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Jody Turner

Based in San Francisco, Jody Turner is the founder and CEO of Culture of Future and has contributed to projects for Nike, Starbucks and IDEO among others. Her background in design and archaeology allow her to meld the consumer's “object of desire” with power and meaning. Ms. Turner’s Apple article previews can be found at her website, www.cultureoffuture.com. Additionally, she will be speaking on March 23 at the Henry

March 7th interview by board member Allison Gegan.

How do you explain what you do to your great aunt (or grandfather, great grandmother, etc)?
Wow, there is no one older than my siblings and I at this point, which says a good deal. I create things as I go along with no explanation needed, no one tracking so no one blocking. If I had to explain it to an imaginary elder I would say I am using trend language and the power of timeless trends to influence consumption patterns for culture and societal growth.

Tell us what you're working on now.
Just completed three more Apple articles that may post sometime this year: Conscious Color; Radical Craft; Vintage Music and Color. Posted an internal blog last week for Old Navy/Gap called: 'Culture Feed.' Just presented to 300 people last week at the Hospitality and Design Conference in Sonoma.

Is there anything about this project that you weren't expecting?
The blog was surprising. The pleasure in doing this was immense.... it is a powerful tool. Bringing it inside the company firewalls was everything you would imagine.... lots of tech red tape. The Apple articles are becoming more meaningful to me. As I continue to lecture I speak my own truth more and more and it seems to be well received.

Is that a good or a bad thing.
I wonder where it will possibly lead?

What is your favorite song this week?
Just heard an interview on 'Fresh Air' with the Glasgow Belle and Sebastian band.... enjoy their sound and the focus on back-storytelling (www.belleandsebastian.com)

How do you find your clients?
Intuitively connecting, word of mouth, putting ideas out there with Apple articles, lectures and such.

Is there anyone you won't work with?
I seem to function in a model that has shifted from 'EITHER/OR' believing that change is being effected by 'ANDISM' or a bringing of balance to where it is needed. We can move each other along from here without casting blame, we are all engaged in what we have created in front of us and can all be engaged in the solutions.

That said, I had a design opportunity to work on a London Lucky Strike project once and had to say no. Since my mother passed on due to her long-term relationship with cigarettes (not a pretty way to go) I couldn't find meaning in it and couldn't take the project on.

That said I would not serve anyone well if I worked on projects that were more powerful than I and that I could not bring balance to. Like cigarettes or the future of war. But then again, what if many of us brainstormed on shifting such futures?

Who or what makes you feel star struck?
Marcel Wanders. He helps us all to remember the creative and artistic child within. Check out his work and you will see what I mean. www.marcelwanders.com

Al Gore and Lawrence Bender. Check out their upcoming movie and the carbon emissions tool on www.climatecrisis.net. Way to go.

What moments of the day are your favorite?
Watching the sky from bed.

Who are some famous marketers from history? What is the world's oldest brand?
When you derive ideas from the current to future consumer it is difficult to look back and/or sideways. I want to say something profound like The Shaman and love, or something knowledgeable about the marketing industry but it falls flat. I seem to drift to my childhood and think of reading DC comics while watching the 60 second black & white TV spot that we had to listen to because there was no remote. Prior to that as a young child I lived in Germany and picked up the lovely illustrated brochures that came with our Salamander Shoes. I have it to this day. That said, perhaps illustrated story and iconography are our oldest marketing vehicle.

Do you think today's public is saturated with design, and therefore less likely to be swayed by it?
There was a time I had to explain what I did as a designer here in the U.S.; there wasn't a mass concept of it. As we evolve this creative culture consumers are taking it to the next level by redefining themselves as creative contributors. Designers are learning to expand their roles to bigger influences beyond brand to encompass process. This is our future path anyway. As consumers and creatives we get tired of ourselves and take it to the next level, this action is speeding up to a faster pace. Change will be happening more rapidly within the design culture.

What's your idea of an important achievement?
Generally speaking helping someone, evolving myself, uplifting the state of things is always rewarding, don't you think? Specifically I would love to bring a joyful sustainable design culture forward, even to places that may think they are beyond repair. I would feel accomplished to create things we feel enchanted with from beginning to end. A friend once said the iconography of a brand 'represents' even when it is in the landfill.

Any advice for students?
Be who you are and have confidence in it. Each generation brings the evolutionary step so don't second-guess yourself too much, don't doubt, do what you are here to do. Youth are at an important tipping point and know what they need to do to bring balance, it is inherent.

It is a time of BEING, DOING AND HAVING versus the old model of DOING, BEING, THEN HAVING. This means 'be who you are meant to be and having will follow.' The HAVING will be redefined as you get there versus believing in the 'hand-me-down' ideas of mega-having from the elders. (Bobbi Silten the Gap Philanthropist brought this new paradigm sequence my way, thank you Bobbi.)

Elders and youth must recognize together that youth are bringing in a new world. I encourage this for many youth are wiser beyond their years and can bring powerful forces of change. After all, they grew up within technology and will be designing things far different than we can conceive of (those of us born before technology).

If you could run any country, which one would it be?
Hmmm, wouldn't or at least couldn't imagine it. I'd love to live in Amsterdam however!

Is there a book or author you feel every designer should know?
Right now I like 'A Whole New Mind' by Daniel Pink because he reaches the business and design minds and is asking everyone to move forward into their passion.

Is there anything about the future that scares you?
Many, many global concerns have brought sleepless bouts, yet many are motivations to bring it down to the the moment, nature and each other as a result.

Jody will be speaking on March 23 at the Henry

Jody Turner at a glance
Culture of Future