Catalyst Voice

CATALYST searches the world for the voices and visions that inspire and catalyze (activate) 21st century creative leaders and practioners to lead as if life matters.

A snapshot of some of our many Catalyst visionary contributors and agents of change hard at work.


A Creative Economy for the 21st Century
Unlocking the potential of the creative class to build prosperous, sustainable and equitable communities.

Richard Florida is an author, thought-leader, advisor, academic and researcher. Esquire has included him on its annual list of “The Best and the Brightest,” and Fast Company dubbed him an “intellectual rock star.” MIT Technology Review recently named him one of the world’s most influential thinkers and TIME magazine recognized his Twitter feed as one of the 140 most influential in the world. Richard Florida points to the growing role and transformative power of creativity in rebuilding capitalism in America.


7-Billion-Art2Designing Peace for the Seven Billion

Alvaro Serrano is pioneer in the world of digital communication, innovation and storytelling. With over 30 years of experience that encompasses broadcasting, web, social media and mobile technology, he has traveled to more than 50 countries, documenting the inter-linkages between people, culture and development. Since 2000, Serrano has been providing the vision and direction for moving UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.

In 2011, as the global population reached the milestone of 7 billion people — more than double the population just 50 years ago. Recognizing the considerable implications of such accelleration on society Serrano envisioned and led a Global Initiative: 7 Billion People | 7 Billion Actions. Its goal was to create a global movement around the challenges, opportunities and implications of population dynamics on sustainability, urbanization, access to health services and youth empowerment. The campaign was a spirited call-to-action and opportunity to forge renewed global commitment for a healthy and sustainable world.


Arts-based Policies in Our Towns and Neighborhoods

Jason Schupbach is the Director of Design at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), where he manages the NEA’s design initiatives and their grantmaking for design. A look inside the important role the NEA plays to promote public knowledge and understanding about the contributions of the arts to our nation’s economy. NEA’s work in Creative Economies and their creative place making initiative,
(Our Town).
Nationwide creative place making successes, which highlight positive outcomes in settings from rural farms and extinct urban factors, to uncared for properties within cosmopolitan city settings and many more; over 75 to date.



Dubai by Design – Beyond Foreigners and Free Zones
Developing Emirati policies to support regional creativity and culture for inclusive growth

Saadia Zahid is a business strategist with a decade of experience in the creative sector in UAE and the Middle East, and is a Pratt Institute Design Management Alumna. As an international brand consultant, she works on projects that build cultural understanding and commercial collaboration between the Middle East and the US creative industries. Saadia works on the Fashion Forward initiative and also interfaces with the Dubai government to re-think its local cultural assets and designing policies for long-term, viable economic growth through creative enterprise. A modern cosmopolitan whose start was fewer than fifty years ago, when Dubai was a low profile port.

Bruce Mau

Re-thinking the Role of Design in Shaping of our Future

Bruce Mau is a designer, a revolutionary, and a visionary. He reminds us that “design is invisible until it fails” and calls for rethinking the role of design in creating the good life and in shaping a positive future. Founder, Bruce Mau Design; Co-Autor of several books collaborations such as Massive Change; Chief Design Officer, Freeman. Through out his work, Bruce Mau seeks to prove that the power of design is boundless, and has the capacity to bring positive change on a global scale. He continues to pursue life’s big question, “Now that we can do anything, what will we do?”



Design for Life – The Eye Writer

This story descibes Mick Ebeling’s unexpected journey into designing a different kind of enabling technology through crowd-sourcing a solution, and taking on the impossible dream of a paralyzed graffiti artist whose career was ended by ALS (aka, Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Today this has propelled Mick’s “Not Impossible” Foundation into global notoriety for designing technology for the sake of humanity. Their storytelling solutions compel others to be part of the solution. It’s their belief that it breaks down barriers and enables greater access for all. Author, speaker, commercial producer, philanthropist, and technology trailblazer, Mick has been honored with: TIME magazines 2010 top 50 creative people and the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award, among numerous others. Most recently won WIRED’s 2015 Agent of Change award for his DIY low cost 3-D-printed prosthetic limbs for wounded children living in the war-torn Sudan region.


Catalyst is a platform for communication and exchange, and it is part of our graduate programs in creative enterprise leadership in
Arts and Cultural Management (ACM)
and Design Management (DM) at Pratt Institute, School of Art. We work with our fellow program participants, alumni, faculty and exemplary practitioners from all types of organizations.