Why we started Ideas

My first question was: why now? As I turned over stones and looked under bridges, I wondered, where’s the storytelling and context for all of this astounding creative work? It seems, for too long, design lived in a mysterious black box. Time to lift the lid.

At the time of this announcement of our new project, called “Ideas,” the world is fundamentally different from when this endeavor began.

The purpose, though, remains the same.

It is to tell stories.

From Hamlet to The Hunger Games, stories are the lifeblood of our species. Stories awaken our cells and our senses. They are bridges to undiscovered frontiers that open our eyes to new revelations. Stories are how we connect with one another, how we learn, and how we dream about and create change—whether in ourselves or in the world.

As someone who failed my way through school, who never wrote creatively or read books until I had my own blogging platform, it was the stories of other writers and entrepreneurs who generously shared their experiences and insights that made me believe in my path forward. I could vicariously learn through their experiences and remix those insights to shape my own becoming. My path to becoming a writer was only made possible because of the burgeoning world of blogging and the stories told by others. The rest was practice.

It gave me hope and a belief that the life I sought to lead was possible. That is the quintessential essence of stories—as modes of hope that inspire action and reveal what can be, rather than simply what is.

Before I came to work at COLLINS, while I was in the interview process, I learned about this team’s astounding design projects and how they were using design to build new futures for clients in a wide range of industries. I was enchanted by their use of mythology, science fiction, photography, fashion, psychology, technology, and storytelling.

I was gripped by the idea of starting a platform to tell their stories, driven by a desire to share their knowledge for the benefit of others. It reminded me of Seneca’s words to his dear friend Lucilus:

“…nothing, however outstanding and however helpful, will ever give me any pleasure if the knowledge is to be for my benefit alone.… There is no enjoying the possession of anything valuable unless one has someone to share it with.”

Our goal is to create context, not content; to use the company’s successes and our wide history of project experiences to talk about building futures with creativity and design; to start new conversations.

Having worked in different creative communities throughout my career, design was always viewed as valuable and important. Like many people, though, I knew about design, but I didn’t truly understand it.

Over the last year, my proximity to the team’s expertise has fundamentally reshaped my appreciation—and has grown a newfound love—for design. I went from knowing about design, to understanding design, to feeling design. It was like putting on glasses for the first time and seeing the world anew.

People design fabric for drapes and design global security systems. People design labels on packages and design entirely new cities. People design websites and design regenerative agriculture systems.

What do these all have in common? Design is a way to reflect our present and to build new futures.

When “Ideas” was in its early stages of development, we relied on trends and data to predict the future. Now, we can’t see beyond today. Any sudden change agent can make the whole system tremble.

Hope is not a fanciful delusion. It is fuel for our actions in creating better tomorrows.

Design, as I’ve come to learn in my time here, is hope made visible.

We wave the flag of Rebecca Solnit’s words on hope:

“To hope is to gamble. It’s to bet on the future, on your desires, on the possibility that an open heart and uncertainty is better than gloom and safety. To hope is dangerous, and yet it is the opposite of fear, for to live is to risk … I say all this to you because hope is not like a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. I say this because hope is an axe you break down doors with … To hope is to give yourself to the future, and that commitment to the future makes the present inhabitable.”

What started as an experiment has grown into an unwavering commitment. My obligation and promise to you, dear reader, is to provide context, not just content. To tell stories rooted in our personal experiences with a posture of generosity and a desire to teach.

Thank you for being here. We hope this becomes useful to you.

— Paul Jun, Editorial Director / COLLINS Ideas

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