I look at those things in my mind, I think they're like brontosauruses. You know, these big giant dinosaurs. I see—I mean, I know they call it pareidolia, I think, it's like that sort of phenomenon where you see faces and shapes and things. After working as a toy designer, that impact became much more magnified, I found. I was seeing faces, you know, in faucets and outlets and things. Pretty common sort of things. And I'm not the only one that does this, but I guess to my point is that your—This is, I think I'm quoting from a neuroscientist, Beau Lotto, and he says, "Your perception shapes your reality." And so everyone has a different perception, and I think, you know, the neuroscience backs that up, because all of your experiences are the lenses in which you sort of perceive the world.
But I deliberately do—I guess I'm very intentional about how I try to see the world, and I think one of my favorite sort of mindsets is I love—I call it, like, tourist goggles. And it's this idea of being in a place for the first time. And that, it's such a privilege to be able to look at something with a fresh pair of eyes. And going to a new place it happens automatically, but I've been thinking about this for a little while, and you know, I try to kinda—Whenever I need to do some, like, ethnographic research or some street observations or whatever the sort of task is, I will try to deliberately put myself in the mindset, take a minute to think, "Okay, let's put the tourist goggles on. Let's think about what if I was seeing this for the first time. Maybe I'll notice something else." Right? And I think that that helps. It helps to sort of deliberately kind of set an intention in your mind of how you want to filter the information that your eyes are seeing.
I mean, there's that other sort of idea, right, where it's like—It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see. I think it's like Emerson who said that. But it's true, right? Your brain is constantly filtering out what you're not gonna see. It's focusing you on things that your body, your mind has already kind of been primed to take a look at. Which is, I don't know, I'm like an amateur neuroscience nerd, so I love talking about perception and how that matters in what we're doing. Probably went a bit off-topic there.Chris:
Never. I think this differentiation of what is relevant, you know, between signal and noise is the great challenge of our day, because we are inundated. And the phrase that I like is, "Knowing is the enemy of learning." That as soon as you embody this perspective of, "Oh, okay, I already understand this," you've completely closed yourself off to further learning. So how can we systematically put the tourist goggles on and approach things like a complete beginner, give ourselves full permission to experiment, to ask really stupid questions, because that's the only way to excavate all of these validated assumptions that we have about the world. And I love that you're sharing, hey, you see these different shapes and you automatically think, like, "Oh, this could be a representation of a character," or that this shape, well, what if it was that other shape? You're open to these possibilities. And that feels like the meta-skill to be a designer, is to see the possibilities in everything.Kenny:
Yeah. And I think that that's definitely a skill that all designers try to practice. And I know that as I've gotten older—I mean, now I'm thirty-three, I've been working in this field for about fifteen years, and I am noticing that my eye is more discerning now. I'm able to sort of—Because I think as a virtue of looking at so many things, you're able to kind of reference more things, which allows you to be more discerning about what you're looking at. And I know I've kind of shifted towards the physical world of products and sort of physical spaces, but I've spoken to friends in more graphic design. I mean, they're looking at typography all the time. They're looking at color all the time. And they are highly discerning about what they're choosing to see. And like, I'll make a choice, and my friend will be like, "You know, you're kind of referencing something there that you may not want to reference. 'Cause, you know, you're trying to make it look like a boring instruction manual. You wanna look like an exciting poster." Right? And it's like I wouldn't have even thought about that. Right?
So, I think that's what's also really great about working with different people, and why it's so critical to work with people from multiple backgrounds and disciplines, is because everyone's bringing their own lens. And creating space for your team to share their unique perspective is when the real magic happens, because it's that overlap of disciplines and lenses where I think innovation really happens.Chris:
What does it feel like to have a more discerning eye? How has that experience changed your experience of design?Kenny:
It's hard to answer that one, I think, without sounding a little snobbish. But some things just kinda hurt to look at. And it's like, why would they make that drawing so badly. Or why would—You know, there's one sort of street sign, you'll see it in New York City, I imagine you might see it in other parts of the country too, where it's a sign of kind of a stick figure man and a stick figure child, but whoever was drawing that did not realize that children have elbows and a shoulder. Because like it's such a weirdly disjointed hand holding stick thing that it just is like—Why would they ever have made thousands of these things? You know, at that point that ship has sailed and it's printed on steel, so they're not gonna change it, but as one example of just bad signage. But I also think people are willing to accept that things can be improved.
I don't know if you've noticed, there's kind of been a shift over the last few years of different kinds of signage for bathrooms. (A), to make it more inclusive, and (B) to kind of just be more realistic. Like, people gotta go. And so you'll see people kinda holding themselves, or even you know, questioning what it means to be inclusive and making sure that it's a non-gender bathroom. Right? And it starts off silly, but it becomes something quite serious, as if your identity is such a combination of things, and yet the graphic design, the signage, the information of the world around us has not necessarily been brought up to speed of where we are.
So that's kind of an example of that.Chris:
So, what I'm hearing is that the experience of having better taste or discernment is a heightening on both sides. It was interesting, you described bad design as painful, as something that you viscerally feel. But it also feels that you take greater enjoyment in encountering, anticipating in great design. I mean, I imagine it's somewhat like a food critic where they go to a bad restaurant and it's like, "Ugh." But when they experience something that's, you know, really well done, all the ingredients somehow come together beautifully, their experience is that much more magnified, because they have so much more of an appreciation of what went into it and the mastery behind it.
Maybe this is a good time to talk about design thinking. There's lots of talk about design thinking these days, at least from my perception. Right? You have Stanford d.school, you have famous companies like IDEO, you have like, you know, design superstars like Jony Ive, like what is design thinking to you? You know, where did this moment get started?Kenny:
I'm in the camp these days, where I think where it is today is that it needs to be far more inclusive than just human-centered design. We're in a world where we can't afford to think about just humans. Right? We are dependent on ecosystems, we're dependent on different species. And so I think at the highest level of design, you're being inclusive of other species on this planet. Right? And so it, sort of at that, in my mind, it is aligned with the triple bottom line. People, planet, profit. Right? I'm not saying, you know, money is bad. By all means, we need it. It's a resource, it's the circulatory system of the planet. But we can't make decisions in a vacuum. Right?
And let's sort of rewind the clock, where we came from. For like the last hundred or so years—Depends how far back you wanna go, into the world of craft and industrialization, but like for a while when we are designing things—First of all, design as a profession didn't really exist until the Industrial Revolution. Right? It's not—I mean, some people when I say what I do, industrial design, like, "Oh, are you designing industry?" Close, but no. Industrial design really is designing things for mass production. And so you look at where things came from, from mass production, it was like designers were often being sort of last in the line of value, of making things look pretty. For a long time designers were just designing the skin. The engineers figured out the hard bits, right? It was this sort of siloed way of organizing a company where it wasn't interdisciplinary, it wasn't collaborative, it was like you had the engineers doing the heavy thinking, you had design making it look pretty.a lot of that changed in the:
And it started as a club, and then it became I believe a class, and the class assignment was designing and commercializing products for a fictional race of aliens called the Methanians. And they were designing how things were gonna work for these animals and creatures that, you know, had three eyes and they had number-limited fingers, and they only breathe methane, and they had different types of weight ratios, and so you had all these engineering constraints, how you actually make something work for these people. And I say 'people,' but really it was, you know, a fictional alien race. But it was the first time engineers at MIT were forced to think about practical applications of these engineering principles and creative principles. And you know, there's some—I can send you some links later, but you can go back and sort of hear the reviews of the students at the time. And they were like, "Wow." Like, they make life-long friends in this class, this first time they were working interdisciplinary.
So the establishment at MIT did not like—They thought it was a little flamboyant, I think was the term that I saw that came across, and it was really criticized as like, "Why are you thinking so fancifully?" He had to really defend the value of using creative engineering. But luckily, the folks over at Stanford saw the work that he was doing, and he was one of the founding sort of fathers of what became the Stanford d.school, which in turn sort of formulated this approach of, like, "Let's design for human needs as they are, let's not design in this perfect world." And so it became much more centered around training the whole brain, so it's not just your left and your right brain thinkers, it's like everyone can be creative problem solvers. So you're drawing, you're doing math. They're not mutually exclusive. Right? You're researching people, you're doing ethnographic research, you're pulling from anthropology. And so it became this sort of nexus of interdisciplinary thinking which, I, you know, I think IDEO was kind of like the first commercialized sort of version of this. You had Bill Moggridge and David Kelley, who kind of met at the d.school and sort of commercialized that as like design thinking, and then it kind of became promoted as this great method.
And there's a lot of great applications of it. But it's not without its detractors, right? I mean, you can google how might we make statements, and everyone from all around the world can come up with a how might we statement, but there's implicit bias in there. It's like, who is the 'we' in how might we, right, and who are the people that we are trying to help. And so it's this ongoing conversation, still to this day. It's like, yeah, design is not just for designers. Everyone can design. But it's like, how are we being inclusive? It gets back to that human-centered part of it.
So I probably touched on so many things and not enough things at the same time, so feel free to sort of unpack any of that with me.Chris:
I find it so fascinating that the breakthrough is imagining some alien race. To really take it from this bias that we all have that others think and act just like we do—I see this in poker all the time, when people describe their thought process. It's like assuming that the other player is thinking about the hand just like they would, and so it's see things in the same fashion, and that's just not the way things work. So this real forcing of empathy by creating these real constraints that had to be worked around, you couldn't just say, "Oh, okay, well we'll train them for that, we'll onboard them for that." My impression at least is that, you know, your average let's say middle management employee is like barely getting beyond, you know, email, maybe doing some AutoSum on their Excel, but really doesn't have a lot of technical know-how. But if you look at a lot of the things being built, it's like things that are really cool for the engineers building them, and that's usually not a recipe for something working. If it's built because it's really cool, but maybe not thinking about the end user in mind.
I like that you started this conversation talking about toys and the concept of play and how you were able to turn what was play to you into a profession and a calling. Why are toys important?Kenny:
Toys are incredibly important. There's a phrase that I like to think about. I worked on this project once where it was designing new ways of engaging people in the recycling of glass and plastic. Right? It was an idea to make it engaging to do that. And the reality is, you may have experienced this yourself, people generally don't like to be told what to do, and if you're telling someone what to do, there's a good chance they're just gonna ignore it or they're gonna forget or any number of other reasons why they'll disregard it. But when you make something fun, people will actually just voluntarily try something. It's a different set of, like, incentives there. And so play is important because it activates that inner desire, I think. Right? And it's—You don't just need toys to be playful. Right? I think playfulness can be injected into anything. Toys are just this very sort of understandable form that we're very familiar with. But all species play. It's a key component of survival, and you know, testing out the boundaries of what's acceptable or not.
And there was this study that was done. Pretty sad. But there was a psychology researcher that interviewed inmates in the US on death row, people who were sentenced to execution, and what he found was that consistently across the board, every single one of those inmates had a childhood devoid of play. And it was because maybe they didn't, you know, develop that social understanding, they became sort of maladjusted to society, whatever you wanna say. That's kind of off-topic, but the idea is that there is a tremendous value to play and learning, because when you're learning you're growing. Right? And you're not—You know, that idea of learning versus knowing. You kind of just touched on that. But the idea that play can sort of catapult you beyond the confines of where you are to explore new possibilities, is like—We need new possibilities more than ever before. Like, in case you didn't notice, there's quite a few challenges going on in the world today. Like, we need to engage them fully and playfully to be able to kind of exist in that space. Play with the possibilities.Chris:
What are some ways that you inject play into your daily life?Kenny:
You know, I feel like I don't do it enough these days. I think about cooking. In a lot of my daily life, I think cooking is one of these, like, ways I can kind of play with a recipe and try new different flavors out. That's, you know, a fun way to do it. But even, like, more kind of—It's simple, but what I try to do is I try to avoid taking the same way to work. It's like, you know, try to avoid getting stuck in that rut, try to avoid creating just like a very concentrated sort of neural pathway so I can kind of literally explore my environment in new ways. You know, telling jokes is a great way of—You know, you're taking a risk a little bit sometimes, but the payoff is I think really worth it, actually. Some of the earliest studies in creative thinking, creative process, come from comedians and the idea of using analogies as a way of exploring alternative possibilities. But, yeah. It's sort of like the high level, I guess, of what I try to do on a daily basis, if I'm not actually trying to create something.
I guess I also love to make pop-up cards for friends. Like if I have a birthday for a friend, I will buy a card off the shelf and jazz it up with something like a homemade pop-up happy birthday thing. So, you know, those are sort of the ways I do it these days.Chris:
I've seen one of these pop-up cards in action, and I gotta admit it definitely left an impression. I could tell a lot of fun went into it.
You know, I think it's a really good insight that, you know, life has a variable difficulty level. And obviously there's many different ways to get to the top of the mountain. So small things like the walk that you take to get to the office, there's a lot of room for possibility and learning along the way if you're open to it.
You know, there's so much talk about flow states and getting into flow, but for me the key insight is that a lot of being fully immersed in your life comes from raising the difficulty level, from raising the stakes, and that life has infinite depth. So I'm always trying to gamify things from a conversation. You know, how can I sneak in this word into the conversation that I just learned, to I'm walking down the street on a trip, it's like, "How long is it gonna take me to find a bookstore, just looking around?" Just like small little things like that just to keep my experience of engagement a little bit higher, to be looking for those possibilities. Like you said, it's all about this ability to see—It's really more about what you're looking for, what is that object of focus, what is that problem that you're trying to solve?
I'm interested. You know, we're talking about your day to day experience. You see these Hollywood interpretations of design. Right? It's very cinematic, everyone's sitting around the whiteboard, you have like a montage, maybe there's some Post-it Notes of various colors, start like working in clay, and you know, before you know it you have this final thing and everyone's clapping. How does the day to day experience of being a designer differ from this Hollywood version?Kenny:
That's spot on. It's exactly what they portray in movies. No, I'm just kidding. There's obviously some truth to that, though. I mean, it's a process. It's not just a process, though. What I've come to appreciate later in life, I guess, in the last, you know, five years, is that it's a practice. They call it a creative practice because it's something you actively need to practice doing to develop and work out your creative muscles, just like you would work out in any other form.
And that overlap between working out and a creative practice is true even in doing stretches. You know, like—One of the things they teach you to do in sort of industrial design programs is drawing. Drawing is a key part of quickly visualizing ideas. And so when you're starting out, they challenge you to draw straight lines. Just drawing a straight line. Like, you can put a ruler up to that, and it's straight. Except you're not drawing with a ruler, you're drawing with your shoulder. That's kind of the key thing. And so when I've taught drawing classes in the past, like, it helps out. You know, you're stretching your shoulder, you're moving around, you're becoming very in tune with your body, because you're trying to kind of reduce the distance between the mind and the hand. Right? That's why, you know, you might see a montage of making clay. Clay is one of those things where it's like you're literally—You think the thought and you can put the form together.
But in the day to day, there's different sorts of phases in a project. Right? There's this concept of like the double diamond, which is kind of—You look up design thinking, diagram, double diamond, and what that's all about is diverging and converging. Right? And it's, in the beginning of the project you're starting off, and you're thinking, okay. What's this problem all about? Let's explore the possibilities, let's figure out where the boundaries are. You're trying to go divergent as possible. You know, and then when you, depending on the timeline of the project or who sets your deadlines, at some point you're gonna say, "Okay, we've gone broad. Let's hone in, let's focus. Let's pick out one of those nuggets, a few of those nuggets that we just explored, and go deep. Let's figure out who we are talking to. Let's start, you know, doing investigations. Let's try drawing connections between the data points we've just generated by diverging." Right?
And then you know, you're kind of in the middle of this project where you have an idea of who you're trying to solve, you have an idea of some prototypes, and then you go broad again. You're like, "Okay, let's go, you know, test as many of these ideas as possible. Let's explore, let's experiment." We're going broad again. And then, you know, sort of that last quarter of the project, you're taking some of those prototypes, those experiments, you're collecting your best input, and you're kind of refining that down to something that can be presented. And what I described just now is a pretty abstract process. It's not linear, at all. It's about maintaining those principles of diverging and converging. It's a dance with this tension. And so you can be exploring the problem space, but then you're like, "Oh, wait, I have an idea. Let's actually make something grow quickly, to actually show somebody to get their feedback to then validate it or invalidate it." So then we're going back and asking.
And so it's really iterative. It's not this like, you start and you're finished. And I think that's where, maybe, it rubs up against more, let's say, rigid approaches to running a business, where it's like, "Okay, we have bills and deadlines and deliverables." It's like, how are you structuring this project so it fits within those constraints and that existing structure?
So I think part of that means that your, that montage that you're describing is kind of like taking snippets of that process and probably making it like a quick, rapid thing. But you know, there's gonna be days where things just go off the rails. And that for me actually was a big, like, light bulb moment. It was like one of those days, I was working on a project, I was making a shelter for I think homeless people, and everything went wrong. It was Murphy's Law. Right? It's like anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. It was one of those days, things were on fire, I cut my hand, I mean it was just awful. And then in that sort of crushing chaos, I was like, "I am having the time of my life." Like, it's like a blast. Yeah, it didn't go right? Good." You know, you get to practice. "Burned down? Great. Make a new one." You know, it's like—So it's not just about making something, it's about how you respond to adversity, and how you adapt.
Adaptability and flexibility is a key component, I think, with anyone who wants to embrace design thinking. It's like, you can't embrace design thinking without sort of being comfortable exposing yourself to that kind of risk. And that's also where it runs into challenges with, I think, more conventional timelines and schedules. It's like if you're risk averse, this can seem like a really risky process, but (big but), like, that's the whole idea with prototyping. You know, fail fast, fail often, iterate. So it's like let's test the biggest thing with the smallest amount of risk. Right? It's like, let's work in cardboard before we start investing in steel. Right? And so I think it's about taking an iterative approach and seeing how you can kind of always be reducing risk in the spirit of pursuing your goal and, you know, delivering against a deadline.Chris:
Oh, so good. There's a few things that I wanna double-click on, just to make sure they get the attention that they deserve. But first I just want to acknowledge some of the language that you used to talk about what you do. Particularly this phrase that it's a dance, and a dance is you take what's given, it's—You're moving with it. It's obviously fun, exploratory, and that the way that you think about this process, certainly going to affect your experience of it, but is likely going to lead to I would imagine a more interesting and productive result. So I think that's always interesting to explore, how are you approaching, how are you framing what you're doing. And I like this metaphor of a dance.
The description that you have of design being iterative, it almost reminds me of descriptions that I've heard from an artist, that a painting is never done, you just stop working on it. And in the same way, a design is never perfect, it's never complete, you just run into one constraint or another, so you do the best that you can within those constraints.
This phrase that you had talking about drawing, of reducing the distance between your mind and hand, it feels like a lot of creativity is like that, it's just removing these invisible barriers that we put between ourselves and the work. The, like, "Oh, I can't do that," or, "I can't say that." One (and this is a very beginner exercise, but I'm very much a beginner), one exercise that I did that I thought was very illustrative is I always thought, I just can't draw. It's not something that I can't do. Well, flip the painting upside down. Instead of like, "Okay, I'm trying to draw this landscape," "I'm trying to recreate these lines." And then you flip it back over, you're like, "Oh, I did that." So it's just little things that have small changes in perspective, but giving yourself this opportunity for creative risk, for these small failures that are full of learning. And this is something that we talk about in the startup world all the time, is like how can you validate that next assumption? How can you—What's the fastest path to feedback? You don't need to build a whole thing. What's that very next iteration, that very next step that you can build upon, because you're not gonna be able to start from start to finish up here. It's gonna have to require this iteration, this interaction.
I wanna go back to this question again, because so much of it came from the first time. Thinking about this exercising the creative muscle, training, practicing design. It's obvious to me from the way you describe it, it's so interdisciplinary. What's another way that you found to practice design, to hone your craft, to build this sense of discernment?Kenny:
This is gonna sound a little left field right now, but one of the things that is really interesting to me as I've gone through different books and classes and courses is that—The overlap between meditation and creative practice. And there's this idea, I believe you've mentioned you meditate, you have your own practice as well, but this idea of sort of letting your mind let go of what's in there and returning to that clean slate. And when it comes to practicing, it's like—You have to kind of routinely practice letting go of judgment, so that you're able to just explore with a free spirit. And also it's like, in the process of exploring you're kind of asking yourself, "What does this look like? What would happen if this was upside down? How would I be able to show this in different possibilities?"
In the beginning of that process, the ideas are really fuzzy. Right? It's like, "Oh, it's hard to draw." Yeah, it's hard to draw. But, you know, everyone can draw a stick figure, right? But going from stick figure to anatomical skeleton is a very big leap. Right? But it's about taking those baby steps. And it's about breaking down what you're trying to represent, at least in a drawing or a model making kind of way, into the components. And so maybe you say you can't draw, but I guarantee you you can draw a square and a triangle and a circle, right? And out of those three primal, primitive shapes, you can basically create just about anything. And it's—Part of it is, it's a practice of reminding yourself that you have so many tools available for how you can sort of slice and dice what you want to create. Because there really isn't anything wrong. It's more about just trying a way.
Like, a lot of times I think about when you're starting your design projects, like, well, where do you look first? Well, there's many doors. Each time you're looking at a point of inspiration, that's a door into your project. Right? And it's like, there's no wrong way. It's about following that path, though. And like, it takes that, you know, maybe you call it bravery, or just call it determination, but you're opening that door, you're seeing where it leads to, you're capturing, by drawing, making it. You're really kind of just taking it to its sort of final end result as best you can. Right? But also recognizing that there is no real sort of final state. It's like, "Oh, this feels good enough to share. This is enough, I can present where someone can respond to it." And then take that feedback and kind of incorporate it into your sort of creative process.
I think I've gone off topic with the question now. Wanna circle me back to what the focus was, here?Chris:
Yeah. I keep hearing, you know, Bob Ross, right? "That's not a smudge, that's a tree." And that each point is a door, I think there's a lot of wisdom in that. In improv comedy, there's the question, you know, if this is true, what else is true? So rather than questioning, looking to build upon what's already there. Again, a lot of these things are rather subtle in their framing, but they create this environment of play and experimentation and collaboration. It's the conditions that allow the design to emerge. I said, it's not this linear A to B process, it's putting the right pieces in place for the possibilities that are already there to come to light.
I think this is a good time to start talking about teaching design. And this is something that you do, you lead workshops to youth, to organizations, to businesses. How would you get started with teaching someone—Let's say you're coming into an organization. Where is the usual place that you would start?Kenny:
Well, when it comes to an organization, typically we start with their customers. Or there's a phrase that we use a lot called "jobs to be done." And another way of looking at that is anchoring the process in somebody's story, where it's like, "I need to cook some dinner for my family." And, okay. That's a starting point. How are they gonna cook dinner? What's on the menu? What tools are they gonna use? Right? Right away, as soon as you anchor it into some real-life moment, it helps to sort of define the world around it. And similarly, when I'm running a workshop where it's more for, you know, skill-based or learning how to design, I tend to start with verbs. Things that you do, actions that you take. Because there's energy embedded in those words that we can use to kind of start to build momentum around ideas. And it's—One of the things that verbs can do is that people understand them. Like in an intrinsic, kind of kinesthetic kind of way. And so that helps, because the design process is really abstract. You're literally taking something that's not even half-fully formed, and it's in the process of sort of bringing it into reality.
And you know, I don't know where I heard this first, but ideas are really malleable. They're really fragile, because there's so much possibility in there, it's not defined. Right? And a lot of times—And that's why the mind that you bring into this process is critical, because if you allow a participant or someone in the room to shoot something down, it just sucks the life out of an idea before it even starts. Right? And so you kinda need to make a pact with everyone who's embarking on this creative journey that's like, "We're going to take the 'yes and' approach from improv. We're gonna be building on each other's ideas. If this is possible, what else is possible?" There is a time and a place for judging your ideas, but—I'm pulling a blank on who else has said this, but this idea that judging your ideas while creating them is akin to driving with the brake on. You can't do it. Doesn't work. And so it's about instilling an awareness in people on sort of the principles of how you drive your car or how you go along this creative process.Chris:
You know, it reminds me of when we're doing—We'll lead, like, review planning workshops, and it's really important, we have found, to separate out the generation from the deciding. So to think of a generation of, like, "Hey, here are some ideas, things that I could change or things that are going well or not going well." And like you said before, just trying to reduce that distance between mind and pen, where we literally just have them keep the pen moving, just keep writing down ideas, keep generating, and don't even look or read or think about what you're writing. You can always come back to that later. 'Cause as soon as you start saying, like, "Oh, is that really something that's going wrong, or like do I really want to change that?," you've gotten out of this necessary head space of possibility. So that this editing, this deciding is a completely different mind, it's a completely different person who needs to come back at it. So trying to keep these separate.
I know that when we think about creating a design, particularly as a team, we use this phrase 'brainstorming.' Like, we're all gonna get our heads together, throw some ideas at the wall, and see what sticks, so to say. What do people get wrong about brainstorming?Kenny:
Lemme just circle back for a second. I had said driving with the brake on is like, you know, judging and creating ideas at the same time. Alex Osborn is the guy who is credited with that phrase, because Alex Osborn is also credited with, you know, brainstorming, in many ways. You may have heard of the advertising agency BBDO, I believe. 'O' is Osborn. That's him. He was one of the founding guys here, just to give you some context on sort of where we're at. And the big misconception that I think it's really important to remember is that brainstorming as it was designed is just one part of the process. It's part of the idea generation process. It is not the idea generating process. Right?
And it's like people say, "Oh, man, brainstorming, I will always come to these ideas that aren't feasible." Or, like, "It's a waste of time." Because most people are doing it wrong. Right? And it's like having the rules of brainstorming helps, where it's like, you know, deferring judgment, go for quantity. And you know, all those matter, all those principles matter, but it's also important to remember that it fits within this framework of divergent and convergent. Right? You can brainstorm questions, you can brainstorm ideas, you can brainstorm concepts, but there's a part where you need to be filtering and assessing. And it's equally important to be discerning about what are the sort of metrics you're evaluating your ideas on. Right? And so you need to go hand in hand with those two things. I think that's kind of the big misconception I think people get wrong about brainstorming, is that they think it's the end-all be-all, and in reality it's like one step out of six.Chris:
So when you're leading step one out of six, you're having a brainstorm with a team as part of a workshop or a project, how do you do it?Kenny:
That's proprietary information, I'm afraid.
Just joking. No, I think the first step is defining the problem space. That's step one. Before we get—Everyone likes the idea part of it, but it's as important, if not more important—I'll take that back. The most important part of the process is defining what the problem is. And this idea of question storming, which is taking your problem and being generative about how many different ways you can phrase it—And you know, getting back to your earlier point about perception and what you see, change the words that you use to define your problem, and you will create new possibilities before even coming up with ideas. Right? And so I think that's like step one, let's define this problem.
Step two is, like, okay. Let's go try to validate this. Let's talk to people. Let's get into the real messy, emotional, irrational side of things and hear what people think about your hypothesis. Let's see if it's a real problem for them. The last thing you wanna do is work on a problem that no one really cares about, right? And it's like, what—Then you start getting into, like, okay. What are the pain points in this idea of like jobs to be done? What do people wanna do? What do they need to do? Right? Is there a gap between what people need to do and what they do? Right? And then how do you sort of as a designer, as an innovator think about that sort of in-between space. Right?
And then once you kind of have an idea, you have hypotheses, you've spoken to people, you have an understanding of what different types of people want, and you can start to say, "Okay. We know there's an opportunity for this type of person because we've talked about the problem and we've spoken to people. Now, let's brainstorm. Let's think about all of the different ways that you might be able to solve that." Which is why, getting back to your design thinking comment question before, where it's like the 'how might we' statement, that's when it's really used. It's really used to its fullest when you've sort of gone through this problem space, you're able to think about framing that problem, and how you can phrase it, and then you can kind of use the right sort of question statement as a springboard into thinking about ideas.
And then you kinda go back into the process. "Okay, you have some ideas. Now we're gonna test 'em out, we're gonna prototype." Maybe it's a digital prototype, maybe it's a paper prototype. What's the simplest, fastest, low-risk way we can test this idea in the most hands possible? Right? And then you kind of feed that back into the iterative loop that the design process is, and at the end of it you're like, "Okay, we have this idea, we haven't invested much money, it's panned out, people like it, let's take it forward to another iterative approach where like we invest more money into making it a great thing. Then you're done.Chris:
And then you're done. Yeah. This exploring the problem space, it reminds me of this like, before I start chopping down the tree I'm gonna sharpen my ax. And reading between the lines, there seems to be a lot of challenges, or let's say friction in this process, especially when other parts of the organization get involved, is that this process wants to be rushed. And it's like, okay. We have this much time in this step before we need to move on, or before, you know, we have this ship, before we told the customer we're going to send it to him, and that you can't always put a watch to some of these steps. I mean, depending on how well or poorly the problem has been defined, this could take a while. This could require several iterations of it, and rushing through—Not only will you not solve the problem, you might be solving the wrong problem, or a problem that doesn't even need to be solved. So I think that that's a really important place to start is, you know, why are we here? And there might be ten people in the room with ten different answers to that question when you first sit down.
I'm interested in hearing a little bit about your creative process. It seems that something that is common when working on something where you're creating something new, say a design or writing or coding, is, you know, getting stuck and procrastinating. You know, you find one of these many places of ambiguity where you're not sure what to do next, maybe you're at a decision point, and kind of get stuck and wanna walk away from it. When you find yourself in one of these sticking points, how do you get yourself unstuck? Is there any technique that you've found that works well for you?Kenny:
Yeah. I mean I think the best situation, the best sort of solution in that situation, is getting out of wherever you are. Like, are you at your desk? Great. Go for a walk. Like, talk to people. Get out of your own head, get out of your own actual, physical space, go into a new space. There is something magical that happens by taking a walk. It allows your brain to process in a different way. And it's about going out of where you are, and going out into the world, talking to people, making sure that you're getting different perspectives. And there also is a value in actually taking a break. Like, disconnect. Go do something totally unrelated, go read a book, go to a museum. Like, stop working on it. Let it percolate. Let it digest. And then come back to it. You'll bring a fresh pair of eyes.
You gotta—I think a bit of advice I got when it came to writing, it's like, great. Write your first draft. Put it in a drawer. Don't look at it, right? And come back to it in a week. You know?
To your point, you don't wanna necessarily rush the process. You can't really rush the gestation part of it. And I think you need to give yourself time to process. And everyone processes a little differently, and I think when it comes to budgeting for a project like this, you need to account for that thinking time. And that, you know, connecting that back to your question of like, in my own creative process.
And one of the things that I have come to appreciate is, like, I've designed a number of toys. You can come up with the idea, you can spend all that design process time, but then you need to budget in play time. You need to test it out, you need to see what you can create with what you just made. And it's a form of testing, but you need to really sort of have fun with what you're making. But in my own design process, you know, I typically start with a brief from a client or a call, a request for proposal, or grant. And typically I'll dive into the research sort of thing first. I'll typically do, you know, Google searches. It may warrant trend research, go into different sort of resources, like any number of white papers from MIT or Trend Hunter, whatever comes up. But you know, that's only taken as inspiration. Right? It's not the end-all be-all of starting out from the design process, but it might go on a mood board, it might give you some ideas, might give you initial feelings.
But any time I'm designing something, I really try to make an effort to think about who the people are. Like, who are we really trying to work with, here? Let's go talk to them, and let's engage them in a collaborative, as co-creators of this idea. And so like, the last big project I worked on was like a playground sort of modular furniture project, and a key part of that idea is that we were teaching the design process to kids so that they could design their own playground things, which ultimately informed what the final design was. I do not take credit for the final design, as much as it was driven by the ideas of the kids, the very people we want to be playing with this thing. Right?
And it's like, my role in that position was like facilitating that sort of micro creative process and bringing it into reality by paying attention to the constraints of manufacturing and materials and other and, you know, all of those sort of logistical design decisions. But making sure your target audience is a part of your design process—Co-creation I firmly believe in as a sort of a key part of the design process. And in that case, the designer almost becomes like a facilitator of that process, and sort of, you know, more of an orchestrator than, you know, you're the conductor, not the orchestra. Right? I think there's this sort of dynamic between those two things.
And then getting their hands dirty. I have material—I have a material library. I've got fabric and steel, you know, clay and wood. I love playing with stuff, but there's something really valuable about engaging with materials, because it literally activates a different part of your brain. Right? And it's about different modes of engaging your brain that is, like, a key part of my design process.Chris:
Something that I say all the time is that your best ideas won't come to you at your desk. And the reason I had to start phrasing it that way is so that I could treat the things like going on a walk, having conversations with friends, reading a random book, touching fabric, as productive. Because it is an important part of the process. It's not going to be just staring at the text editor and waiting for the words to write themselves. There needs to be this opportunity for diffuse thinking. So I love this intervention that you've suggested. This is something that I've found works really well, is if you find yourself stuck, go to a different place where you might be unstuck. That a lot of thinking is very contextual, so if you change your context you'll change your thinking.
And it goes back to this idea that you had, that anything can be a door to that breakthrough idea. So, maximize the number of doors that you have, or think of it as maximizing your surface area for serendipity. Right? Have as many doors as you can.
Big question for you. So, a lot of these principles we've been talking about from design feel very interdisciplinary. If we zoom out, do you think that design thinking has applications for let's say like large-scale systematic problems that we face today, things like, you know, climate, equality, access to opportunity or resources? You know, what role do you think design has to play in tackling these large problems?Kenny:
I think when you're getting to the scale—You said the keyword there. You said "systematic" problems. Systems. When you're getting to the scale of systems, you need to really think about systems thinking, which is not a topic I feel comfortable sort of leading a conversation on as much. But it's about understanding all of the elements that are going into the sort of the collective system. And how those elements flow through those different sorts of stage gates and sort of touch points, I should say.
Different frameworks are appropriate at different levels. Right? If you're trying to solve a really hard technical problem, I'm not here to say design thinking is the tool you should use. I think each sort of process is kind of like, you know, to borrow an analogy, it's like, Batman is just a regular dude with a tool for every job. You know, he's got his utility belt, right? And it's like every framework is a tool in your tool belt. Right? And it's like if you really need to understand people and you need to build something in an iterative and flexible way, and it's a product kind of solution or a service kind of solution, I think design thinking is a great approach to make sure you are including the customer or the person at the center of the story.
It's a key tool. Not the only tool. Right? And I think similarly when you're dealing with a large-scale issue, you need to sort of think about other approaches. Like I said before, systems thinking. But part of the challenge is figuring out what scale you're working at, and what kind of impact you wanna have. And this is a really—It's tricky. It's just a challenging problem. And the problem that I'm referring to is what—Is the scope of the problem you're trying to solve. Right? And it's like—If you're working at the scale of yourself, if you're working at the scale of your family—Are you working at the scale of your building? Are you working at the scale of your community? Right? It starts to get, you know, incredibly complicated very quickly the more people you're trying to work with. Right?
And just to kinda take it back to that many doors to the starting point, another analogy that I use when I'm describing it in workshops is, think of a dandelion. It's a flower that looks like a ball. Or a weed, rather. It looks like a ball. And each of those little sort of fuzzy things in the dandelion that you can blow and then it disperses, each one of those is its own problem. If you're gonna look at, let's say, climate change, and you, "Oh, I wanna solve climate change. I wanna make sustainable food a possibility." Right? Great. That's entirely too large of a problem. Do you wanna focus on food waste? Do you wanna focus on composting? Do you wanna focus on sustainable logistical supply chains? Do you wanna focus on transparency? I mean, do you wanna focus on cafés?
Like, every layer of context that you add will give you the focus that I think will help when it comes to determining the problem scope. Right? I think about adding constraints in this sort of stage. Right? It's like, okay. Let's think about who we're trying to work with. Where are they? Right? Just thinking about who and where is a big sort of lens to focus on, but I think the important thing is you can always remember you can change the lens. So it's like, "Oh. You wanna look at food and sustainability? Then look at the home." Or, you wanna think about more of a systems approach? Think about maybe the grocery store. Right? It's a very different problem to solve than, you know, managing food waste at home or food waste at a café. Right? It's a different scale involved.
So I think thinking about the scale and the context and the constraints is a key part of how we focus on which seed of problem you wanna work on.Chris:
Yeah. I think a way to invert that, a problem, it is seemingly infinitely complex and large, is to think, "Well, that means that there are almost infinite avenues of attack and approaches to go after this." And something that I've found works really well for me and for several others on getting started on something, on taking something that's abstract and making it actionable, is to scope down. That I haven't found an example where someone scoped down too far. Because you can always build upon something that you have. You need that very first step. So this is just one of those universal rules, is that if you find it hard to get started, scope it down. I'll give a very straightforward example, is I don't write down the same to-do item twice. If I find myself doing that, I have to rewrite it or I have to scope it down. That's the whole thing, if I've already failed at doing this once, I don't wanna fail twice the same way. It's the classic, you know, doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.
So obviously, something about it was too big, it was too intangible, too abstract. Okay. How can I rewrite it, how can I make it more actionable, how do I scope it down? And I think this is a pretty good approach to everything. And hopefully we're tackling these problems, finding our own unique avenue of attack, finding a way to take action.Kenny:
That just reminds me of this similar approach that an old professor was teaching, which is that he gave the challenge to each of the students to go talk to somebody, and listen to their story. Ask them if they're working on any problems, any problems they're facing. And the goal was to find a problem that really only impacts that one person. And by virtue of drilling down into like a really bespoke problem that one person had, you're actually then kind of reversing the perspective on it, because turns out many people have that one specific problem. And it's sort of a process of zooming in so far that you can actually take a look at a very niche audience, for example. Just wanted to add on to that.Chris:
It reminds me of the, "All right, I'm trying to write," this is like a Robert Pirsig thing. "I'm trying to write an essay about the town." Well, where do I start? I go into the history, I go to the literal stuff—And as he kept zooming in, zooming in, it's, "Okay, write a story about the cornerstone of one building." And like the more you zoom in, you start to find the universals, the things that extrapolate, that expand out to everything. Exactly the central principles. But you would only discover them by zooming into that really discrete level. That's a really good point, Kenny.
I feel like we could keep on going about this stuff. You shared—I have a full page of notes here, so many insights. I'm really learning a lot. It seems like you're a born tinkerer. So, you know, I wanna just end today by, you know, what are you tinkering around with these days? What are you excited about?Kenny:
I have a new idea I'm working on, which is very early on, and it's so early it's just a sketch at this point. Which, I don't mind sharing, because I think ideas are meant to be shared. But the thing that I'm tinkering on now is I'm wondering, you know, what sort of impact that I can have to kind of make it just radically easier for your everyday person to become just a little bit more sustainable. Maybe it's about using the right product, maybe it's about connecting someone to a furniture reusing service. You know? It's like—So what I'm doing right now is I'm tinkering with sort of adding all these layers onto, like, you know, the day in the life of, you know, a family in an urban environment, and going to school, or you know, any sort of errands you might run, and thinking about overlying that with, okay, what are the products, services, systems that we can kind of switch out that would have made that same user journey way more sustainable? And so then, now, out of that is like, I'm kinda working on I guess a bit of a service or a website where it's just looking at how to help more people live more sustainable lifestyles.
So that's like the thing that's, you know, up there right now. It's not tangible yet, but that's sort of what I'm looking at next.Chris:
Well there you go. If you're listening, if you've enjoyed this conversation, something that we've said has resonated, perhaps if you're interested in working on sustainability, let's see if this can be the start of another conversation.
Kenny, any final words you'd wanna share today? Any place you'd wanna send someone who's listening if they wanna learn more about what you're doing, perhaps get in touch?Kenny:
I have a website, which is kennyarnold.com, which is going to be switched over soon to a new website, but if you wanna get in touch you can reach me there. In the meanwhile, I would say, you know, just practice those creative muscles. Like, there's nothing that infuriates me more than when someone says, "Oh, well I'm not creative." That's self-deception, right? You can read, you can write, you can also draw. You can be creative. That's a basic sort of literacy. So, my advice to anyone listening would be to, you know, pick up a pencil, do a little sketch. You know, try something that scares you on paper and see what you make.Chris:
I love that. I think that would be an interesting opportunity to challenge/experiment, instead of saying, "I'm creative," you know, imagine you're the most creative person on the planet for a little while and see what that feels like. See how it changes your experience.Kenny:
Put that hat on, see how it fits.Chris:
Oh, man. Kenny, thank you so much for being here today. This was a total blast.Kenny:
My pleasure, Chris.Tasha:
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