– Founder & CEO Delivers Inspirational Lecture on Design and Innovation –
Wellesley resident Brian Matt of Altitude, Inc. was recently invited to address a group of New York City high school students at Sweat Equity Enterprises (SEE). As Founder & CEO of Altitude, Inc., one of the country’s most creative innovation firms, Mr. Matt presented details of his company and business experiences as well as insights into relevant and responsible changes within the design industry and how to use design thinking to solve real-world business challenges.
Sweat Equity Enterprises (www.sweatequityenterprises.org), founded by Marc Ecko in 2004, is a non-profit organization known for its groundbreaking collaboration between youth and industry; creating an innovation lab for companies and an incredible learning environment for teenagers. Altitude has been raising funds for this organization since fall 2008, donating 100% of the proceeds generated by sales from the “Altitude Store.” This online store, a feature of the philanthropy section of altitudeinc.com, is comprised of unique items designed by Altitude staff members, including hats, t-shirts, coffee mugs and courier bags. Apparel is available for men, women and children and boasts a variety of eco-conscious messages and graphics promoting environmental sustainability.
SEE challenges youth to analyze and demystify the products and media that most captivate them, then develop their own original professional-quality designs for corporate partners. This learning method is proven to increase their personal, academic and professional skills. At the same time, companies gain fresh creative ideas and market research, enhance their brand through sustainability, and cultivate a talented and diverse workforce of the future.
When asked by the students to identify the most important attribute for their future success, Matt responded, “Believe in yourself, work through your dreams and set goals high enough to stretch yourself. Take daily steps of pursuit, and one day those steps will look like a leap.”
Matt later concluded, “Design thinking is a useful tool. The success of the ‘Information Age’ is over; billions of information bits are a few mouse clicks away. Enter the ‘Creative Age’ whereby the world will look to us right-brained experts to design-think our way past the mess the left-brainers took so long to create. You guys are our future.”
“All of the feedback has been very positive. Our students found the presentation informative, interesting and inspirational,” remarks Leo Bullaro, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Sweat Equity Enterprises. “Mr. Matt is a captivating speaker and we were delighted to have him share his business expertise and passion for design with our students.”
SEE teen designer, Raymond Bargallo, 16, explained his process in a quote in TransWorld Business, “I started by doing research and finding inspiration, then I put the elements together by sketching on paper and using Photoshop™. I had to think about who I wanted to sell to and why they would buy my product. You have to think about your audience: the consumer. It is different from a regular art class where you are just making a project for your portfolio; this is real.”
Mr. Matt knows that successful innovation goes beyond utilizing talent, knowing the latest technology, and seeking differentiation. As founder of Altitude, a collective of creative thinkers united in a common purpose to bring their clients success in product innovation, he uses his formidable experience, familiarity with developing markets, and keen observational skills to offer clients expertise in consumer insights, design innovation, product realization, and brand communications. He is a sought after speaker at universities, corporations, conferences and professional organizations, has published numerous articles about design and business, and volunteers with many outreach programs.