I met Sarah B. Nelson in Spring 2006, as she was figuring out where she wanted a summer internship while she was getting her masters from the Institute of Design in Chicago. When she shared her student work, one thing stood out among the rest -- a paper she had written on the creative process of the Neo-Futurists (PDF), a remarkable avant-garde theater troupe. Having seen them perform, I loved Sarah's deconstruction of how they work, and I knew that I wanted to work with anyone who thought like that.
Sarah came on as an intern, and never went back to school. For three years, she developed into a leader at Adaptive Path, before striking out on her own. That Neo-Futurist paper has proven indicative of where Sarah's mind is at—as long as I've known her, she's been devoted to understanding how organizations can function to better deliver on creativity.
At UX Week 2011, Sarah gave a talk titled “Effective Creative Leadership”, which encapsulates her thinking about just how organizations, and the people within them, can work to deliver their best. It was among my favorite talks this past year, and, personally, I've loved seeing how Sarah's work has evolved since I've known her. Give yourself 30 minutes and watch what she has to say.
If you want more of Sarah (and the Neo-Futurists), enter the Wayback machine, and watch her conversation with Neo-Futurist Jay Torrance, about their creative process: