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Keith Yamashita, founder and chairman of SYPartners, spoke at PSFK Conference 2014 about the need to remain open-minded and receptive to new ideas as a creative person. You can follow his unique presentation here.
When Yamashita and his two colleagues started SYPartners they were approached by Apple to design a line of “shelf wobblers.” These wobblers, or flags that prompted customers to buy Apple products over competing software on adjacent shelves, opened the business partners to the idea of reaching out to big brands.
After Yamashita and his partners were approached by big investors from the likes of IBM and Trimble Navigation, the first GPS model, he realized that no company is too small to help get big ideas off the ground.
“Starting from a pure place of very clear, open-hearted tension led to the great ability to add creativity to the world,” he says.
Yamashita’s hero designers, famed married design duo Charles and Ray Eames, were among the first to approach the design world with this mindset. He credits Charles’ quote, “We work because it’s a chain reaction. Each subject leads to the next” as one of the foundations for what he strives for as s designer.
Soon into his company’s success, Yamashita was approached to be a brand fellow for an IBM post that had to use design “on behalf of the world to harness IBM’s talents to make a bigger difference” and based on Eames’ ‘chain reaction’ logic.
“This brand fellow role for me was exactly that same kind of chain reaction. Getting into it, we started to learn about to how apply technology and the power of design to make water smarter, to make retail and commerce with less friction, to make our supply chain of food something that was simpler, to build our infrastructures in a way that was more resilient and able to change and transform.”
One of those transformations is the app called “Unstuck,” which helps creative people who are stuck in whatever idea they are pursuing. People use the app to reach out to others for suggestions and inspiration. Yamashita announced for the first time that the app is now available for smartphones.
Yamashita says that he and he his team used the logic that “acts of greatness are part of an ensemble” to create a new suite of tools called “Teamworks,” which focus on the nine essential components for effective teamwork. This set of tools has reached out to teams around the world to create effective partnerships and products.
As a final charge to his audience, Yamashita urged the group of creative minds to remain open to new opportunities and new ideas from unexpected sources.
“Be careful what you wish for,” he says. “Speak your intention, listen to the whispers of the universe, trust your instinct about what’s important. And if you do all of that, sometimes extraordinary things happen.” Watch Yamashita's full talk below, and follow along with his presentation here.
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