I’ve just returned from giving a keynote talk at Northwood University in Midland, Michigan, hosted by the Alden B. Dow Creativity Center. Alden B. Dow was one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s top architect students, and he had a long successful practice. (If Midland sounds vaguely familiar, it might be because Dow Chemical is located there.) The Dow family donated the land that the university is on, and A. B. Dow designed most of the buildings on the Northwood campus, including the NADA center where the conference took place.
Northwood is a business school, founded about 50 years ago, that has always emphasized the important role that creativity and the arts play in business success. So it’s natural that this year’s conference theme is “Creativity: The Business Toolbox Essential.”
One of the other speakers was the Detroit-based designer Dominic Pangborn, famous primarily for his men’s ties. Of course I had to buy one, at the Northwood University art gallery and store…the tie design called “irresistable.”
Midland is a special place, but a bit hard to get to…you fly into the Saginaw/Bay City airport, a bit north of Flint, Michigan. When Michigan eventually rises out of its current economic slump, it will no doubt be because of creativity and innovation, fostered by institutions like Northwood.