Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

Scott Stowell on the Business of Design

Scott Stowell is creative director of Open, a New York design studio. Here he reveals his approach to taking on projects and how he has cultivated a studio that relies on risk. “We like to do projects that we don’t know how to do,” he says. It’s part of his life motto: “No one has any idea what they’re doing. We’re all just figuring it out.”

TINY: A Story About Living Small

TINY is a nice little documentary on people who have decided for various reasons that they’d be happier living in a very small home. It’s really interesting to watch their process of building the structures and to see the final results. Plus, it definitely makes me want to get rid of some junk.

Now streaming on Netflix.

Harley-Davidson’s First Electric Motorcycle

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Having spent a good chunk of my adult life in Milwaukee, Wisconsin — the home of Harley-Davidson — I grew to appreciate the company’s heritage and their unique bad-ass image. But let’s face it… Harley’s are fucking obnoxious to anyone within a half-mile radius. Times are changing, Harley’s sales are down, and younger generations don’t feel the need to have an extremely loud piece of machinery between their legs. So it’s high time Harley introduces their first ever electric motorcycle, which they are calling Project LiveWire.

As we’re seeing with the Toyota Prius, Nissan Leaf, Tesla, etc., electric vehicles are clearly where the industry is headed. Not only are they more fuel efficient and capable of running off clean energy, they are getting cheaper, more powerful, and the batteries keep getting better all the time. So if we can cut down on both air pollution and noise pollution, it’s a win-win for all. This new bike still makes some noise, which they describe as sounding like a “fighter jet.” But it doesn’t seem to be nearly as bad as the signature Harley sound we all know. I hope they find success with this new direction. It is 2014 after all. Let’s act like it.

Bring your heart to work.

Fast Company Names Most Innovative Companies in Design

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Fast Company just published their list of this year’s 10 most innovative companies in design. They say what’s fueling the best in design is the desire to make life easier and more enjoyable. While that’s definitely true, there’s also a clear move towards products and services that are better for our health and environment, from Nike’s innovative use of materials that are less toxic and create less waste to Warby Parker, who donates a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair purchased. Check out the list here.

IKEA Goes All-In on Sustainability

In this TED talk, Ikea’s chief sustainability officer Steve Howard talks about how we need to move beyond the sacrifices of old “green” products and set our sustainability goals at 100% with products that are better in every way.

"Let’s make beautiful, functional, affordable, sustainable products."

It’s great to hear about corporate leaders taking this kind of position. And as Mr. Howard mentions, we must go beyond just talking about products and discuss how better services, systems, and policies will guide us in a truly sustainable direction.

Pharrell is Making Jeans Out of Recycled Ocean Plastic

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Pharrell Williams has been huge the last year, from hit collaborations with Daft Punk and Robin Thicke to an Oscar nominated song. Now he’s putting his name on an upcoming fashion project called RAW for the Oceans using materials from recycled ocean plastic, which we all know is nasty stuff. Way to go, Pharrell.

LA Launches Bike Friendly Business District

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Notoriously car-centric Los Angeles just launched their first Bicycle Friendly Business District (BFBD) in Northeast L.A. The public-private partnership aimed at bringing more cyclists to commercial corridors will install infrastructure including bike parking, repair stations, bikeways, signage and maps of the bikeway network.

Increasing bike infrastructure is the easiest and lowest cost solution cities can implement to address traffic congestion and air quality issues. Since proper bike infrastructure is safer, it makes biking much less intimidating for people and has the added bonus of not pissing off people in cars who can’t understand why there are bikes in their lane. The more options we have for getting around, the better off we’ll all be.

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An Hour with Bill Murray

Charlie Rose recently sat down with Bill Murray to discuss his career and how he tries to live his life. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed pretty much everything Murray has done, and hearing him talk about it all is every bit as insightful and entertaining as you would hope it to be.