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Becoming an Innovation Architect

Nils Vesk is a proud graduate of UC and what you call an ‘innovation architect’. A self-confessed innovation junkie, Nils spots innovation successes from around the globe, deconstructs them and then couples them with latest innovation strategies to accelerate business growth.

Sounds pretty awesome, but how does one achieve titles such as an innovation architect? What sort of career path leads you down such a track?

Growing up in Sydney with his brother, his parents were formulative in bringing them both into the world with an open mind encouraging them to learn, explore and do throughout the childhood.

Following in his mothers and brothers footsteps with a career in science, Nils commenced his degree realising quickly that science was not for him. Nils had always had an interest in design, art and construction and stumbled across the landscape architecture degree at UC.

It was during an opportunity to go on exchange to California Polytechnic University, one of the top ten design schools in the US, he began to understand landscape architecture in a country that was rapidly adopting this new concept.

During a conversation with one of his favourite Professor’s at CalPoly, he asked for advice about the next step in his career, his wise old Professor told him that it was obvious…you had to start at the end and work your way back from there.

Nils went home that night and wrote his own obituary trying to outline the value in what you do, what you want to be remembered for, how you make people feel and how you have influenced people’s thinking.

The obituary went something like this…”Nils Vesk died at the age of 114 after a hard days surfing, he wrote multiple books, appeared on TV, imparted lessons across the globe and influenced the way people feel, think and do”.

Nils finished University and walked straight into a job that didn’t exist working for a Landscape Architecture and Urban Design Firm. After a few months he was seconded to Singapore working on big jobs designing cities and hotels.

It seems a bit weird, but design is universal, materials may change but principles stay the same.

Due to the politics and ethics of the industry, Nils took a break from Landscape Architecture and retrained as a Yoga teacher and Shiatsu (Japanese Acupressure) Therapist. Combining these new wellness modalities with his design career he began to take on corporate clients leading stress management workshops and health weeks and after scoring an appearance on Channel 10s Yoga TV show, wrote his first book Life’s little toolbox, helping people to lead healthier and happier lives.

Nils began working with leading CEOs to brainstorm ideas that they couldn’t think of themselves to form new business ideas. He led creativity and innovation workshops at a time when no one was applying design thinking in business like he was. With each workshop he ran, he maintained a focus on seeing the clients come out with a clear outcome, be that a plan to build their new ideas to take to market, using what he had learnt at University and applying it to clients and their businesses.

He has been working in the business of generating and realising ideas whilst energising teams for over 15 years. As a professional designer he shares the latest creative thinking to help clients stand out in business, while also tapping into his well-being expertise to ensure clients’ people have the energy required to realise their ideas.

Nils is a finalist in the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Excellence Awards for the Faculty of Arts & Design.

Words by Caitlin Judd

Alumni Stories; Career Tips