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10 Tools for Managing a Creative Environment

Design and User Experience
Location: 2006 Level: Intermediate

There is a lot to learn from how other industries manage creative professionals. Stage managers wrangle directors, designers, and actors every day, under strict union guidelines. Editors cajole writers into producing on-time(ish) for each week. Conductors balance the needs of dozens of musicians while staying true to the needs of the music. These disciplines can teach us how to build and support creative environments that are conducive to excellent work that is also on-time and on-budget.

Bryan Mason and Sarah Nelson of Adaptive Path will introduce you to 10 techniques used by creative management professionals to get great work from your team.

Photo of Bryan Mason

Bryan Mason


Bryan Mason is a co-fonder and President of Typekit, a service ofr using amazing typography on the web.

He is also a member of the Board of Directors at Adaptive Path, the leading user experience design firm.

Bryan has over ten years of organizational management experience, including work in special event production, political campaign management and not-for-profit arts administration. His special events clients include the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, The White House (Office of Scheduling and Advance), CMP Media Inc. (WEB2000, WEB2001, etc), and Lincoln Center Theater. His political work includes the campaigns of Hillary Rodham Clinton for Senate and for President, New York Attorney General candidate Evan Davis, the 1996 Clinton/Gore campaign and many county and city elections. Bryan spent several years in New York City, working on-, off-, and no-where-near-Broadway. He managed Lincoln Center Theater’s Directors Lab, was the Company Manager for six productions at Playwrights Horizons, and produced sold-out premiere productions at the Edinburgh and New York Fringe Festivals.

Photo of Sarah B. Nelson

Sarah B. Nelson

Hot Studio

Sarah has nearly 15 years of experience in interactive media, designing kiosks, mobile, and online experiences for clients in a variety of industries. She has a particular passion for practice development, conducting research into methods for improving collaboration, supporting creativity, and encouraging innovation. Sarah brings a unique blend of creative vision and technical expertise to her work. Her research-focused approach to interaction design has produced successful results for her clients.

Prior to joining Hot Studio, Sarah was a Design Strategist at Adaptive Path. She developed experience strategies for clients like Flickr, PayCycle, Vanguard Financial, and Skype. Before joining Adaptive Path, Sarah managed the creative team and developed the user experience practice at POP, an interactive design firm in Seattle, Washington.

Her past clients and employers include Federal Home Loan Bank, Home Street Bank, AOL Mobile, MyRide.com, The Metropolitan Opera, The Seattle Symphony, The Royal Victoria and Albert Museum, and Vanguard Financial.

A classically trained violinist, Sarah graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy and received a Bachelors of Art from Oberlin College in visual arts and electronic music. While completing her Masters at the Institute of Design in Chicago, Sarah focused her studies on the definition and design of complex multi-modal systems supporting collaboration and communication.