144: Karin Hibma: A Pioneer in Design Thinking

Saturday 17th August 2019

A lot of people use the word brand incorrectly without really thinking about what it means. What is strategic identity and how does it allow us to ask the right questions about brands? How do you define a problem and go about solving it? How do we embrace the chaos in our lives? On this episode, the grand dame of design thinking, branding and naming, Karin Hibma talks about creativity, career, and innovation.

I want deep relationships and transformative things that are going to change the world. – Karin Hibma

3 Things We Learned

– There’s a difference between strategic identity and branding

The word “brand” is a label that gets attached to many things, even when it hasn’t been thought out. Too many people invest in brand energy without really knowing who they are and who they want to be.

– Uncertainty breeds creativity

A time of uncertainty is a creative time. If you can accept it and embrace it rather than fight it, so much more value of fruitfulness and happiness will come out of that. If you are able to embrace chaos in that uncertainty there will be more opportunities than when you resist it.

– We’re in a very special time in innovation and design thinking

We are at a nexus point of a lot of technology and innovation like AI and VR. This means when we look back to the era we’re in right now, this age is going to be unrecognizable. We’re not even close to using all the innovation capacity that’s out there. Exciting times are ahead.

For individuals and companies, a lot of the greatest opportunities, moments, innovations and creations come out of the greatest times of uncertainty. Sometimes we make the mistake of trying to ignore and fight through the unknown by looking for a quick solution. If you are able to embrace chaos and be comfortable in that uncertainty, the universe will give you surprising answers.

Guest Bio

Featured in the Harvard Business Review and honored with Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business” award, Karin Hibma is a design, naming and identity legend. She works to see the world through the eyes of customers, using cognitive identity insights and design thinking to find the strategic “big idea” inherent in every project. An early entrepreneur, Hibma founded creative research company Design Resource. She founded Cronan Artefact – their award-winning Walking Man apparel line was sold in one of the earliest online catalogues. Co-founder and principal of : : CRONAN : :, a strategic identity design consultancy working with change-makers looking for innovative answers, from startups to Amazon Kindle, Apple, Estée Lauder / Origins, Levi Strauss & Co., SFMOMA, TiVo and the White House.