Welcome to the Innovation Industry

13 Nov 2007|Tim Hyer

As of 30 days ago, I am Cheskin’s newest employee. Like many things in my life, I can’t help but feel I got here through pure serendipity. I mean, I’ve always been drawn to the idea of innovation, but I could never quite put my finger on why. As a college student, I paired studies in the visual arts with marketing management because I subconsciously saw correlations between the two. To me, it was essential for business to be creative and for design to be strategic. But aside from the distinction thesis I submitted senior year, I had no idea what that meant in the real world.

Through another stroke of serendipity, I landed my first job in the brand department at a company with a strong appreciation for design. Suddenly, my eyes were opened to a whole new world of people who thought the same way as me! I was introduced to books, magazines and websites that brought clarity to my stray thoughts and fledgling passions. Some called it business strategy. Others, design thinking or creative collaboration. But all emphasized innovation as a necessity for a viable business to survive in today’s market. Seemed there was something to this business + design thing after all.

The power of design was a hot topic in the press. Business schools were revising their curricula to accommodate design and vice-versa. Some of the most powerful companies around the globe were revamping entire business models to incorporate a spirit of design to help them compete. And when it came time for my company to consider an invigoration of corporate culture through design, who would have guessed I’d be there to help lead the effort? It was a very significant time in my development that truly molded my passions and honed my interest in innovation.

Throughout this evolution of experiences, I always found myself looking west for the latest developments in transformative design. Not that the east coast wasn’t stimulating, but there was something about the San Francisco Bay Area that bred the latest trends and insights when it came to innovation. Places like Stanford’s d. school and companies throughout Silicon Valley seemed to lead the way as design visionaries. And now, just a few months later, I find myself at the epicenter of it all. At a company that has built its very foundation on helping others solve business problems through a dedication to innovation. I’m part of the innovation industry!

As a Business Development Manager, it is my job to seek out the opportunities where businesses can benefit and advance themselves through a deep understanding of the people they serve, the cultures they operate in, and the change that’s possible through creative solutions. It’s a great gig. And something I look forward to as I head to work each day.

My welcome to the innovation industry has been a warm one. At Cheskin, I’ve found like minded individuals that challenge me to push my thinking to the next level. The same thought leaders I once read about are now fellow co-workers who I get to engage with and learn from directly. It’s very enlightening. Each day is a new challenge and a new chance to exert my passions. Some days I’m attending conferences, meeting potential partners. Other days I’m in the field, trailing ethnographers and witnessing their research in action. Still others, I’m researching possible opportunities for brands to extend into new markets. It’s a very exciting time to be in the innovation industry and, serendipity or not, I’m grateful for today.

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