Genesis of The Knot Collective

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When I began design school at the age of eighteen, it was the first time I was ever exposed to a large group of people whose individual skillsets, interests and backgrounds varied so differently from my own. I was thrust into a new intellectual and creative environment that was completely foreign. Little did I know then how much value that experience actually created. Over the course of five years, I built great friendships with people in a variety of creative disciplines – from automotive design to interactive design to fashion design to architecture and urban planning. My best friends in design school were in programs outside my own discipline and I tended to do a lot of my design work in the car design studio. I spent more time in there than any other place on campus and while they sketched and and modeled vehicles and experimental modes of transportation, I tried my best to make ad campaigns, poster layouts, and animation videos. Simply working in the same studio with people who were creating completely different kinds of projects had an immense effect upon my approach and process, something I didn’t recognize at the time. Additionally, the feedback and criticism from respected people outside my own creative discipline was, in many ways, more valuable than the people within it.

At long last,  everyone graduated. We all went our separate ways into our own companies or agencies. We all involved ourselves within our respected industries and learned a lot from many talented people in that regard. The one thing missing however, was those cross-disciplinary conversations. Acquiring perspectives from smart, talented people with a different frame of reference and the constant ability to see and experience creative work in the periphery of your own had a positive effect. That was, in fact, the ethos of the building itself  – designed by signature architect Peter Eisenman -  a symbolic place bringing separate creative disciplines together under one roof to share ideas.

It’s been awhile since I was in design school. But looking at the world today, the need for a destination to house conversations that spawn new ideas, insights, and creativity is more pertinent than ever. The reality is fast becoming that collaboration is not just a new way of doing things – it’s becoming necessary to survive and be competitive in business. Technology is enabling creative people to work in more ways than ever before and bring great ideas to life. It’s certainly an exciting time to be making things.

The Knot Collective attempts to bridge the gap between these disciplines that are so often siloed to help share knowledge and  cultivate thought leadership for creative businesses. We believe that cross-disciplinary collaboration is the future of innovation and design. We hope the site can serve as a valuable resource and build a thriving community that fosters critical thinking and lively discussion. And we hope that you join in on the conversation.

My longtime friend and product/transportation designer Marc Reisen and I have been discussing and developing the foundation of The Knot Collective for over two years. After thinking about it, building it, rethinking it, and rebuilding it, we’re extremely happy to launch the site today. It has been a long road but a considered one, and a labor of love nonetheless. We have lots of people to thank – everyone who has elected to share their wealth of knowledge as our contributors; everyone who helped shape the site whether through long email threads or spontaneous conversation (you know who you are); and everyone who helped program and build the site to bring it to life. Cheers and many thanks.

Article Info
Posted by: Steve Peck
Thinking About: Collaboration / Creativity / Culture
Location: New York City
Website: http://stevepeck.net
Twitter: @stevenpeck
Comments
  1. Calle Sjoenell

    Great initiative. The legacy of the group generating great output is the last frontier of creativity. People LOVE to hail the chief, the Steve Jobs, James Cameron and Dean Kamens of the world. Truth is, it is always a group effort that shapes, bends and produces any idea in our complex world.

    To me it’s all about setting the ego aside and let the idea be the chief. So keep discussing here, great work Steve.

  2. Steve Peck

    Thanks Calle! Much appreciated and I definitely agree.

  3. Grant Miller

    great stuff here… love the concept of sharing views from a wide variety of disciplines.

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