Kevin Bethune

Founder & Chief Creative Officer of dreams • design + life | Author, Reimagining Design: Unlocking Strategic Innovation

Kevin's background spans engineering, business and design in equal proportion over his 20+ year career, positioning him to help brands deliver meaningful innovations to enrich people's lives.

Kevin Bethune is the Founder & Chief Creative Officer of dreams • design + life, a "think tank" that delivers design & innovation services using a human-centered approach. Kevin's background spans engineering, business and design in equal proportion over his 20+ year career, positioning him to help brands deliver meaningful innovations to enrich people's lives.

His work represents creative problem-solving that brings multidisciplinary teams together to see the future through an open aperture, and a deep industrial design approach to inform and influence desirable, feasible and business-viable design outcomes.

Kevin began his career as a mechanical engineer in the nuclear power industry. This chapter gave him deep product experience working with high performing teams across 14 nuclear reactor upgrade campaigns. After his MBA, Kevin joined Nike, Inc. in a business capacity, but quickly navigated to the Global Footwear product engine to drive advanced digital product creation capabilities, discovering the world of design in the process. After solidifying his creative foundation through further studies at ArtCenter College of Design, Kevin co-founded distinct design & innovation capabilities at two Tier 1 management consulting firms in Booz & Co. and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). As Vice President of Strategic Design at BCG Digital Ventures, he led a large cohort of designers that would influence and shape every corporate venture spun out from the incubator. Kevin left BCG Digital Ventures to carve his own path under the banner of dreams • design + life, focusing on unlocking human potential through strategic design, industrial design and the building of new ecologies. Kevin also serves as a Board Trustee for ArtCenter College of Design and the Board Chair for the Design Management Institute (DMI).

Speech topics

The Power of Transformative Design

Multidisciplinary leaps, and diversity: lessons from a Black professional's journey through corporate America.

Design offers so much more than an aesthetically pleasing logo or banner, a beautification add-on after the heavy lifting. In Reimagining Design, Kevin Bethune shows how design provides a unique angle on problem-solving—how it can be leveraged strategically to cultivate innovation and anchor multidisciplinary teamwork. As he does so, he describes his journey as a Black professional through corporate America, revealing the power of transformative design, multidisciplinary leaps, and diversity. Bethune, who began as an engineer at Westinghouse, moved on to Nike (where he designed Air Jordans), and now works as a sought-after consultant on design and innovation, shows how design can transform both individual lives and organizations.

In Bethune's account, diversity, equity, and inclusion emerge as a recurring theme. He shows how, as we leverage design for innovation, we also need to consider the broader ecological implications of our decisions and acknowledge the threads of systemic injustice in order to realize positive change. His book is for anyone who has felt like the “other”—and also for allies who want to encourage anti-racist, anti-sexist and anti-ageist behaviors in the workplace. Design transformation takes leadership—leaders who do not act as gatekeepers but, with agility and nimbleness, build teams that mirror the marketplace.

Design in harmony with other disciplines can be incredibly powerful; multidisciplinary team collaboration is the foundation of future innovation. With insight and compassion, Bethune provides a framework for bringing this about.

Books

Reimagining Design: Unlocking Strategic Innovation

The power of transformative design, multidisciplinary leaps, and diversity: lessons from a Black professional’s journey through corporate America.

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