Our Q&A with August speaker, Tim Allen, who will be talking on the topic of Genius.

🎟 You can get tickets for her upcoming CreativeMornings talk here. 🎟

Tim Allen was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business for 2017. He brings his roots in product, service design, and strategy to his current role leading teams of designers across Microsoft’s new Fluent Design System and Inclusive Design group envisioning the next shift in computing. His focus on fueling human potential is key to building products and cultures that inspire people to do their best work.

 Prior to Microsoft, Tim combined design, storytelling, and technology to innovate on behalf of global brands such as Google, Hyatt, and GE as President, Wolff Olins North America. At Amazon, he helped lead experience design for Amazon Echo, Fire TV, and Kindle products as Executive Creative Director. Tim also shaped the vision for one of the largest Experience Design teams in the United States at R/GA, whose Nike+ work established the future of connected experiences for brands. Through innovative work with Adobe, Red Hat, and IBM, Tim holds seven patents related to software design, ranging from chat interface modeling to mobile device synchronization.

 As an additional outlet for his passion around design strategy and practice, Tim instructs at schools and events around the world.

[CreativeMornings (CM)] How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?
[Tim Allen (TA)] Similar to the notion from an athletic apparel company that if you have a body, you’re an athlete, if you have a mind, you are creative. Creativity is innate to humans. It allows us to adapt to physical, cognitive and social challenges as a survival skill. Things start to get interesting when that gift for survival is used for something beyond the preservation of our existence. Creativity can also make our lives and the lives of others more meaningful, more delightful, and sometimes more magical. I think pursuing that level of creativity is a privilege. Whether it is your vocation, hobby or passing interest. I’m passionate about the intersection of logical problem solving and imaginative personal expression. Playing/Creating in the space between observed insights that are universally human and forms of expression and adaptation that are uniquely individual is a fascinating pursuit. In my experience, that is where the rare occurrence of genius lies. 

[CM] Where do you find your best creative inspiration?  
[TA] For me, it’s when and not where. It’s the 60min transition between sleeping and waking. For some reason, my mind is able to process all of the various inputs (articles, books, podcasts, conversations, observations, etc) from the previous days/weeks and organize them in unexpected, creative ways. It’s when my imagination is at its peak so I just try to write down or draw as much as possible during that time without trying to rationalize, doubt or analyze the connections. The moment I start thinking about anything mundane for the upcoming day is the exact moment when the flood of creativity stops. 

[CM] What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?
[TA] I was advised by a mentor that “People will not truly care how much you know until they know how much you care." 

It’s advice that speaks to being aware and considerate about your relationship to an audience and any related subject matter. The audience, in this case, could be anyone or any group - a manager, a customer, a teacher, a spouse, etc. There is no shortage of people that crave being seen as the smartest person in the room, in the meeting, in the relationship, or on the team. But it’s been proven many times in my experience that communicating subject matter expertise isn’t nearly as effective as being vulnerable/humble enough to convey how much a subject matter means to you and why. I’ve found that success can lie more in establishing a common purpose than in establishing your individual credentials. 

[CM] Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?
[TA] It would be a toss up between Eddie Opara (Pentagram) and Steve Johnson (Netflix). Actually, I’d love to hear them both speak at CreativeMornings. Their stories are amazing, they’re masterful at their craft and they are both hilarious. Moreover, they are also people of color that have reached a rare level of executive seniority in the design industry. I would love to hear more stories from people like them. 

[CM] What did you learn from your most memorable creative failure?
[TA] For me, it was freshman year in design school. My first crit was an abomination. I didn’t know if I was cut out for all of this design business - the other students didn’t act like me, they certainly didn’t look like me, and I had the nagging thought of "What was I doing in this studio with all of these ‘real designers’?”

That’s when I received one of the greatest pieces of advice I’ve ever had when my professor spoke to me after class and said, “…you know the anxiety that you’re experiencing is natural. Fear and uncertainty can ruin you or be your best ally. Embrace your fear. Seek out ways to step into the unknown. It is the single best way to grow as a designer.”

After that, the thought that what I felt was not only natural but HEALTHY was pivotal for me. I soon learned to befriend and channel fear and uncertainty and it led to huge leaps in my evolution as a designer.


[CM] When you get stuck creatively, what is the first thing you do to get unstuck?
[TA] I take a run whenever the creative juices aren’t flowing. It never fails to help me make new connections and spark new ideas. It’s a great burst of energy and the since of accomplishment gives me some needed confidence when I’m feeling like a creative challenge is getting the best of me. I also try to run in a beautiful setting as well, preferably near water. It just feels good! :)


Creative Jam, an inspiring two-part design experience that demonstrates and celebrates creativity.

Please join us on July 20th for a Creative Jam focused on UX Design, an inspiring two-part design experience that demonstrates and celebrates creativity. The Adobe Creative Cloud team will host the Creative Jam presentations.

This one-hour design showcase highlights the work of 3 creative leaders. At the same time, in the next room, hand-picked Designers will be competing in the Creative Jam tournament, a 3-hour design charrette showdown. Participants will be using Adobe XD.

Once the Creative Jam presentations wrap, tournament participants will take the stage to share their creations with you. As part of the audience, you’ll vote on each submission and select the People’s Choice winner. There will also be Grand Prize winners decided by a group of judges!

Register to Attend https://nvite.com/CreativeJam/seattle2017


Local creative leaders will be on site and would love to see your work.

The reviews are a 1-on-1 opportunity to meet for 15 minutes with a creative professional before the main event. Getting feedback is valuable in knowing how to attract new clients and represent your work.

Sign up here: http://tinyurl.com/creativejamreview and we will provide you with the exact time and place of your review.


Doors open. Settle in, and meet your fellow creative community. Free food, beer, and wine available. The tournament will be in full swing—pop your head in and see how it’s developing. Portfolio reviews will be taking place for those who reserved a spot before the event.

Creative Jam Talks begin. Sit back as local creative leaders walk you through their personal creative process.

Creative Jam tournament competitors share their solutions, inspired by a theme announced just 3-hours before. Audience and Judges vote. Awards follow.

Everyone socializes and gets to meet the teams.

We imagine a world where we’re seen and heard, respected and valued, not for our appearance and privilege, but for our work and character. A world where anyone, anywhere, has equal access to opportunities and resources to become the person they dream about. The formula for equality is a work in progress, and this work is not done from the few with power but rather through the power of community.

Equality is harmony. Harmony isn’t achieved through one instrument; it’s a collaboration, a symphony of sounds that adds richness and texture to the bigger picture. The pursuit of equality is a long-term game, an unraveling of outdated processes that no longer serves the future we imagine or deserve.

This month’s global exploration of Equality is chosen by our Johannesburg chapter, illustrated by Katt Phatlane, and presented by… Adobe! Yes, you read that correctly.

We’re thrilled to announce that we’re partnering with Adobe to stretch our collective mission in connecting and empowering creative communities around the world.  

With Adobe’s indispensable tools and decades of experience in enabling creatives to bring their ideas to life, along with CreativeMornings’ unwavering commitment to unite and inspire cities with face-to-face connections, we’re honored to be partnering with another company that is eager to champion the future of creativity and add fuel to the engine of generosity. Read more about it!

Our Q&A with July speaker Sara Porkalob who will be talking on the topic of Equality.
🎟 You can get tickets for her upcoming CreativeMornings talk here. 🎟

Sara Porkalob is an award winning solo performer, director, and theatre theorist/activist recently recognized on City Art’s 2017 Future Listand currently serving as Intiman Theatre’s 2017 Co-Curator. She is a co-founder of DeConstruct, an online journal of intersectional performance critique. Her original musical about her gangster Filipino family, DRAGON LADY, will be premiering this fall at Intiman Theatre and in spring 2018 the show will be traveling to American Repertory Theatre as part of their Oberon Presents series. Learn more at www.saraporkalob.com

CreativeMornings [CM]: How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?  

Sara Porkalob [SP]: As an artist activist, my career is built around collaboration and creativity. For me, creativity is: consistently challenging yours and others’ normalized ways of thinking and doing. 

[CM]: Where do you find your best creative inspiration?

[SP]: I always find the best inspiration in: my family, stories of POC resisting white supremacy, and Ali Wong.

[CM]: What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?

[SP]: As a woman of color and someone who grew up poor-I wish I had had someone tell me that the mainstream historical and contemporary narratives of POC women are highly problematic because they are often not written by or creatively controlled by POC women. 

[CM]: Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?

[SP]: Desdemona Chiang (Theatre Director)

[CM]: Where was the last place you travelled?

[SP]: The last place I traveled was Scandinavia (Sweden and Norway) to look at a grad-program in Intersectional Gender Studies at Linkoping University.

[CM]: What is the one question we haven’t asked that you want to answer?

[SP]: “What are your favorite places to eat in Seattle?” WELL, LET ME TELL YOU. I love food and I love sharing new dining experiences with friends. My favorite places in Seattle are: Little Sheep (Mongolian Chinese Hot Pot in the International District), Xi-an Noodles (Spicy, hand-pulled noodles in the U-district), and Saigon Deli (All things Vietnamese and the best banh mi in town). 

It’s every creative’s dream to have the freedom and opportunity to focus solely on their personal projects while also being supported fully to pursue their very best work. The Adobe Creative Residency is this kind of unique opportunity. Their residency program empowers talented individuals to spend a year focusing on a personal creative project, while sharing their experience and process with the creative community.

2017 Adobe Creative Residents are designer & visual data storyteller Jessica Bellamy, graphic designer & longboarder Chelsea Burton, graphic designer & letterer Rosa Kammermeier, photographer Aundre Larrow, user experience designer Natalie Lew, and photographer Julia Nimke. For the next year, Adobe will be providing these six Residents with access to the best creative tools and resources, along with guidance from advisors and a full salary package. This is a unique opportunity to be supported by a creative community with a space to talk about your process, tools, resources and mentors. All rooting for your success.

Dive into their portfolios & learn more about the program: adobe.ly/1VXWfdv

🎟 You can get tickets for her upcoming CreativeMornings talk here. 🎟

Jenny Wilkson founded the letterpress program at the School of Visual Concepts (SVC) in 2001. Originally a book designer, she holds a Master of Arts in Design from UC Berkeley, and is fortunate to be one of the few of her generation to have undergone a traditional letterpress apprenticeship. In 2012, she co-created the wiki website Letterpress Commons. These days she oversees the operations, curriculum and community outreach of SVC’s letterpress shop at the School’s facility in South Lake Union—the epicenter of Seattle’s tech boom. Through SVC, she facilitates creative collaborations with local nonprofits and directs the annual Letterpress Wayzgoose and the mighty Steamroller Smackdown—a friendly competition where design teams print giant posters with a steamroller instead of a printing press.

CreativeMornings [CM]: How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?  

Jenny Wilkson [JW]: Creativity is in the innovative idea, and not whether or not you carry it out with your own two hands. Sometimes I lament having chosen to spend a disproportionate amount of time facilitating instead of making. But recently a letterpress student exclaimed that I have the best job in the world—I get to help others come up with creative ideas.

[CM]: Where do you find your best creative inspiration?

[JW]: I look to my bookshelf or the public library. The material found in printed books is better curated than a deluge of internet search results.

[CM]: What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?

[JW]: Finding an appreciative audience for your work isn’t selling out.

[CM]: What are you reading these days?

[JW]:I just finished reading Bit Rot by Douglas Coupland—an entertaining collection of essays and short fiction about technology and humanity. (Thanks to Scott Boms from Facebook Analog Lab for the recommendation!) Now I’m feeling nostalgic for Douglas Coupland’s Generation X, which I haven’t read since high school. I’ll bet it’s going to be as hilarious as watching Singles again, 25 years later.

[CM]: How does your life and career compare to what you envisioned for your future when you were a sixth grader?

[JW]:I remember very clearly as a child telling someone that I wanted to be surrounded by stacks of paper when I grew up. I thought maybe I’d own a stationery store. I was eerily close.

🎟 You can get tickets for his upcoming CreativeMornings talk here. 🎟

CreativeMornings [CM]: How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?  

Surya Vanka [SV]: Creativity is an inborn ability of every single human on this planet. Whether they label themselves “creatives” or not, everyone is creative in all kinds of small ways in their own lives. The average person’s way of being creative is innate but untrained, so it tends to be a stab-in-the-dark process and is limited to their own lives.  As a designer, I have had thousands of hours of study and practice in channeling my own creativity into disciplined, systematic and repeatable way. I can do this so it is available on-demand and in service of others.

[CM]: Where do you find your best creative inspiration?

[SV]: Observation of the lives of others. Curiosity and wonder at another person’s experience of the world. Humility to allowed to be part of the beautiful creative process.

[CM]: What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?

[SV]: Don’t postpone doing that project you dream of doing perfectly sometime in some perfect future. That perfect future becomes the busy present and quickly the past. Do your dream project imperfectly right now, or your dream project will remain just that - a dream.

[CM]: Who would you like to hear speak at Creative Mornings?  

[SV]: Sonam Wangchuck

[CM]: How does your life and career compare to what you envisioned for your future when you were a sixth grader?

[SV]: My dream when was a sixth grader in India was to be a designer, but at that age I did not know such a career existed nor did I know that such a career even had a name. Through a series of fortunate accidents, I have now found myself doing exactly what I wanted to do when I was ten years old. How lucky!

[CM]: How would you describe what you do in a single sentence to a stranger?

[SV]: I try to release the creativity of millions of people through the power of design.

Did you get a professional headshot at our April event, by the always wonderful John Cornicello (www.cornicello.com) take a look and download your photo at out Faces of CreativeMornings page.

We want to say Thank You to our global partner, Shutterstock.

Our Photographer
John Cornicello is a Seattle-based photographer specializing in headshots that people notice and portraits people remember. You might recognize John as the event photographer for some of the CreativeMornings presentations or as the “lighting guy” on many CreativeLive educational programs. John and his wife, Kim, have created an intimate, yet comfortable, safe, and fun studio photography setting here in Seattle to offer a great photo experience.

See more of his work Website or Instagram.

🎟 You can get tickets for his upcoming CreativeMornings talk here. 🎟

CreativeMornings [CM]: How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?  

Felix Hiebeck [FH]: I still have a hard time defining creativity. I remember when I was younger, I thought it meant having a lot of great ideas. While there can be beautiful serendipity in creative work, one of the things I learned in my career so far is that only a small portion of what people call creativity is really having these eureka-type moments. Most of it is about doing the footwork of understanding the landscape of the given situation, formulating many solutions, and refining them based on feedback; all while resisting the urge to just go with that one idea you really like.

[CM]: Where do you find your best creative inspiration?

[FH]: I don’t really have that one place that I get inspiration from. However, I will say that a good portion of my project ideas came while using public transportation. There is something about the time on a train or bus where my mind can just wander without real distractions.

[CM]: What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?

[FH]: “Better done than perfect”. Especially as a student when working on projects I would get hung up on technical details that did not matter at the end. Since then I found that moving fast, realizing a quick prototype, and then iterating based on your own learnings and user feedback is much more fruitful than obsessing over small details, especially early in the process.

[CM]: Who would you like to hear speak at Creative Mornings?  

[FH]: Chef Chris Young of ChefSteps. I have never met him, but I admire his and ChefSteps’ work. I also just love listening to people talk about cooking, especially in a scientific way.

[CM]: What’s your one guilty creative indulgence?

[FH]: I have a thing for all kinds of buttons and knobs. There is a box in my drawer with an ever-growing collection of things that click and spin. I rarely get to use them in a project, but it makes me happy to fiddle with them from time to time.

[CM]: If you could interview anyone living or dead, but not a celebrity, who would it be and why?

[FH]: Not an interview, but I would love to see a panel with some of the earliest human-computer interaction pioneers. Doug Engelbart, Alan Kay,Muriel Cooper, Ivan Sutherland, Seymour Papert, and Marvin Minsky; these people are the architects of the way we currently interact with computers. Seeing them discuss Twitter, Snapchat, and Candy Crush would be fascinating to me.

🎟  You can get tickets for his upcoming CreativeMornings talk here. 🎟

CreativeMornings [CM]: How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?

S. Surface [SS]: I don’t worry about defining creativity or applying it to how I spend my time. My policy is to do or make what is right for a situation, regardless of whether that calls for anything creative or innovative.    

[CM]: Where do you find your best creative inspiration?

[SS]: Sometimes, issues come up that need to be addressed, so I follow them. I rely more on discernment than inspiration.

[CM]: What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?

[SS]: Be interesting. Have good ideas, and take initiative to share them with others. Aggressively claim credit and demand recognition and compensation for what you contribute, and also emphatically and warmly recognize the sources that inform you.  

[CM]: Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings? 

[SS]: Sara Zewde, landscape architect
Davida Ingram, artist and writer
Dr. micha cárdenas, designer, artist
Robert McNeel, software engineer with a highly influential employee-owned company  
Aseem Agarwala, visual research scientist
Ian Curry, industrial designer

[CM]: What fact about you would surprise people?

[SS]: I have a goofy, vulgar and infantile sense of humor that is largely contingent upon alliteration, portmanteaus and puns. Maybe that is unsurprising?