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Making an Impact in the Creative Field (Design and Creative Leadership, Ethical Design and Circular Design Thinking)

By Ana Perez ’23, Project Manager and Graduate Assistant of Design

What impact do designers make on the world? Regarding Leadership, what contribution can an artistic person make? Studying Leadership helps us understand that we can make an impact wherever we are, regardless of our professional field. As someone who graduated with a master’s degree in Leadership and currently works in the creative field, it is evident that there is a clear correlation between how both achievements tie to one another, contributing to solving the world’s problems.

While studying Leadership, I discovered how many leadership styles and approaches relate to my work. Understanding Authentic, Servant, Transformational, and Situational Leadership approaches allowed me to identify the skills I want to master to be the leader I aspire to be. However, I clearly understood the relationship between Leadership and my career once I discovered the concepts that tie them together and give the real purpose of what I do as a professional. Design and Creativity Leadership, Ethical Design, and Circular Design Thinking impact my perspective as a designer. It made me realize the importance of my work as a creator and, most notably, the purpose behind what I do.

Design Leadership
According to an article called, What Does A Design Leader Do?, “Leading Design is about building a team, empowering them, and enabling the business to thrive with collective design knowledge as an advantage.” Another leadership article, 8 Critical Skills Of Effective Design Leaders, explains that design leaders are inspiring, confident, and creative. They inspire their teams with experience, hard work, emotional intelligence, future obsession, the ability to trust to rise to the top, and talent. However, according to the blog post, it goes beyond that. Design leaders are obsessed with developing the next generation of extraordinary designers and design leaders.

Having the opportunity to work with design students, I have learned that designers are knowledgeable; their job is to find solutions to problems, achieving this every day with creativity and visually stunning pieces. Their creativity is endless because they devote their lives to perfecting that skill. Our job as design leaders is to trust them, motivate them, allow them to express their creativity, and let them amaze us with their insights and solutions. Because trust me, they will amaze us!

Creative Leadership
Creative Leadership, often called Innovation Leadership, is the ability to create and realize innovative solutions, especially in structurally complex or changing situations. Creative Leadership is more critical than ever, especially in businesses. This is because the world is changing rapidly, and how we do business changes constantly. How are you inspiring your team to become more creative? Are you facing new technological challenges with creativity?

According to The Economist’sEconomist’s Global Talent Index Report 2012, research surveys show that a lack of creativity is seen as new hires’ most serious shortcoming. Similarly, creativity is seen as an essential leadership quality in a 2012 study of IBM under over 1500 CEOs.

According to an article from Indeed.com, 8 Ways to Use Creativity in Leadership, creativity promotes problem-solving, encourages a positive work environment, helps you navigate change, and generates financial growth.

When I am not creating designs, I am consuming designs. When I see a design piece made by another designer, I like to see it and mentally break down the process of creating it myself, and then I like to think about the easiest way to do it. The constant generation of ideas and the small daily challenges help me keep my brain creative, and it has helped me see every challenging project as an opportunity to prove to myself that I am able and that my creativity is limitless. When it comes to my team, I love to ask a lot of questions. Questions are the best generators of ideas. The diversity of responses and ideas is essential to develop creative and innovative solutions.

Ethical Design
According to an article called, The Principles Of Ethical Design (And How To Use Them), Ethical Design is designing great products alongside your morals and beliefs and the principles of your business. What you create, whether a website, a marketing campaign, or a product, affects real people, and those effects can create ripples. According to What Exactly Is Ethical Design? How Can Designers Achieve It? Ethical Design refers to design that:

  • Resists manipulative patterns.
  • Respects data privacy.
  • Encourages co-design.
  • It is accessible and human-centered.

In an ever-changing world where the concept of being ethical changes from culture to culture and many aspects keep being normalized, it is vital to keep in mind values that cannot be changed in any circumstance, no matter how dynamic the world can be.

One of the reasons why I love working for the O’Pake Institute is its mission. As their designer, I can expose, inform and promote that mission. My personal and professional values align with O’Pake’s mission statement; this is essential to finding purpose in my daily work. My advice? Spend some time discovering your core values, write them down, list them, and make sure the company you work for is aligned with them. Nothing is more fulfilling than working for a company that shares your values and principles.

Circular Design Thinking
The next big thing is circular design. Circular Design Thinking consists of a design that must be driven by purpose. The circular design firmly believes that designers are enablers of positive change and impact. Innovation is fundamental to a circular economy because it determines what we eat, our clothes, the buildings we live and work in, and the systems that deliver food and mobility. Circular Design Thinking is based on three principles driven by design: eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials (at their highest value), and regenerate nature. With the circular design, we can prevent the creation of waste and pollution right at the start.

“If the environment was your client, how would your product change? What feedback would the environment give about your product? What is the most sustainable behavior your product encourages?”

How would you answer these questions? What would happen if millions of people bought your product? Would it change the world positively or negatively?

Questions like these are essential to understand whether we work for or against the environment. (Learn more about your Design’sDesign’s impact by visiting The Tarot Cards Of Tech.. This website will change your perspective forever).

Check the Circular Design Guide to learn more about this impactful way of designing!


  • Make a difference wherever you are. What you do matters, and it is impactful.
  • Discover your core values, live intentionally, and make sure you work for a company that appreciates that in you and share your same morals.
  • Practice creativity every day. Creativity is among the most important leadership qualities in our ever-changing world because it helps navigate change with a positive mindset.
  • Design as the environment was your client! Your creations have an impact; consider this every time you start a project.

The next big thing is Circular! Learn about Circular Design Thinking and be ready to contribute to the shift.

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