Innovation and Design: MTSU University Honors College Spring 2013 Lecture Series

by Janis Brickey* | print pdf

MTSU's University Honors College Spring 2013 Lecture Series developed from conversations about the importance of creativity and innovation in life success. In 2010, Newsweek reported on the decline of creativity scores since the 1990s and warned that a survey of CEOs by IBM indicated that creativity was the "number one leadership competency of the future."

Philip Phillips, MTSU University Honors College interim associate dean, and I designed the series to provide students with a collection of speakers to represent excellence in innovation and creativity. The selection featured a focus on the exploration of creative and innovative accomplishments from multiple fields and perspectives from the past, present, and future. We formulated the series applying the interdisciplinary work of the innovative design firm IDEO. Their multi-decade approach to problem identification and solution generation has garnered numerous major awards connected to design and innovation from various industries.

We developed this lecture series to provide students with various perspectives on innovation. Our intent was to introduce students to the necessity of the multidisciplinary, context-driven immersion philosophy. We felt the speakers exemplified the tenets of observation, empathy, and the ability to share a unique perspective on how design and innovation are connected to our past, present, and future.

Each article included in this edition from selected speakers provides a more comprehensive explanation of their perspectives. Deana Raffo explores the role of self-knowledge in relationships and success throughout life. Lee Martin discussed the role of changing technology and how the entrepreneurial spirit can guide innovation and change. Cliff Roberts was guided by empathy for the next generation of car drivers, his innate drive to solve a problem, and the ability to engage a multidisciplinary team to succeed. Pete Barile has worked in the contract furniture industry for decades and built several successful international companies. His awareness of the global marketplace is derived from his ability to interact with multiple cultures and identify trends.

The speakers and their concepts represented the cross-disciplinary approach of IDEO to identify and solve problems. We treated the development of the lecture series like assembling a multidisciplinary team to present ideas and experiences to the students. We heard they enjoyed the series, and many speakers stayed to answer a myriad of questions from a broad range of students. We hope you are inspired to think differently as you read the articles included in this edition.

[sidebar: Design Thinking]

Lecture Series Speakers

[lecture videos]
  • Deana Raffo, MTSU Department of Management and Marketing, used the Myers Briggs to discuss the role of self-knowledge in leadership.
  • Harry Lee Poe, Union University, a descendent of Edgar Allan Poe's cousin, William, explored Poe's pivotal role in developing the art of the short story and his treatise on the universe that predated Einstein's theory of relativity.
  • Eric Klumpe, MTSU Department of Physics and Astronomy, described the role of the multiuniverses in our knowledge of the universe.
  • Lee Martin, University of Tennessee, talked about the impact of rapidly changing technology and speed of business and product delivery.
  • Cliff Ricketts, MTSU School of Agribusiness and Agriscience, explained his work on gasoline-free automobile travel.
  • George Elvin, architect with Gone Studio, described his work to promote the reduction of plastic dependency in our society through the use of natural products. He challenged students to change the world through design.
  • Janis Brickey, MTSU, discussed creativity and individuals, describing the work of IDEO and involving the class in an ideation session to brainstorm on attracting students to the Honors College.
  • Jonathan Metzi, Vanderbilt Center for Health, Medicine, and Society, spoke about the role of lifestyle in community health.
  • Pete Barile, Daniel Paul Chairs, Morristown, and Carson Newman College international business faculty, explained our collective roles in current product lines and the impact of global marketplace competitiveness on the U.S.
  • Kaylene Gebert, MTSU Department of Speech and Theater, discussed several recent innovations in robotics and asked students to consider the implications on their current and future lives.

* Janis Brickey is an associate professor of interior design in MTSU's Department of Human Science, College of Behavioral and Health Sciences.

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Table of Contents


[See lecture video.]

We developed this lecture series to provide students with various perspectives on innovation. The selection featured a focus on the exploration of creative and innovative accomplishments from multiple fields and perspectives from the
past, present, and future.



Selected Resources

Bronson, P., and Merryman, A. (2010, July 19). The Creativity Crisis. Newsweek. 156 (3), 50-56.

Brown, T. (2009). Change by Design. New York, NY: Harper-Collins.

Brown, T. (2008, June). Design Thinking. Harvard Business Review. 86 (9), 39-50.

Kelley, T., Littman, J., and Peters, T. (2001), Innovation Observed: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America's Leading Design Firm. Crown Business and Random House: New York, NY.