A search on Amazon shows 62,000+ books on leadership but almost nothing to help creative team leaders build and sustain a creative environment. Creativity and innovation can be delicate and emotionally fraught processes. Leadership theories are helpful, but what do you do when your star designer suddenly starts mailing it in? Or a project team is frozen in infighting? Or one of your designers just can't find their footing in a new project? When you got your big promotion for being an amazing designer, no one told you that you needed an entirely new skill set.
Sink or swim, baby.
For this session, Sarah B. Nelson gets practical on the topic of creative leadership. From vision development to team alignment, from bottom-up empowerment to top-down intervention, Sarah will inspire you with practical ideas to motivate your team and rouse them to greatness. She will draw on her extensive experience leading creative teams at Adaptive Path and Hot Studio -- and inform the discussion with research and interviews from organizational psychologists, experienced managers, and successful creative leaders.
Sarah B. Nelson is founder and Principal at Tapir
, a design leadership, strategy, and research consulting studio in San Francisco. Sarah believes in—and learned the hard way about—the importance of clear communication, honest relationships, and servant leadership in the design of complex interactive systems.
After 10 years leading web site projects, Sarah realized that a deep understanding of business, technology, and the people who interact with both would lead to better products and services. At the Institute of Design in Chicago, she developed theories for effective collaboration in innovation work based on research with the Neo-Futurists, an experimental theater group with the longest running show in Chicago. She tested her ideas on the ground, developing product strategies, digital experiences, and practice development frameworks for clients such as Nike, The Metropolitan Opera, United Airlines, Skype, Vanguard Funds, PayCycle, Zappos, Intel, and The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She has held creative leadership positions at POP in Seattle, Adaptive Path, and most recently was the Principal of User Experience at Hot Studio.
Of all the people she has "managed" over the years, she still thinks that managing herself is her biggest challenge.