Freeman Creates Design Council to Innovate the Brand Experience Channel

October 19, 2016

DALLAS – Oct. 19, 2016 Freeman, the world’s leading provider of brand experiences, announced today the new Freeman Design Leadership Council, an influential group of 10 global design visionaries and leading experts tapped to collaboratively push the future of design for the brand experience category.

The council was created and selected by Freeman chief design officer, award-winning design industry legend and author Bruce Mau. The group will advise Freeman as curators of relevant developments in their areas of expertise to accelerate the strategic transformation of branded experiences for Freeman, and ultimately the industry as a whole. The council was unveiled one day before Mau is to be honored by the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum as a 2016 National Design Awards winner.

“The council members represent diverse, essential aspects of design innovation, and we are excited to bring these big thinkers together to exchange ideas and motivate change in the growing medium of brand experience,” Mau said. “I am deeply honored to be able to lead this team and drive the transformative change that will shape our industry for years to come.”

Council members have deep areas of expertise in specialties ranging from managing organizations for innovation, to designing new experiences both real and virtual, to best practices for designing artificial intelligence and data analytics. Membership to the council will not be limited to a set number and will evolve over time. The initial 10 council members are:

Alex McDowell, Creative Director, Experimental Design Director, World Building Institute, World Building Media Lab, USC School of Cinematic Arts

Bruce Vaughn, Former Chief Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering

Charles Adler, Co-founder, Kickstarter, Founder Lost Arts

David Butler, VP, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Coca-Cola

Gina Warren, Executive Vice President of Culture & Talent, lululemon athletica

Haluk Kulin, Founder, Personal BlackBox

Itamar Kubovy, Executive Producer, Pilobolus

Peter McGrath, Former Leader of the Creative Studio of Walt Disney Imagineering, Executive of Creative Development

Robert Schmidle Jr., United States Marine Corps (Ret.)

Sergei Gepshtein, Scientist, Director for Adaptive Sensory Technologies, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies

“When we look around, it’s clear that the important, transformational work is being done by companies and brands that embrace a design perspective,” said Bob Priest-Heck, president of Freeman. “The creation of this design council is an important next step in embracing Bruce Mau’s methodology to make massive change possible. As a global leader in brand experience, Freeman acknowledges that the notion of being data driven is inseparable from being a design brand.”

Itamar Kubovy, executive producer of the internationally acclaimed arts organization Pilobolus, who also serves as curator of the council, said, “It’s an honor to be invited by Bruce and Freeman to help find, assemble, and coordinate these leaders in enterprise design to accelerate the evolution of a field.”

Kubovy continued, “Freeman’s long-standing track record with some of the world’s biggest brands provides a huge opportunity not just to reimagine, but to make a real impact on what’s possible in live experience design. The council I’m helping Bruce and Freeman assemble will work collectively to catalyze change in diverse areas, both inside the company and in terms of what we are able to offer our partners.”

The future is now with the Freeman Learning Cycle

Beyond the Freeman Design Leadership Council, Freeman is formulating the future of live engagements with new offerings like the Freeman Learning Cycle, a design-driven methodology to capture and capitalize on project intelligence, resulting in higher-quality work, better client satisfaction, and reduced inefficiencies.

“While we have a long-standing relationship with Freeman, we have been working to strengthen our business through the Freeman Learning Cycle for over two years and in doing so, have created immersive experiences that pushed the boundaries and delivered outcomes never imagined. We have seen tremendous increases in revenue and more activations than ever before,” said Nancy Walsh, president of Reed Exhibitions, North America. “I applaud Freeman for having the courage and foresight to look outside of their industry for a different perspective and expertise that have had a profound impact on our business.”

Looking to the future and honoring a legend

Mau is being recognized by the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum as a 2016 National Design Awards winner at a gala on October 20. The prestigious awards recognize excellence and innovation across a variety of disciplines. Mau was awarded the Design Mind, given in recognition of a visionary who has had a profound impact on design theory, practice, or public awareness. The awards are accompanied each year by National Design Week, which will take place Oct.15–23 and which includes a variety of public education programs, panel discussions, and workshops.

In more than a quarter-century of design work, Mau has been committed to creative, healthy, ecological, and economic abundance. He is the co-founder and CEO of Massive Change Network design consultancy, which applies the transformative power of enterprise design to bring massive change on a global scale. Mau’s role at Freeman, modeled on the long-running relationship between designer George Nelson and furniture company Herman Miller, allows Mau the flexibility to guide a strategic partnership with his Massive Change Network and collaborate on other projects.

About Freeman

Freeman is the world’s largest brand experience company. We help our clients design, plan, and deliver immersive experiences for their most important audiences. Through comprehensive solutions including strategy, creative, logistics, digital solutions, and event technology, Freeman helps increase engagement and drive business results. What makes us different is our collaborative culture, intuitive knowledge, global perspective, and personalized approach, gained from our 90 years as an industry leader. Freeman is a family-owned company with 90+ locations worldwide, and over 7,000 employees, 2,000 of which are located outside of the U.S. For more information, visit

About Bruce Mau and Massive Change Network

Bruce Mau is a world-leading visionary, innovator, and author who is widely regarded as one of the most influential designers of his generation. He is co-founder and CEO of the Massive Change Network design consultancy, which applies the transformative power of design thinking and an enterprise design approach to helping businesses and institutions innovate. Mau has worked with leading companies, including Coca-Cola, The Walt Disney Company, McDonald’s, MoMA, Herman Miller, and the Seattle Public Library; with countries that include Guatemala, Denmark, and Saudi Arabia; and alongside star architects Frank Gehry and Rem Koolhaas on design collaborations. Mau and his team recently completed a three-year project with Walt Disney Imagineering, and Mau designed a master plan for Mecca to reimagine this historic site for the challenges of the next 1,000 years. For more information, visit

This site uses cookies and other technologies, so we can remember you and understand how you and other visitors use our site. By continuing to browse, cookies will be set on your device. For more information, see our Cookie Policy.