This Is A Prototype: S1•E7 Rama Gheerawo

Rama Gheerawo is the director of the Helen Hamlyn Center for Design at the Royal College of Art in the UK, and the author of a book that should be on all of our reading lists, Creative Leadership, Born from Design. In his book, Rama asks not only whether designers can actually be leaders, but whether we can in fact be better leaders because of our creative capabilities and qualities. If you’ve listened to any previous episodes of this podcast, you know that this is one of the central questions I’ve been asking with all of my guests. In this episode, Rama and I go deep on the epidemic of impostor syndrome among design leaders, and we explore his framework for creative leadership that’s built on the principles of Empathy, Clarity and Creativity. Rama also shares with us some inspiring world leaders who embody these principles.

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We are in the midst of an unprecedented time in the history of the design profession. Businesses are investing in design at rates never before seen—building scaled design teams of hundreds and even thousands of designers, and hiring design leaders into executive roles giving them influence and access at the highest levels. As an executive design leader myself, I’m fascinated by the experience of designers moving into these new leadership roles. For most of us this is completely uncharted territory, the jobs are often undefined and there is rarely a roadmap or playbook to help us succeed, so most of us have had to learn on the job.In each episode of This is a Prototype, I invite two design leaders who have traveled very different life and career journeys to share their stories, compare notes, and talk about what it takes to be a leader in this new era of design.