Friday Five with Eric Quint of 3M

Eric Quint joined innovation giant 3M in 2013 as their Chief Design Officer where he’s at the helm of the brand’s global design organization focusing on boosting innovation throughout their diverse product divisions. His education in industrial design and degree in mechanical/industrial engineering laid the foundation for his 20+ years of design and management positions. He continues to focus on inspiring the creatives that are changing the industry with hope of elevating brand experience via design around the world. Just recently, Quint spearheaded the design transformation that led to the development of the 3M Design Center, an “incubator” that will target creativity and forward-thinking in design. Take a look at what this design innovator selected for this week’s Friday Five.

1. Ultimate Craftsmanship
Craftsmanship, creativity and design are closely intertwined with innovation. One of my favorite examples is luthier Linda Manzer’s Pikasso, a multi-string instrument, which is unique and highly innovative in terms of sound, design and composition. This 42-string instrument (a guitar, harp and bass), was made possible by Manzer’s craftsmanship in close collaboration with the multi-Grammy award winner and jazz guitarist, Pat Metheny, who had a vision for the sounds he wanted to create in his music through this unique breakthrough instrument. To achieve real innovation, sometimes you have to break the rules to get what you have in your mind.

2. Metropolitan Vibes
One source of inspiration for me is the vibrant, dynamic melting pot of experiences and audiences found in metropolitan cities – and the abundance of energy, spirit and creativity they offer. Cities like Tokyo, Singapore, Shanghai, Paris, London, Sao Paolo, New York and San Francisco (to name a few) offer a fascinating dynamic where people live and work together through one, unified experience. Every city’s scent is different, the food and culture are unique and the fashion and architecture are distinct. Life in these cities is 24/7, and I find the energy inspiring, with an endless invitation to explore forever.

Original source unknown

Original source unknown

3. Improvised Jazz
In my role as Chief Design Officer, one area of focus is the orchestration of relevant customer experiences through design. I have found that the entertainment world is one of the best examples of this. Live entertainment stimulates audiences’ senses across the board. In particular, the improvisation found in jazz music is a highly-engaging showcase of skill, expertise and creativity, which is particularly reminiscent of the design world. My favorite festival is the North Sea Jazz Festival, which comprises three days and 80 concerts, performed by well-known, diverse jazz artists for a passionate audience. Over a 15-year period of me visiting this festival, I have had the pleasure of experiencing performances by jazz heroes ranging from Miles Davis to Al Jarreau and from George Benson to B.B. King.

4. Art of Cooking
The art of cooking and dining is a form of craftsmanship all of its own, as it involves creating a complete culinary experience. I thoroughly enjoy visiting advanced cooking shops, whose vast arrays of kitchen utensils act as a reminder that cooking is an art form. From reading recipe books, to imagining a new dish, selecting the perfect ingredients, preparing it just right and carrying out the final presentation, there is an artistic element at each phase. In the end, all of these components work together to entertain an intimate audience of friends and family. Two of my favorite shops are Kitchen Window in Minneapolis, Minn. or Kookhuis aan de Maes in Maastricht, Netherlands.


5. Story Telling – Cole Morgan
I appreciate the work of Cole Morgan for several reasons: the use of different materials, the refinement of detail, the graphical elements, the combination of techniques, etc. There is a great deal to explore in his work – in fact, when you look closely, you will see that one painting or drawing is a composition of multiple, miniature drawings. I experience each work as a broader image composed of pieces that tell their own part of a story.

Caroline Williamson is Editorial Director of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.