DESIGN, LIPPINCOTT, NEW YORK NY
Mick McConnell is a design partner at Lippincott, a global brand and innovation consultancy. He’s based in the New York office. He ensures all brand touchpoints — including physical and digital — are holistically united through one experiential condition. At Lippincott, he uses this expertise to help companies identify new opportunities for growth, design products and services that manifest this future, and develop prototypes and pilots for testing in market. Mick has deep experience in retail, direct to consumer, and commercial development work, leading projects for Spark Telecom, Techstars, Nike, H&M, and many others. Prior to joining Lippincott, he was a Senior VP at WeWork and led the Innovation practice. Previously, he was head of design for Samsung Electronics America’s marketing team, global head of design for Chipotle, and an Executive Creative Director at R/GA. An accomplished conference speaker, Mick has presented in the UK, Germany, US, Canada, and Switzerland on design strategy, 360-degree design solutions, product and service design and workplace trends. He has been teaching at the university level since 1998 and has taught design studio and seminars at Yale, Harvard, Syracuse and Michigan and now currently at Pratt Institute. He holds a BSAS (Hons) in Architecture from the University of Nebraska and a Masters in Architecture from the same school. He also studied experiential design at the Southern California Institute of Architecture and authored a book in 1994 about the program and its place in time during the LA Riots.
Has the pandemic changed your workplace and your workflow? Do you expect to return to pre-pandemic ways of working or will any changes become the ‘new normal’?
For me, the most dramatic change has been the lack of travel, which has increased productivity. I’ve had more time to be hands-on and actually get more involved in the design — concept, development and even production. In that sense, it’s been incredible. As a manager, I found myself delegating and even critiquing things I was not fluent in. I have used this time to develop my working knowledge of Figma, Blender and other tools. When the pandemic is over — and my six-year-old can return to school —I am hopeful that the new-found appreciation for the work combined with over 25 years of experience will allow me to better lead projects and teams.
What do you expect 2021 to hold for graphic designers and the design business? Have the challenges of 2020 changed the way you think about your job and career or the role of design?
I have spent much of 2020 helping brands understand the impact of COVID-19 on their business and innovating around new products and services. Graphic design did not suffer in these projects; I think it remains as important a discipline as it ever was. To me, the most interesting outcome of 2020 was awareness; awareness of how we work, how we interact, who we work with, and more. Design has been impacted greatly by this because, as designers, we have an incredible opportunity and responsibility to communicate this change. For several years, I have been lecturing on five areas of professional development and their interdependency; discovering interests, making connections, gaining knowledge, developing understanding, and doing good. For every project undertaken, I try to do my best to elevate the possibilities and outcomes to be those that better serve the greater good.
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