388: Working Out of the Box with Key Kawamura



This week, I’m speaking with the Co-Founder of Studio Banana, Key Kawamura.

Studio Banana founders Key Kawamura and Ali Ganjavian met and became fast friends while attending the University of East London for their architecture degrees.

Not quite fitting into the places they were working in, they decided to start their own architecture and product design firm, Studio Banana in 2007, further expanding into a wide breadth of creative projects and developing a rich repertoire of entrepreneurial projects in the fields of transdisciplinary creativity, communication, design-led innovation, and education. Studio Banana is responsible for the globally acclaimed OSTRICHPILLOW® and involved in high-yield, high-impact innovative projects for clients such as United Nations, Nestlé, Coca-Cola, Al Jazeera, Ernst & Young, Qatar Foundation, BBDO, McCann Erickson, Santander Bank, Vodafone or Telefonica, among others.

In 2019, they published “Work Out of the Box,” a collection of conversations with industry leaders and case studies from their portfolio to break design-driven transformation down into 13 core principles as a sort of manifesto on how to design work environments and work cultures.

In this episode, Key offers up a great vantage point into the philosophy of Studio Banana, the company culture, their business strategy, and deployment methodology. We also explore the perceived dichotomy between business and creativity, and how an understanding of the constraints and the tension between the two produces an environment where innovation can flourish.

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