Thoughtform is happy to announce that Laura Springer has become the newest member of our team of strategists. We sat down with Laura this week to talk about recyclable running shoes, regenerative systems design, and the irresistible sing-along that is Alanis Morissette.
Tell us a bit about your background.
I have a background in Industrial Design and Design Strategy, with over a decade of experience creating successful consumer products and visionary north stars for prominent global home appliance brands. While I enjoy crafting aesthetic and functional designs, my true passion lies in front-end problem solving and sense-making. I’m energized by getting into the “nitty gritty” details, uncovering insights, identifying opportunities, and discovering the “why” behind the “what.” I thrive on collaborating with teams to bring clarity and tangible structure to complex challenges, and see my role as laying a solid foundation for brands and companies to build upon.
What’s an example of design you admire today?
I’m inspired by sustainability and circular/regenerative systems design, particularly brands that elevate their commitment with circular services. For example, On, the Swiss performance shoe and clothing brand, and their circular sportswear subscription model, Cyclon (introduced in 2021). The subscription positions running as a service, allowing subscribers to receive, wear the latest in running sportswear, and effortlessly exchange products at the end of their lifecycle. The returned items are fully recycled, and the raw material is used to create new running gear. Oh, and did I mention that the products are all made from castor beans?!
I admire brands that not only prioritize environmental responsibility in their manufacturing but also in how the products are disposed of. The added convenience for the subscribers helps to remove a barrier to entry for sustainability making it a win/win for the consumer and the planet.
What advice do you have for someone starting down a similar career path to your own?
Don’t worry if your career path isn’t linear; it’s perfectly fine to pivot and evolve as you discover your true passions and strengths. Initially, I pursued fashion at an art and design college, only to realize my stronger affinity for industrial design. Over the years as a professional product designer, I found greater fulfillment in connecting the dots and solving complex problems, ultimately leading me to pivot towards design strategy. This evolution wasn’t a sudden shift. It was a culmination of numerous experiences, projects, successes, failures, and substantial personal and professional growth.
A few other things, too:
- Cultivate Curiosity: Consistently ask questions, both to others and yourself. This curiosity will open doors to opportunities you might otherwise miss.
- Engage Across Departments: Interact with professionals from different business areas. You’ll gain valuable inspiration, knowledge, and unique perspectives to apply to the problems you tackle.
- Explore Beyond Your Academic Background: Don’t hesitate to step outside the boundaries of your core education. Some of the most powerful learning experiences come from hands-on situations, especially in real-world scenarios.
Who’s currently on your work playlist?
I don’t have a specific “work playlist.” I tend to play music based on my mood or the types of creative tasks I’m working on. But it’s safe to say that my musical taste is eclectic—I like what I like. Some of my favorites include Sylvan Esso, Daft Punk, Fleetwood Mac, Sierra Ferrell, Dr. Dog, and Japanese Breakfast. My guilty pleasure is ’90s music from my childhood, you know, the kind of soundtrack you would hear while shopping for groceries. Go ahead and judge me, but I can’t resist singing along to some Alanis Morissette or Ace of Base.