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Leading Design + Collaboration + Why Design Thinking with Kareem Collie — DT101 E135

Kareem Collie is an accomplished designer and educator with a rich background in both the corporate and academic worlds. Leading design teams for organizations like Nickelodeon, Coca-Cola, and USA Network, he has driven transformation and engagement through his expertise in visual and user-experience design. As Design Lead at IBM, he was instrumental in innovating user experiences. Currently, as the Design Director and Manager for NASA JPL’s DesignLab, he applies design thinking to communicating and educating about space exploration, bringing a unique intersection of design, science, and technology to the forefront. His thought leadership includes co-editing “The Black Experience in Design” and serving on the AIGA’s national educators steering committee. Today, we talk about how curiosity fuels design thinking, communication, and leadership.

Listen to Learn About

  • A deep dive into the why’s of design thinking
  • Embracing curiosity and seeing where it leads you
  • What it means to truly communicate
  • Kareem’s wonderful, meandering path through design and design thinking

Portrait of Kareem Collie

Our Guest

Kareem Collie is an accomplished designer and educator with a rich background in both the corporate and academic worlds. Leading design teams for organizations like Nickelodeon, Coca-Cola, and USA Network, he has driven transformation and engagement through his expertise in visual and user-experience design. As Design Lead at IBM, he was instrumental in innovating user experiences. Currently, as the Design Director and Manager for NASA JPL’s DesignLab, he applies design thinking to communicating and educating about space exploration, bringing a unique intersection of design, science, and technology to the forefront.
Before IBM, Kareem was the Director of Design at The Hive, where he merged design thinking with liberal arts and encouraged interdisciplinary collaboration. He has also lectured at prestigious institutions like Stanford University and Pratt Institute.
His thought leadership includes co-editing “The Black Experience in Design” and serving on the AIGA’s national educators steering committee. He is a frequent speaker, exhibitor, and podcast guest, solidifying his status in the design community. Kareem holds advanced degrees from NYU and Pratt Institute.
With a focus on user-experience and visual design, and a commitment to critical explorations of culture, Kareem Collie continually seeks impactful opportunities through design.

Show Highlights

[02:19] Kareem’s path to working at NASA.
[03:27] Being a creative child.
[04:14] Attending Brooklyn Technical High School and studying architecture.
[05:22] Discovering new media/digital art while at Howard University.
[05:57] Transferring to the Pratt Institute to study graphic design and art direction, and falling in love with design.
[07:06] Kareem’s early years in the design industry.
[07:55] Co-founding a design studio and teaching at the Pratt Institute.
[09:02] Getting to design his own graduate degree curriculum at Gallatin at NYU.
[10:18] Going to Stanford’s d.school.
[11:02] Becoming the Associate Director and the Rick and Susan Sontag Center for Collaborative Creativity aka “The Hive” at Claremont College.
[12:03] Passing through IBM before becoming the Head of Design at NASA’s JPL Lab.
[15:07] Dawan and Kareem share memories of travel and exploration and sharing a curiosity about the world.
[20:30] Communication and being vulnerable.
[22:33] Communication is collaboration.
[23:40] Dawan talks about needing to be willing to change during the experience of communicating with someone.
[27:05] One of the things Kareem loves most is being part of a learning journey with others.
[30:28] What it means to be a leader and how Kareem developed his own sense of leadership.
[33:20] The importance of embracing and being OK with ambiguity.
[39:15] Design thinking has helped Kareem better understand his own thought processes.
[40:00] Kareem hops onto his soapbox about why he loves design thinking and wants others to understand it better.
[42:40] Developing the Critical Design Studio course at Claremont.
[46:11] Design changes how we see and move through the world.
[49:28] Design thinking gives students an alternative way of looking at a thing, whatever that thing might be.

Links

Kareem on LinkedIn
Kareem’s website
Kareem on Undefined by Design
Hello from the Pluriverse: Season 1 Ep 28 with Kareem Collie
The Black Experience in Design

Book Recommendations

The Black Experience in Design: Identity, Expression & Reflection, edited by Anne Berry, Kareem Collie, Penina Acayo Laker, Lesley-Ann Noel, Jennifer Rittner, and Kelly Walters

Design Thinking 101 Episodes You Might Like

Building Design Capacity + Measuring Design Value + Designing Studios with Doug Powell — DT101 E16
A Designer’s Journey into Designing for Health and Healthcare with Lorna Ross — DT101 E45
Working and Leading at the Intersection of Engineering, Business and Design with Kevin Bethune — DT101 E76

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