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DesignThink with Gensler’s Mary Bledsoe

How did you get involved with Austin Design Week?

I was recommended by friends at SXSW. Since they are the real cool kids I tend to follow where they lead me.

What is DesignThinking?

The top of mind concept as we approach the mentorship of Gensler designers: DesignThinking. What is it, how do we cultivate it, how is it part of the unique perspective of each of our people?

Why is it important to your work at Gensler and the field of architecture?

The truly open and multidisciplinary approach to DesignThinking is perhaps the most inspiring aspect of working at Gensler. Working to grow young talent, to mentor up-down-across ~ all bring a new way of paying forward all the lessons learned, and the skills honed over each of our tenures. This is a turnabout for many seasoned architects and designers, but is perhaps a far healthier approach. We are more open to sharing knowledge when the mental constraints of ‘this is my specific role’ or ‘that is the ‘exact job I am trying to teach this person’ are removed.

How can DesignThinking impact us most?

We work hard to live a culture that proves the best work and the best solutions are a collaborative inclusive process; that we don’t all approach things from the same perspective; and that you can achieve your own success by celebrating the talents and successes of others.

It’s a powerful notion that we at Gensler can shape a person’s experience of the world through our design of space.

In retail, this drives brand loyalty and spending behaviors. In the workplace, it can have enormous impact on the success of an organization through employee performance, innovation, and retention. For a community it can mean socially impactful connections and removed barriers to success.

Design does have the power to change the world.

Thank you Austin Design Week for celebrating our Creative Economy.

Mary Bledsoe is Gensler Austin’s Workplace Studio Director and Design Director, bringing with her over 25 years of professional design experience and leadership. Prior to Gensler, Mary’s career has included interior design leadership roles at several other prestigious design firms in Texas. Mary began her career in high-end retail design, transitioning to corporate interiors in the late nineties. She has since completed a wide range of project types for both public and private sector clients with a particular focus on Technology and Creative Class clients. Mary’s portfolio of work further includes several product collections for clients such as Milliken and Mannington Commercial.

Gensler is a leading architecture, design and planning firm with 46 locations worldwide. We believe in the power of design to transform organizations and improve people’s lives, the value of a multi-disciplinary approach to enable discovery and innovation; and the wisdom of ideas from around the world to enrich our firm and our work.