Design = Business As Sarasota's Ringling College Hosts International Creative Summit

Sir Ken Robinson contends that human creativity and imagination are the most powerful and vital capacities humans possess to address today's challenges, and an audience of international businesses, governments and educators is listening.  

Robinson will speak at the fourth Ringling College of Art Sarasota International Design Summit on February 5.  He will also meet with a roundtable of Florida CEOs at an invitation-only event the day before.

As a best-selling author, professor and international consultant, Robinson has advised governments in Europe, Asia and the United States as well as Fortune 500 companies and cultural organizations. He has helped the governments of Singapore and of Northern Ireland to establish economic development strategies and cultivate creative economies.

His most recent book released in 2009, "The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything," followed the acclaimed "Out of Our Minds:  Learning to Be Creative." Both are tailored to individual discovery and expression of creative abilities. Robinson's talk titled "Do Schools Kill Creativity?" has been viewed nearly 1 million times on YouTube.

Robinson is a key speaker at the summit, says Ringling College President Larry Thompson, because this year's theme centers upon business and design thinking. "He helps to set the stage about why the creative element is important to business," Thompson says. "He sends the message of the importance of creativity in terms of business strategy."

Designing Business Solutions

"Design + Business: The Art of Designing Business Solutions" will take place on Friday, February 5, and Saturday, February 6, on the Ringling College campus in Sarasota. About 300 business professionals and students are expected to attend the speaker events and workshops. Topics include design strategies for social media, using storytelling as part of designing solutions, how science uses design to create breakthrough technologies, and design in healthcare.?

The popular David Bromstad, host of HGTV's Color Splash will be the keynote speaker on February 6. A Ringling College alum who graduated with a degree in illustration, "he presents a whole different side to design with the program he has on television," says Thompson. "He was able to convert his illustration skills to move into interior design."

An artist, muralist and self-taught builder, Bromstad is now a design personality who has appeared on HGTV Showdown, HGTV's $250,000 Challenge, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Wendy Williams Show, Martha Stewart Living Radio and CNN.

"When we talk about design thinking, a lot of people really don't know what that means," says Thompson. "To me, design thinking is about using the creative elements that designers use to give more of a human feel and touch and component to any operation--whether it's a service business or product. It's bringing the human element into design."

In addition to inspiring and educating professionals, the summit has helped to advance the creative economy in Florida.

"Statewide, economic development officials are always talking about STEM – science, technology, engineering and math," Thompson says. "You really need STEAM. You need arts in there to give the economy some steam. The real explosion in careers is happening in the creative fields. The impact of the summit has been the beginning of conversations about the importance of the creative economy."

Full conference registration costs $495, and includes meals, receptions and activities. Visitors can also register to attend only the Saturday keynote talk by David Bromstad or Saturday's design thinking workshop by Marty Neumeier of Liquid Agency for $100.

Scheduling Summit Speakers

Friday, February 5
Dave Mason, founder, SamataMason
Larry R. Thompson, president of Ringling College of Art and Design
Sir Ken Robinson, author and global creativity consultant
Steven Heller, co-chair in the School of Visual Arts MFA program and former NYT art director
Lynda Barry, cartoonist and graphic novelist
Carl Hodges, scientist and chairman, Seawater Foundation
Yo Santosa, founder of Ferroconcrete
Ravi Adapathya, general manager of global product experience for GE Healthcare
Kath Straub, principal of        
Laura Guido-Clark, consumer design consultant        
Bob Allen, founder, Disney i.d.e.a.sDisney i.d.e.a.s
Alissa Walker, freelance writer for GOOD, Fast Company, Dwell

Saturday, February 6
Susan Szenasy, editor of Metropolis magazine
David Bromstad, host of HGTV's Color Splash
Marty Neumeier, director for Liquid Agency and author of "The Brand Gap''
Alan Brody, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor of theater arts
Surprise Speaker

Kim Cartlidge is a Sarasota-based journalist who thrives on the natural beauty of Sarasota's white quartz beaches, mangrove tunnels and urban-dwelling Sandhill Cranes. Comments? Contact 83 Degrees.
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