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Having started in April as managing director of Holland-based NewNorth Center for Design in Business, Jason Kehrer believes there’s opportunity to expand the nonprofit’s mission to K-12 education. While the “unconsulting” firm typically focuses on applying design thinking to business, government and nonprofits, NewNorth Center has turned its attention to working with teachers, administrators, students and family members at Godfrey Lee Public Schools in Wyoming, as well as other schools. Kehrer thinks that the design-centered thinking approach that’s popular with many private sector organizations has significant crossover appeal for the changing public education sector. Kehrer spoke with MiBiz on how this is playing out. 

Published in Q&A

While large public corporations have the budgets and the reputations for being innovators, they may not be in the best position to focus on transformational innovations. The reason: The average lifespan of a corporate innovation initiative lasts only 18 months, making it difficult to bring transformational change to an organization that’s stuck in a cycle of quarterly financial results.

Published in Small Business

Global consumer products company Newell Rubbermaid Inc. selected Kalamazoo as the site of its new corporate design center because of the strong concentration of designers in the region. Now, local officials hope to leverage the company’s presence to lure more design-related businesses to Southwest Michigan.

Companies are increasingly turning to innovation to drive sales following the Great Recession, according to results of an annual survey.

Published in In the News
Monday, 07 May 2012 09:11

Design Matters Q&A: Stephanie Elhart

Stephanie Elhart is director of communications at NewNorth Center for Design in Business, a nonprofit business and educational organization in Holland. The center offers classes of varying lengths. Twenty percent of participants are designers. The rest want to learn to think like designers to launch new companies or reinvigorate old ones. Elhart, who earned a degree in graphic design from the University of Michigan, worked in marketing, communication and business development services — including at Johnson Controls Inc. and fuel-D — before helping launch NewNorth in 2009. She sees this role as the synthesis of all her prior experiences.

Published in Design Matters

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