Next Up: NEXUS

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Bruce Mau isn’t going to change the world. However, he will tell you where to position yourself in order to do so. On May 1, 2014, the Canadian-born visionary emerged from his island of Winettka and spoke to a packed house in Morningstar’s red-cushioned theater.

Between consulting, educating, and publishing, Mau shares his wisdom, but it’s up to us to get our hands dirty and affect real change. In order to do this, we must work at the nexus of art + technology + science—the science of what’s possible combined with technology that allows us to do the possible, and “none of that is worth anything if it doesn’t make you cry”.

Mau’s current gig is working with the Imagineering team at Disney. Most people allow failure, and at Pixar they calculate how much failure is allowed to keep producing number one box office hits. Fourteen consecutive to be exact. Mau was brought in to capture the culture so they can keep it going, reproduce it to perpetuate their work at the nexus. As Mau points out, one cannot innovate by doing what one knows. Design is a learning methodology. If you’re not learning you are just doing what you are good at. Repeating. And that’s production. In many contexts that’s okay, but not at the nexus.

During the Q&A, one brave soul asked about transplanting those imagineers out of Hollywood and into Washington D.C. Well, they’re already working on that. A team of imagineers figured out how to throw a car, a rover, onto Mars and have it land. Over the next fifty years, these imagineers are doing a moonshot, thinking about the best possible things they can do for humanity. Perhaps, we all should take a step back and ask ourselves the same thing.

Written originally for AIGA Chicago

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