Ken Musgrave

Ken Musgrave, Director, Experience Design, Dell, Spark 2010 Juror

Who are you, professionally speaking?
A design leader in the technology industry. Our focus is developing products that make technology accessible to more people.  We have several core philosophies; put the user at the center of our decision making,  make technology affordable and accessible, and address the end of the product life through sustainable materials and recycling.

Is your work international, or regionally focused?
Clearly international, which is also where much of the growth in technology is occurring.   Many of our products are designed for the rest of the world, but are also sold in the U.S. as well.  As we continue to mature as a company, more of our designs and more of our creative professionals have global connections.  In fact, there are 13 different languages spoken within the design team.

What is your ideal project or commission?
A project that has an expert user who knows their craft or area of expertise, but cannot easily articulate how our designs can make them better.  I really am personally rewarded when I can understand what they value, determine their latent needs that are hard to articulate, and then delight that customer with designs that expand their imagination of how technology can be applied to what they do.

Have you worked in sustainable materials?
Certainly.  This is an area of priority for our customers and for us.  We focus on the application of sustainable materials and the end-of-life of the product including how the products are disassembled for recycling or re-used.

What are you currently reading?
At this exact moment, SuperFreakonomics, though that should not take too long…

What advise can you offer to a new graduate?
10 – 15 years ago, the average new design graduate had to master only a few competencies, mostly skills-based, and focused on creation.  All of those remain important, but now designers need equal skills in influencing.  Designers need to be great communicators to be influential.  Focus on the creative and the effective.

What do you do for inspiration?
Photography and travel.  Working in the world of the precise, I like to get to places that are visually astounding and remarkably imperfect,  like Oaxaca, Mexico.