Bruce Nussbaum

Speech Topics

1. Map your creativity. Do the places you go and the people you spend time with inspire you to create? Or are you stuck in a rut?

2. Conduct a Creativity Audit. Creativity often involves connecting different areas of knowledge in surprising new ways. But first you need to “know what you know.”

3. Start Building Your Creativity Portfolio. Once, only art schools looked at P&P–performance and portfolio–to assess admissions. Now, all the top innovation consultancies and an increasing number of high tech companies are following suit.

4. Build a Pivot Circle. You need resources to scale your creative concepts into businesses. Whether you reach out to friends, family, managers, teachers, or angel investors, you need to find the people who can help make your ideas a reality.


1. Framing: We’ve all heard about the power of storytelling, but creative managers understand that actively framing–and reframing–their stories is a much more powerful tool for transforming businesses, and entire industries.

2. Knowledge Mining: There are other ways of gaining knowledge than 10,000 hours of practice. Connecting unrelated bits of knowledge, revitalizing classic ideas with new technology, and digging deep into what we already know as members of a culture, community or generation are strategies to keep your business on the cutting edge.

3. Serious Play beats traditional problem-solving when it comes to engaging customers and building a community. Managers love to talk about “failing fast and often” but why call it “failure” at all?

4. Making: We’ve spent decades thinking, strategizing, and focusing on user experience. But now that we’re witnessing a growing demand for local goods as well as breakthroughs in 3D printing technology, making should be a key aspect of every company’s strategy.

5. Pivoting is the process of taking new ideas and scaling them into actual creations. Is your business equipped to take your ideas to the next level?

Consumers have called Apple products “cool” and “easy to use,” and more sophisticated business analysts applaud Apple’s “ecosystem” of integrated software and hardware. But none of those qualities alone explain why we feel the way we do about what Apple produces. It’s impossible to discuss an iPhone or iPad without mentioning how they look and feel, the emotions they evoke. But, of course, a company cannot live on what it’s already created alone. It has to continually maintain the aura of its products to keep the company going and support its creativity. Can Apple maintain its luster even without its charismatic founder at the helm?

Research shows that new companies, those less than five years old, have been responsible for all the net new jobs in the United States for the past three decades–a fact that flies in the face of what we’ve been led to believe about economic growth. It also serves as evidence of the birth of “Indie Capitalism,” an economic movement that calls for the formation of a vastly larger number of start-ups as well as policies that can help them scale successfully. If Indie Capitalism were to have a single foundational principle, it would be this: Creativity drives capitalism. What would an economy based on innovation and entrepreneurialism look like? That depends: What do you want to create?


click the covers for more information


Bruce Nussbaum blogs, tweets and writes on innovation, design thinking and creativity. The former assistant managing editor for Business Week is a Professor of Innovation and Design at Parsons New School of Design. He is founder of the Innovation & Design online channel; founder of IN: Inside Innovation, a quarterly innovation supplement; blogger on NussbaumOnDesign and tweets on innovation on Twitter. Bruce’s new book is Creative Intelligence: How to Build Creative Confidence, Capacity and Capitalism.

Previously, Mr. Nussbaum was editorial page editor, a position he assumed in February 1993. He is also an essayist and commentator on economic and social issues. Mr. Nussbaum is responsible for starting the magazine’s coverage of the annual Industrial Designers Excellence Awards, the BusinessWeek/Architectural Record Awards for architecture, and The World’s Most Innovating Companies survey. He leads workshops on design and innovation at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Mr. Nussbaum joined BusinessWeek in 1977 to begin an international finance section. In 1980, he became head of the foreign news section, focusing on international business and technological change. In 1985, he left BusinessWeek to become executive editor of Manhattan, Inc, and returned to BusinessWeek in 1986 as senior writer. Prior to joining BusinessWeek, Mr. Nussbaum was a reporter for the Far Eastern Economic Review in Asia and The American Banker in New York.

Mr. Nussbaum’s most recent cover stories include The Power of Design—How IDEO Is Changing The Way Companies Innovate and Get Creative—How To Build Innovative Companies. He managed and edited covers on The World’s Most Innovative Companies; Meet Jonathon Ive–The Man Behind Apple’s Design Magic; and Innovation Champions—The New Breed of Managers And Their Radical Cultures of Creativity. Mr. Nussbaum is the author of two books: The World after Oil: the Shifting Axis of Power and Wealth and Good Intentions, an inside look at medical research on AIDS. His essays have appeared in The Best Business Stories of the Year—2002 and The Best American Political Writing–2004.

Mr. Nussbaum has received awards from the Sigma Delta Chi Journalism Society, the Overseas Press Club, and the West Point Society. He has received the Personal Recognition Award from the Industrial Designers Society of America and the Bronze Apple award from the New York Chapter of the IDSA. In 2005, he was given the John F. Nolan Award by the Design Management Institute. In 2005, I.D. magazine named Mr. Nussbaum as one of the forty most influential people in design. In 2008, he was a Finalist in the annual Design Mind Award given by the National Design Museum of Cooper Hewitt.

Mr. Nussbaum holds a BA in political science from Brooklyn College and a Masters in political science from the University of Michigan. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and taught science to third-graders as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines. Mr. Nussbaum is a member of the Group Action Council on Design for the World Economic Forum.


Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲