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406: The Punk Rock Innovation Strategy with Paul Stonick, VP of SCADpro at Savannah College of Art and Design

Paul Stonick, VP of SCADpro at Savannah College of Art and Design

Paul Stonick is a punk. Like, an “opened for Red Hot Chili Peppers before they were cool” kind of punk. He started in web design in the mid-90’s, then pivoted to UX in 2012. With 18 years in e-commerce, fashion, beauty, home improvement, and automotive, as well as 15 years in executive design leadership roles, he has over two decades of “tra-digital” experience in brand creative, visual, and UX design. Now, in the third act of his career as Vice President of SCADpro at Savannah College of Art and Design, Paul tells us it’s the opportunity to develop the next generation of design leaders as they work to integrate design innovation and overcome old-school obstructionism that inspires him. 

Savannah College of Art and Design is not an art school. They are a creative university, preparing students for their creative professions. SCAD was founded in 1978, and today they have over 17,500 students, over 100 different majors and minors, and a 99% rate of employment after graduation. SCADpro, Paul’s department, is the university’s collaborative innovation studio. He tells us they sit at the intersection of art design and business by generating business solutions for the world’s most influential brands, like Google, Amazon, Apple, NASA, Delta, BMW, Volvo, Uber, Mayo Clinic, The Home Depot, P&G, and Chick-fil-A.

In this episode, Alan and Paul discuss the new book he contributed to, his early brushes with punk royalty, and what makes Savannah College of Art and Design more than just an “art school.” They talk about what SCADpro is doing, some of the partnerships they have developed, and what type of work they have done to date. Paul also tells us why design has to be integrated into the top ranks of businesses, what he is teaching students about navigating corporate obstruction and finding like-minded people, and how the punks are taking over corporate America.

“Some of my greatest work will never appear in my portfolio.”

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why Savannah College of Art and Design is NOT just an “art school”
  • The Chick-fil-A drive-through and other SCADpro projects
  • How the punks are taking over corporate America

Key Highlights:

  • [02:20] A lover of music, maybe even INXS
  • [03:40] Opening for the Red Hot Chili Peppers?! 
  • [05:15] From Anthony Kiedis to the next generation of design leaders
  • [07:20] Savannah College of Art and Design is not an art school.
  • [08:00] SCADpro: the university’s collaborative innovation studio
  • [09:00] The BDR side of SCADpro
  • [09:45] Love the Chick-fil-A drive-through? Thank SCADpro!
  • [12:10] “Innovation” is being abused.
  • [13:25] Show the math!
  • [15:05] Navigating corporate obstruction and finding like-minded people
  • [18:05] Punks and Pinstripes 
  • [21:40] Be unconventional
  • [23:45] “The data will set you free.”
  • [24:50] It’s all about the Gen Z mindset.
  • [25:45] No, really, it’s all about the Gen Z mindset (and AI).

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