ThoughtForm is happy to announce that Wendy Manning has become the newest member of our team of business designers. We sat down with Wendy this week to talk all about her professional journey, and how she uses her design thinking skills to give back to the community.
Tell us a bit about your background
My strategy career has spanned several industries, disciplines and leadership opportunities. At the core of every career opportunity I’ve explored is a deep sense of curiosity and optimism, and a belief in the power of people to be amazing and improve the world. I consider myself a problem finder. Someone who distills problem symptoms into rich opportunities.
I also like to use my strategy gifts to help solve problems of housing and food insecurity, to provide educational opportunities for elite high school experiences, and create empowering experiences for women and girls.
What’s an example of design you admire today?
The discipline of design as we learned it centers a Western, male perspective for solving problems, which leaves out a lot of perspectives. I’m curious about how to foster innovation using methods from a wider range of cultures and voices. One great example of this is the architect Sir David Adejay. His Instagram sketchbook, @adejay_visual, highlights African structures and—I like to think—problem finding methods.
What advice do you have for someone just getting started down a similar career path to your own?
Care, listen and reflect. We all bring our smarts to work, but it has also served me well to bring my heart. Caring about people, problems, processes, and new opportunities sparks my curiosity. Listening to how people talk about pain points and desires creates a view of what improvement might feel like. Creating time and space to reflect and allow ideas to integrate. Good non-work fun fuels problem finding.
Who’s currently on your work playlist?
My current work listening is John Coltrane: A Love Supreme. All the way.