Michael Ellsworth is the co-founder of Civilization, a design practice that works with causes, clients and partners that share their commitment for creating positive change and promoting a greater awareness of the world. In this episode of Getting Work To Work, we talk about the origins of Civilization’s mission, the nature of design in today’s world, the lineage of design throughout history, the importance of education, and the impact a global perspective of design has had on Civilization.

Several quotes from this episode:

  • “All the designers that we really admired throughout history have used their talents to make a statement.”
  • “At the end of the day, no matter how hard it was, or how broke we are, it feels good to go to sleep at night knowing that you’re trying to make a positive difference.”
  • “We just love design, we love creative thinking, we love to bring people together. So, we just get excited about ideas.”
  • “To me, design is a series of choices. When it’s at its best, those choices are infused with meaning, empathy, sustainability, and aimed to create meaningful connections.”
  • “I believe you have to use everything in your power to empower others and connect with others.”
  • On overcoming the fear of using your voice: “If you replace the notion of fear with the idea of courage, it does make it a whole lot easier.”
  • “If you are courageous, you’re going to stick out and people are going to respect that. Yeah, you might alienate some people, but do you really want to work with those people anyway? And is that going to get you the work that you want?”
  • “Having fear is natural and the only way to be brave is to fight that fear.”
  • “One totally scary thing to do: we’re going to ask our heroes to come out and hopefully we don’t look like fools.”
  • “What I get really excited about is looking back at things that were done 50, 75 years ago and it’s just as relevant and just as cool and fresh as today cause it was built with meaning. It accidentally lasted.”

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