Unlock Your Potential With Powerful Conversations

with special guest Mark Tippin

Mark Tippin quote from Patti Dobrowolski's podcast
Up Your Creative Genius
Unlock Your Potential With Powerful Conversations

Mark Tippin is a published author, internationally-recognized keynote speaker and instructor in remote collaboration, human-centered design and visual facilitation. He is currently the Director, Strategic Next Practices at MURAL and a certified Lead Instructor at LUMA Institute. He brings over two decades of experience helping teams unlock their potential to lead powerful conversations in their organizations.

Mark believes facilitation is the quintessential 21st-century skill and that extending those talents online to distributed teams is more important than ever. He has led design teams and facilitated transformation events with enterprise brands including Autodesk, Netflix, Mayo Clinic, IBM and All Nippon Airways. Previously, he was the senior manager of UX at Autodesk overseeing its cloud platforms. 
Mark has spoken at key industry events, delivering the keynote on The Future of Visual Facilitation for the International Forum of Visual Practitioners (IFVP), the keynote for Evolving Enterprise Design at Thomson Reuters and Working Visually at Autodesk’s Design X Summit. 

“Creating openings for that to happen and being sensitive to the fact that people are cognitively different.”

“I heard recently just reminded me, I need to find the author of the quote, but it was a silence as a sound of trust.”

“You can do a personal pivot or there are all sorts of pivots, but you need feedback on how they see you and what your superpowers are that you’re probably not present to, or you don’t value because it’s very easy for you.”


2:13 Mark’s journey into UX design

17:51 How Mark spends his free time 

22:49 Mark sharing things that makes him excited everyday – LUMA

25:05 Mark’s future vision and mission  

34:20 The figure that Mark wishes to be 

39:13 Tips on pivoting in life and getting through challenges 

Mark’s Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/marktippin/

MURAL Linkedin  https://www.linkedin.com/company/mural.co/

MURAL Website https://www.mural.co/

Follow Patti Dobrowolski – Instagram

Follow Patti Dobrowolski – Linkedin

Up Your Creative Genius


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Mark Tippin, Patti Dobrowolski

Patti Dobrowolski  00:03

Hello superstars. Welcome to the Up Your Creative Genius podcast where you will gain insight and tips to stomp on the accelerator and blast off to transform your business and your life. I’m your host Patti Dobrowolski. And if this is your first time tuning in, then strap in because this is serious rocket fuel. Each week I interview fellow creative geniuses to help you learn how easy it is to  Up Your Creative Genius in any part of your life. Hey, everybody, oh my gosh, I have Mark Tippin here. I told him really, I believe he’s like Gordon McKenzie in the book orbiting the giant hairball. If you’ve never read that book, then you don’t know what I’m talking about. But I will say this, that Mark Tippin and Gordon McKenzie, they’re both really creative geniuses in that they help people to kind of problem solve at this bigger level, like they are the Ideator 10x, right, or 100x. And so you know, let me just say a little bit about Mark, before we get started, he is a published author. He’s an international speaker. He’s an instructor and remote communicator and collaborator. And he’s the director of the strategic next practices at mural, which is an online collaboration platform, which is awesome. And he’s also an instructor at Luma. And what he does is he helps teams to unlock their potential by leading these powerful conversations. And what I love about you is we’re in alignment about this that facilitation is the skill that you want to learn in the 21st century as we are getting further and further into it, because you want to be able to have these conversations with people that are authentic, where you actually listen as a leader, and that you help guide the conversation to a better, bigger place. So please put your hands together to help me welcome Mark Tippin. Yes, Mark.

Mark Tippin  02:11

Thank you so much, Patti. What a delight to be here.

Patti Dobrowolski  02:13

Gosh, I’m so happy to have you here. You know, it’s funny, because you were head of UX at Autodesk. And you know, my friend, Phil Shepper. Worked at Autodesk for many, many years. And so I used to go out there all the time to Autodesk, you know, and eat lunch and stuff like that. So, yeah, I’m glad you’re at mural now. But tell people who you are like, What are you up to? Where do you come from? Why are you here?

Mark Tippin  02:37

You bet. Well, everyone can start if they want to see roots, do a Google search, or Mark Tippin and Punk those two words together. And you’ll see me back in the day with the Mohawk playing shows in the Bay Area and being part of a DIY community in high school where, you know, the odd and the quirky. And the interesting and the creative, had a bonded together and I started a band because I wanted to do the flyers, I wanted the T shirts I wanted to do.

Patti Dobrowolski  03:03

Oh my God, I love it.

Mark Tippin  03:06

And we didn’t know how to play. So we have a numbering system where it was like number of string and fret and we’d pass notes in the hallways. And when we got together, we’d actually then figure out so what’s the syncopation? What is this about? But that I also, you know, my dad handed me in eighth grade a copy of two Alvin Toffler books, Future Shock and third wave. And he said, you’re going to be really different than mine. And he was born in 1928. So big generation different. I was born in 68, kind of that big, tumultuous year in America’s history. But yes, so I appreciated that because they set me up for success. I had an Atari 800 computer, I typed 1000s of lines of code, yes, you know, antic magazine, all the stuff.

Patti Dobrowolski  03:52


Mark Tippin  03:52

And it led me on a course where, what I appreciated about design and having two older sisters that were both very accomplished designers, kind of seeing how you could take visual skills and then apply them to storytel or to consolidate some aesthetic into an icon and that stuff fascinated me.

Patti Dobrowolski  04:12

Yeah, yeah.

Mark Tippin  04:12

But always the technology was right there too.

Patti Dobrowolski  04:15

Yes. Fantastic. I love that. Now we’re gonna be side by side. I like it.

Mark Tippin  04:21

It’s interesting, because when you mentioned Autodesk, I have this unique vantage point their toes, I did two tours of duty one was in the 90s. Before the internet.

Patti Dobrowolski  04:31


Mark Tippin  04:31

So that was CD ROM authoring and seeing the birth of UX design, when it was in an eight bit studio programme designing what are the buttons look like when the highlights on the top versus the bottom? Very, yes, yes. Oh, what are the affordances mice were available then, but this whole new What is this human machine interface thing? And then I went and did a couple startups and then I was invited back in 2010. And it was like a Parallel Universe Marvel universe where I bet 90s No one except for architects new auditor.

Patti Dobrowolski  05:07

That’s right. That’s right. I mean, you know, there was no CAD yet. Right. Autodesk didn’t have it. It was like a brand new thing that was getting developed. Yeah.

Mark Tippin  05:16

That’s right. The merger and acquisition, right. Yeah, we’re in the Hollywood effects, even though they couldn’t talk about it on some projects, because people were still touring. They’re investing,

Patti Dobrowolski  05:25

you know, but they were so close to Lucasfilm. Right. So there was like, right across the valley there. Yes.

Mark Tippin  05:31

And then fast forward. Wow. Instead of having to shuttle you know, if you’re doing a sales presentation, something you’d have to shuttle people from SFO all the way through 19th avenue for anyone in the Bay Area, you understand how painful that is? Is your song a dance, and then get them all the way back to the airport? No, they have the gallery, right, which was a powerful way to actually highlight not look at us in our software, it was look at what our customers are doing with giving them that’s humbling. I mean, some of it was how to build an incubator, to cut down infant mortality using parts that were available through a culture that really understood how to keep old cars running. So it’s a car battery. It’s a headlamp, and you really saw design come alive, and it’d be appropriate technology. So it was there. Ironically.

Patti Dobrowolski  06:21

That was always that where you became a design thinker.

Mark Tippin  06:24

It was because I.

Patti Dobrowolski  06:25

It was right when design thinking was becoming a thing.

Mark Tippin  06:29

Absolutely. It was unique, because it was ground zero for several things. Autodesk was at this point where in the 90s, it was Diso systems, it was these big other enterprise, right, that everyone was like, that’s our competition. Well, 2010, we realised we’re actually in competition against our users that cobbling together workflows from the internet, makes it possible can get your hands on. And so we intentionally needed to disrupt ourselves. And we needed to change business models, and all that kind of stuff. So I had a team that actually span 12 time zones. Tel Aviv. Oh, wow, Hyderabad, India, nice. And I was doing this crazy commute from Folsom, California to the other side of Sacramento. On a good day, it’s three hours one way a Giants game in San Francisco, it’s five and a half hours, crazy. And it sit at a desk, and then do nothing but hop on calls with my team that wasn’t in the building with me. And through merger and acquisition, all this talent was being acquired, really, the software is being acquired. And then we have all these people, what do we do with.

Patti Dobrowolski  07:32

What do we do with them? Of these? How do we fit them in exam or Cisco is just acquire, acquire, acquire, acquire? No, no, you stay your unique self, and then we’d go in and facilitate for them. And it’d be like, Whoa, that’s a shit show. Me but yes, we’ll probably have to bleep that out. But well, yes, but truly unbelievable.

Mark Tippin  07:51

And so I was trained, or kind of my empathetic nature led me to be a kind of a servant leader, right? Hire people way smarter than you get all the rocks out of the way, set them up for success. And it was a challenge, because if you weren’t actually in San Francisco, and around the water cooler, or having that cup of coffee, then your ideas didn’t get heard. And if you’re outside that domain, you pretty much got relegated to just execute on what was decided. And so I was looking for a way to level the playing field. And that’s when I started looking for tools like Mirel. There are a few out there simultaneously Lumo was being brought in Autodesk, which is yes, one of their larger if you go to the Luma site, it’s got a nice little showcase on but yeah, exactly. But it was part of a culture transformation where you had the 3D tools for movie studios have a different UI, because they’re doing different things than people that are building pipes underneath civic infrastructure in a city, right. And yet the users were spanning across, right. Architects are saying, Yeah, I have to design the bolts and this kind of structural thing. Right, and sell it. I got to put people in there. So I’m using the Hollywood special effects stuff to put.

Patti Dobrowolski  09:08

Yeah. Yeah.

Mark Tippin  09:09

So they didn’t see a distinction between the tools. Although if you don’t ship your org structure, exactly. From inside, a totally different team. They’re in a different part of the world.

Patti Dobrowolski  09:20


Mark Tippin  09:21

So there was a lot I was just had the amazing fortune to be right in the middle of this cauldron, and being alumina instructor. And having this crazy commute. I was already trying to figure out how can I do this without so much travel? And I’m running apps and people are flying in from around the world. And they’re getting exposed to these wonderful methods. And this is amazing. Now what do I do when I go home to Switzerland to my teams in Italy? And in Toronto?

Patti Dobrowolski  09:45


Mark Tippin  09:46

And I was like, Yeah, that’s a darn good question. And so, for me, the nature of human centred design and these methods, and then a tool like Mural that actually gets really special their personas like facilitator, because a key persona, unlike, you know, most other software.

Patti Dobrowolski  10:06

Yeah, that’s right. And a facilitator really is the key persona in a meeting. Without one, you really just kind of bumble around through the agenda. Because most of you didn’t have good meeting management, one on one, right? So you don’t understand that you have to have a facilitator and a timekeeper, a note taker, right. But when you have something in an online format, that actually helps to facilitate the process and keep you all engaged, which is the key when we’re now in COVID. Right? So you saw the value of that, and then you got involved somehow must have been early on, because you play a key role there now.

Mark Tippin  10:46

I get it, it was one of those, you know, I know that you have the people that you’ve coached, and helped them pivot and certain things, and I happen to be in the middle of that where a massive pivot for me happen. I was a manager of design people. I was getting further and further away from.

Patti Dobrowolski  11:03

What you loved me I loved, yeah.

Mark Tippin  11:05

At the end of the day, or end of the week.

Patti Dobrowolski  11:07

Remember, go back to high school, when the recently had the punk band was the T shirts in the poster.

Mark Tippin  11:13

Hands on, making the music right?

Patti Dobrowolski  11:16

That’s right. And now second fret, second fret. Yeah, two fingers like that.

Mark Tippin  11:24

And so at the end of the week, I knew that the team had things that they had touched, and they had made or they had, you know, had a hands on. And I’m looking and saying, Well, I can glory in my team success. But I’m totally separated from this. And it was the insight of my manager at the time, and dream. And Jeannie, who’s now at Netflix, she’s headed leading design over at Netflix, and she saw an opportunity where you know, you’re pretty good. You got some high emotional intelligence, right? You can calm them very voices down. There’s a lot of this

Patti Dobrowolski  11:57

Human punching bag, punching, and punching bag, and then you take it, and then you turn it into love. That’s, frankly, that’s human transformation.

Mark Tippin  12:07

That’s, that’s right. Boundaries.

Patti Dobrowolski  12:11

It’s so true. It’s so true. So true.

Mark Tippin  12:13

Facilitator journey is dead. Right? You know, but that was a pivot where I realised now instead of trying to stay on top of JavaScript, and databases, and the mechanics of what the web is, yes, there’s actually this whole other layer on top of it, which is understanding the right dialogue to have at the right moment. Is it generative, then when it’s generative, you have all these ideas? You don’t? Yeah, off on the back? You’ve actually got more work to do how to

Patti Dobrowolski  12:42

Yeah, that’s right.

Mark Tippin  12:44


Patti Dobrowolski  12:45


Mark Tippin  12:45

How do you elevate? How do you pick one thing out and experiment?

Patti Dobrowolski  12:49


Mark Tippin  12:49

So that you can start the loop over and put it back in front of the car.

Patti Dobrowolski  12:52

I can’t wait for you to get the game of innovation, that book that I’m part of that I did the illustrations for because you’re speaking the language in that book that David Cutler wrote. So it’s going to arrive in your door, I think on Friday, so look for that. It’s really heavy, and it’s colourful, I think you’ll like it. Oh, yes. This idea of elevating the right things at the right time in a meeting is essential, or even in a conversation that you’re having around the dinner table, right? How do you get to the place where people are actually talking about what’s real?

Mark Tippin  13:23

That’s right, and creating openings for that to happen. And being sensitive to the fact that people are cognitively different, you know, we’ve inadvertently found these delightful things that happen when the pandemic forced a new set of circumstances on this.

Patti Dobrowolski  13:37


Mark Tippin  13:37

Suddenly, the chat takes on a different level of importance with people that have something to say, but they don’t want to interrupt the show to say it. So there are these multiple layers where people are contributing and getting a voice heard. Voting mechanism, and mural is anonymous. So right away, so much of the games we play in a colocated cohort to like, Okay, everyone, get it in your mind count to three, and then everyone go at the same time to try and remove the bias.

Patti Dobrowolski  14:07

Yes, yeah.

Mark Tippin  14:08

Follow the Leader. Well, it just happens now.

Patti Dobrowolski  14:11

We have so I have the tools to do it. Right. And that’s part of it. Well, what I love about that is in the evolution of what’s happened with Mural, so for those of you that don’t know what mural is, you should just Google it. Mural.co. And in there, you’ll find isn’t that what it is? Or is it yeah, Mural.co. And in there, you’ll see that it’s a virtual platform in which you can play and you can structure your meetings in such a way that you have much more engagement interaction you can, there are templates that you can pull in and you can do all kinds of design and, you know, I’ve been experimenting with using it with clients so that we can, I don’t know deepen the conversation, but in both a visual and a audio way, auditory, right.

Mark Tippin  14:59

Well, it’s When the pandemic hit, there was a steep learning curve. And we don’t acknowledge the ones that were suddenly there were, you know, adults who are also learning to be educators and nutritionists and everything suddenly.

Patti Dobrowolski  15:12

Oh, my God.

Mark Tippin  15:13

But even just coming up to speed on, you know, video conferencing tools, that was something new. And that helped. But I can see you and it’s nice to see you, Patti. And it’s Yeah, yep. Facilitator we definitely use it.

Patti Dobrowolski  15:29

I mean, we always did conference calls, right? But they just aren’t very valuable when you know, you can zoom, right? Or use teams are whatever platform they like, right?

Mark Tippin  15:38

But you put this space in between us where we can both kind of reach through the glass and have something and now I can see what you mean. Right. You can actually, we can take any topic where we think we’re aligned.

Patti Dobrowolski  15:51


Mark Tippin  15:52

And you say, okay, cool. What’s the order of that process that you think?

Patti Dobrowolski  15:55

Yeah, yeah. Put it into some semblance. Yes. I love that. Yeah.

Mark Tippin  15:59

And that’s not it at all.

Patti Dobrowolski  16:02

Yeah, exactly. I wasn’t saying that. Where did you get that idea. But I love that because I think, and I can’t wait for technology to improve even more. And then now, you know, today, I went and bought a video thing. So I could use my iPad while I was working in Mural so that I could draw in a really great picture because I’m a live illustrator. So I often, even if I’m in mural, and I’m doing the zoom, I’m drawing right here, because you can see how vibrant that is to see it. And there’s something about being able to use real pastel that people go, Oh, my God, that looks so fantastic. And what they don’t realise is that colour imprints on your brain. And then if you really love something, even if you draw a simple picture that you love, you will remember it, you know, 80 times better than anything else, right?

Mark Tippin  16:53


Patti Dobrowolski  16:54

And so if you take a snapshot, like sometimes we’ll be doing a session, where I’ll be learning some mural process, somebody will share something, and I’ll take a screenshot, I’m like, Ah, my gosh, how did they do that? That’s fantastic. Because of course, I want to draw it right.

Mark Tippin  17:10

Well, I think all the methods, you know, that are generative, you get, you know, 16, 20 people in the session, you give them two minutes, and they each generate one note, a minute or more.

Patti Dobrowolski  17:21


Mark Tippin  17:21

That’s a lot of information density. And, so I always encourage people, because you can draw on the notes to as opposed to just typing texting, right. And even the simplest little rudimentary squiggle, your brain has vastly more capacity to differentiate and to remember the sights and smells and language in that moment, when the discussion happens.

Patti Dobrowolski  17:44

That’s right.

Mark Tippin  17:45

Then the text and information density actually becomes parsable. When it’s visual.

Patti Dobrowolski  17:51

Yeah, yeah, I love that now. So I want to know, like, when you are just being you out there, and you’re doing your job, what is your favourite thing to do? Well, if you had free time to do anything, what would you do? What do you do?

Mark Tippin  18:09

So in my free time, I gravitate heavily towards music, just because that’s usually so far aside of the work, the pressure, the commerce side of it, that that’s interesting, and where I kind of recharge. But I am also very fortunate, I’m going to mispronounce it, but iki guy, right, this guy.

Patti Dobrowolski  18:30

Yeah. So you’ve got that iki guy going,

Mark Tippin  18:33

I took me 53 years to find out what I wanted to do with my life. And it’s kind of right now, this unique situation, where I find myself is something I enjoy doing. I enjoy working with people understand the problems, laying out a sequence of conversations or methods, if you want to call it so that you harvest the collective genius in the room, right? I love that moment. I discovered I didn’t have to have all the answers. I just had to create the space where the ideas would come from the people in the discussion, and trust the process that we’re going to do something amazing. Because I value you and we’re creating a space where we can kind of open up and share and be authentic and the radical candour and call BS on each.

Patti Dobrowolski  19:19


Mark Tippin  19:20

All in the service of being passionate about the challenge.

Patti Dobrowolski  19:24

Well, it’s been hardest for you in this virtual environment. You’ve been in what’s been hardest for you.

Mark Tippin  19:31

I’m not very good with names. And organisational savvy is something that it’s a tool that if you can bring up names on the fly, I was always the slow thinker, the one who, you know the bully at school says the mean thing and like two hours later, I’m riding the bus.

Patti Dobrowolski  19:50

I shouldn’t say this, that I know how to get that guy back.

Mark Tippin  19:54

So that facility with the names I can draw them. I know what they look like I know what they had before. Breakfast in their favourite candy bar. I know all this stuff, but like the names that elude me. And so, but names are important, and they are a way to engender respect and start that creating that space of acknowledgement and everything. Yeah, so that’s one of the things where I do a lot of extra heavy lifting.

Patti Dobrowolski  20:18

I was gonna say, Do you ever do that, you know, when I started to run virtual sessions, where we didn’t have zoom, and it would just be me with the phone. And then I’d have all my trainees there, you know, I would write and draw a picture of them what I thought they might look like on a post it and I laid them all out on the table in front of me. See, there it is. Because I think sometimes, well, it really does matter to people that you remember their name.

Mark Tippin  20:43


Patti Dobrowolski  20:44

It also matters that you remember things about them, like I was on a, I don’t know where I was, but the person I was interviewing was talking about how you could tell if somebody really cared about you enough to remember your children and their names. And I thought, Oh, my God, like, that was like a stone, like hitting me on the head. And I was like, Yep, you’re gonna remember her son’s names. That’s all there is to it. You’re gonna go find them out. And then you get to see what they’re up to on Facebook, because you can find him and go from there. Right? But I think it does matter. Especially wouldn’t you say, mark in the world where it’s so chaotic right now with all the stimulation. People are? They’re very distractible.

Mark Tippin  21:26

Absolutely. And the smallest kindnesses are really felt now, I mean, I’m, I got, you know, a handwritten thank you note for a kind of relatively innocuous thing. And that was, I mean, that completely made my day because I understood that someone had to have the presence of mind actually be thankful enough to stop their FOMO and Twitter, whatever to stop and write something and find my address somewhere, yeah, put a stamp on it. So little things do matter. And I think that’s part of this massive, great recalibration, or whatever we’re going to call it is, people are kind of pulling out of the 80s, meaning keeping up with the Joneses, and all this kind of consumers data control stuff and getting present to what really matters. And people want to have value, and they want to be doing things that are of value. And I think we’re in a hinge time between a market economy where we still got to make money, but we’re shifting towards a mindset economy.

Patti Dobrowolski  22:30

Yeah. Well, we knew this was coming. Right. So you know, I think Malcolm Gladwell, or one of them, you know, predicted this, that they would be a mindset economy, although they didn’t use that term. I don’t know. You probably coined that term, but I like it. He’s got a book right here. He’s gonna show it to us.

Mark Tippin  22:47

Well, it’s Yeah, yeah.

Patti Dobrowolski  22:49

Oh, yeah. Fantastic. Collaborative intelligence, if you didn’t catch that book, when he held it up, for those of you that are just listening in the podcast, collaborative intelligence. And so when you think about where things are going and headed, what are you excited about? What excites you and get you up every day?

Mark Tippin  23:07

Well, it’s funny that this comes up occasionally, when we you know, I talk with other facilitators, and I’m curious what drives them as well. For me, it’s fairly simple. When I was leading these workshops with Luma.

Patti Dobrowolski  23:18

We were playing what Luma is for those people that don’t know who Luma is, or they’re not in that world, yeah, me who’s Luma.

Mark Tippin  23:25

So Luma Institute was founded as a spin out actually from my a design that was acquired by Boston Consulting Group and dear friend of mine, Mickey McManus, he’s the author of trillions, and he’s very much.

Patti Dobrowolski  23:37

Dropped just then just catching up. I just want you to know his friend, Mickey.

Mark Tippin  23:44

So yeah, someone who’ll occasionally take my phone call when he um, I swear lives in the future. And you’ll come every once a while go, you should be looking at thinking thinking, Well, I love that I love that. They were running these workshops that you and I would recognise today as kind of human centred design thinking workshops, and clients were saying, this is fantastic. Could we learn how to do this?

Patti Dobrowolski  24:03


Mark Tippin  24:04

And most consultancies, when faced with that challenge would go, Huh, we teach you to do it, then we cannibalise our revenue. But there’s a third way and what they did is they actually founded and spun out a complete separate entity that focused on teaching people to fish and so

Patti Dobrowolski  24:19

Yeah, yeah.

Mark Tippin  24:20

Chris Patagonia and Bill Lucas and Pete Mahara are the founders. And they went and looked at 1000s of design thinking methods. And everyone at the time, if you remember, you go to Amazon and do a search for a book, you’d get two books that would show up 1001 design thinking methods and exactly another 1001. It was just like, where do you start?

Patti Dobrowolski  24:43

Well, exactly.

Mark Tippin  24:44

They boiled it down to a very neatly done taxonomy that really, it kind of is steeped down to the essential ways of if you think of their name, Luma – looking, understanding, making, and activating right.

Patti Dobrowolski  24:59


Mark Tippin  25:00

So yeah, that process of actually going and observing, so user research and those kinds of.

Patti Dobrowolski  25:05

Versus a mall, which is backwards activating, which is most what most people, myself included being an activator, we’re gonna get going first and then go backwards and figure out where you blew it. Right? Hello. All right. So that’s who Luma is. And so part of it when you think about the future, then what inspires you about that and where things are going, I’m sorry, I distracted you from that direction. So bring us back there to the future you.

Mark Tippin  25:32

My Ravel brain?

Patti Dobrowolski  25:34

No, no, no, I’m refocusing because I went down that rabbit hole with you. I led to the rabbit hole, and then I pointed go down. Well, you, Mark, please tell us about Luma. And then everything else. Okay. All right. So the future that you’re excited about?

Mark Tippin  25:50

So the future I’m excited about is I’ve seen firsthand how those that could afford it would get the benefit of these types of workshops and the education and a company that would buy in and fund steeping in this wonderful Bronto of design thinking. And yes, but every time I was in the Uber heading towards the big, shiny building on the hill, where I was doing my workshop, I’d see all of these small businesses. Yes. Now I wasn’t sitting there thinking I can save them.

Patti Dobrowolski  26:20

Oh, no, no, no now, but yeah, but we’re thinking, what can we do to help these businesses be successful?

Mark Tippin  26:26

Exactly. So the democratisation of access to guided methods and a platform where you and activate their conversations that help you actually get to well framed questions, or exhaustion is makes all the difference as a credit question gets you a lot of clarity, none,

Patti Dobrowolski  26:46

Right, right.

Mark Tippin  26:47

Framing it in a way where you go, that’s a problem we’re solving is the beginning of an amazing journey that you can invite those people into, and it changes everything, it changes.

Patti Dobrowolski  26:57

I love that. And so if you’re not a design thinking person, it’s really about framing the problem in a lot of ways, and then ideating a solution to that problem. And then iterating, anything that you mock up to make sure that it actually works, because most of the time, you know, we create things in our basement. And we know that our mom loves them. So they’ve got to be good for the rest of the world. And we come up with these things. And then no, they’re not. But when you can actually test things and try them come up with a real problem that you’re solving, then you come up with something like Uber, that’s what’s true. And then you can compare it to lift, and you can see how they’re different. And one has its own built in mapping software so that you know, it’s not outsourced and things like this. These make a big difference. So you’re excited about this part of the future. Your people, entrepreneurs understand design thinking.

Mark Tippin  27:58

Yeah, I mean, each have our own sphere of influence, right?

Patti Dobrowolski  28:01

Yeah, well, okay. All right, well, then, let’s test this with you. So what’s the biggest problem that you’ve been solving?

Mark Tippin  28:08

So recently, I designed the XU love, I shaped herself, she has a wonderful thing that, that she convenes every once in a while.

Patti Dobrowolski  28:17

Who? Say again, say again. Okay, good.

Mark Tippin  28:21

She’s known as the Queen of toilets, because she’s an adult. But the challenge that she said, you can plug anything you want into that statement. So the x is a variable. And I said it was a family dynamic, was the thing that we went through. And so part of it is two years into a pandemic. And we all feel like Bill Murray, in Groundhog Day hitting the clock and going he over and over and over again, how do you actually intentionally create a dynamic in the family that is really your closest to and provides you the support? And that should actually be the best? And sometimes it’s put under the strain? Because it’s the one you assume will always be there?

Patti Dobrowolski  29:02

Or yes, you take it for granted.

Mark Tippin  29:05

Take it for granted. And, you know, humans are humans and that isn’t a.

Patti Dobrowolski  29:09

No, no, you have to create something there. All right. So that led you to understand.

Mark Tippin  29:16

Yeah, so that led me to understand that, that it’s not the kind of the Hail Mary, you know, oh, can I order that off Amazon? Can I fix that with you know, I actually have to go put some intention in there.

Patti Dobrowolski  29:27

Yeah, yeah. Are you talking about your family right now? Right.

Mark Tippin  29:30

No, yeah.

Patti Dobrowolski  29:31

Oh, okay. Good. Cuz you know, you’re a guy. So you’re talking around this, and I want to go in? Oh, I like to get a deep. So you’re talking about your family. It’s interesting, because I was telling my wife this morning, I was saying, you know, this pandemic brought us closer than we’ve ever been, and which is kind of a miracle because she’s commanded, I’m demanding, you know what I mean? And that was the dynamic when we first got married, we had to have command cards. And on one side they would say command and on the other side, they would say I don’t even remember what it was, but it was something like truth or ask or you know, I don’t know what they, you could only got a certain number of command cards before they were taken away and you couldn’t. You couldn’t do it anymore in a day. That’s right. Well, yeah.

Mark Tippin  30:15

Even acknowledging one of the reasons why the dynamic works is because my background and my family, a lot of talking a lot of stuff being said, a lot of verbosity and loquacious. pneus. And you know, and.

Patti Dobrowolski  30:31

If you know what that word means loquacious, yes, it’s a lot of talking.

Mark Tippin  30:35

Talking, talking incessantly. But actually saying stuff of impact or.

Patti Dobrowolski  30:40


Mark Tippin  30:41

And a lot of circuitous type understanding. Do they mean that? Or should I say this to suggest that so, you know, whereas to the point?

Patti Dobrowolski  30:52

Yeah. Get down to it, honey. I mean, you’re going on and on about that enough context? Get to the point, right?

Mark Tippin  30:58

There is something well.

Patti Dobrowolski  30:59


Mark Tippin  31:00

Yeah, say what you mean, you know, it’s a journey. And you know, certainly in the job that I do and what I’m asked to do as a facilitator, this kind of verbal grease is sometimes helpful to draw in the shy folks and all that kind of stuff. It can border line on abusiveness, if you just.

Patti Dobrowolski  31:17

Do it too much, if you do it too much. Yeah, yeah, like this. I love that you’re talking about this, because as a facilitator, it’s a fine line that you walk between telling a personal story, and actually getting them to talk to each other and talk to you. And sometimes you do it, tell the personal story to break the ice, or to let them know that you are credible, I was thinking about that credibility, or you set it up in a way where you create a problem for them to be thinking about right then. And can you how many of you can relate and you haven’t raised their hand. So this is a way engagement technique, right? But you can’t do that with your family. You know, with your loved ones, you have to really ask them a question, and then listen to what they have to say. And stop trying to solve the problem. Just listen, right?

Mark Tippin  32:10

Absolutely. And they know all your tricks, right? I did this with my dad, where we got to the point where he’d start. He’d say the first three words, and they go, yeah, that story. 42. Now that story 147. Yep, we’ve heard them all. And my family is now I’m getting the same treatment like, yeah, you know, you’ve told me that before.

Patti Dobrowolski  32:11

I know it, I know it. Well, it’s good to peel back the layers of that stuff, I think to get to, you know, it’s okay to sit in silence. I think this is so hard for people to, you know, this is what we did before we had the internet. And our phone is that people would actually have a conversation, they would enjoy the meal, they would sit in silence at night, and they might read a book, you know what I mean? And these are, what this is about is a certain kind of stillness that we’ve moved away from, what do you think of that?

Mark Tippin  33:04

I heard recently just reminded me, I need to find the author of the quote, but it was a silence as a sound of trust. And I thought that’s interesting.

Patti Dobrowolski  33:12

Silence is a what?

Mark Tippin  33:14

Is the sound of trust of trust? Yeah, super uncomfortable. And but, but yeah, and what you’re talking about with enjoying the meal, there is, I can’t believe I made it, you know, into my 50s. Before learning, nutritionally, what happens when you actually eat slower, and why it’s important to breathe while you eat.

Patti Dobrowolski  33:35

And masticate frequently, I mean, like you’re supposed to chew, remember, when they told you, you know, you chew it 50 times, or 25 times or 30 times. But in fact, the healthier digestive system.

Mark Tippin  33:48

You’re actually the oxygen you’re putting into your body while it’s doing the work down there isn’t putting more fuel, oxygen burns, you’re actually putting more oxygen into the stuff that your body is storing, and making it higher quality? I was like, I feel like there’s an instruction manual.

Patti Dobrowolski  34:06

Yeah, I think that’s your next book. You know, you’ve written all these other books, so why not write that book? Because that book I think people would be very interested in?

Mark Tippin  34:16

Well, I would basically, it would be a list of other people’s, Mark, David.

Patti Dobrowolski  34:20

Of course, I was gonna say like, really whatever. And it would be based on what your preferences because everybody, you could follow one person’s expertise or another, and everybody’s body is different. And to me, this is about even as we try to pivot from one thing to another. What I want to do and pivot into is going to be vastly different from maybe even the person I was yesterday. Does that make sense? And so I’ve been trying to treat these different, you know, years as a different person that I was because I think it’s easier to understand that you are not your personality, that you can have a personality, but that you’re malleable and you’ll change all the time. And you for sure have changed because you were a guy who was in a punk band doing this. And then you were like UX expertise and now your strategic next practices at Mural. And, you know, I mean, so when you think about who that you want to step into, what would that who look like?

Mark Tippin  35:30

Well, it’s interesting as the hair gets grey hair, and as I’m, you know, reminded that there are more years between me and when I had a mohawk than I think there are in my head, I think there’s a few more steps, I would love to see the emerging technology be developed in a space where the human relation, intelligence that happens, the things that facilitators do, and the methods or the conversations or whatever you want to package it, the technology allows people to step through a series of inquiries or input an output, that those things are actually seen as one and that the fulfilment of the lower half of the Maslow’s hierarchy, which has been eroded our sense of belonging and a lot of cavities over the last few years that are preventing us from being that fully self actualized ready to go get them person, we need to do some healing there. But when you look at that, and inverts into another pyramid above, which is how do groups become actualized? Right? How do we go from being a GarageBand into being, you know, the Pat Metheny group or, you know, choose your own artists? That is at the peak as a team is at the peak of their practice. They have the skill in pocket, but now they’re inventing and creating and.

Patti Dobrowolski  36:49

Yeah, with freedom. And, you know, I think that’s part of it. I love that. Sorry, did I interrupt what you’re about to say? Because I felt like there was more. So it’s like going from this GarageBand to the Pat Metheny group, or whoever it is Beyonce or whoever your favourite is, right.

Mark Tippin  37:04

The point there being I guess the thing I’ve also factor in here is in I remember, the 70s gas lines, right? Cars backed up in gas shortages?

Patti Dobrowolski  37:13

Yes, of course. So I was pumping gas back then I was probably filling your tank. Just FYI. That’s right. Michelle, there I was, okay.

Mark Tippin  37:24

We’ve had many opportunities to kind of address the big challenges that are central to survival as a species, and we keep kicking that can down the road. And so I don’t know about you, but a lot of facilitated sessions, you seem to have a lot of the same conversations over again, okay, let’s do another value statement. Let’s do another team chart or something like so you can kind of waste a lot of time with conversations that are kind of fundamental. Can we get beyond that? And get aligned and really work in a like a teal sense or something about what is the good for us? Good for the customer? Good for the planet? Yeah, that’s the thing that I read your

Patti Dobrowolski  38:03

puppy, you know that your puppy profit people planet? Yeah. Okay, I love that I’m in on that. I also think that part of what I think that you are probably excited about too, is the thought that we could be in a virtual reality together, that next time that we are together, we are actually standing facing each other. We might have an Oculus on but we are standing there talking to each other in such a way that we feel like we are in a virtual space. And so that the Jetsons actually come into reality, this is my hope that in my lifetime, I can actually see that happen, you know, and that we are talking about things that matter. Not things that are superficial.

Mark Tippin  38:46

Well, you hit that right on the nose, because the things that I’m most excited about. And we’re experimenting, Steve Schofield, in our labs team is doing really interesting things. The things that I love is the VR tools are being handed not to game designers, not for another first person shooter. They’re being handed to facilitators.

Patti Dobrowolski  39:04


Mark Tippin  39:04

They’re coming up with immersive, shared experiences around these well framed questions.

Patti Dobrowolski  39:10


Mark Tippin  39:11

Those are games worth playing.

Patti Dobrowolski  39:13

Definitely, I’m with you there. Now, if you were going to, if you were going to give any tips to people that were listening, now, you’ve pivoted a couple different times in your career. So but if you in this day and age, if somebody is out there that needs to make some kind of a change, what tip would you give them? What would you suggest?

Mark Tippin  39:33

You need to find someone that you can trust, who will call you on your BS, and you know, and tell you a real friend, right? One that’ll let you get away with it until it’s not good for you to get away with it, and then they’ll call you on it. And you need to find out more ideally, if they’re people you actually work with. If it’s a job pivot that you’re talking about. You can do a personal pivot or there are all sorts of pivots, but you need feedback on how they see you what your superpowers are that you’re probably not present to, or you don’t value because it’s very easy for you. And it can be eye opening. And that was a huge pivot for me at Autodesk. And another thing we did was having only deal with the positive. We weren’t critiquing. We were just like, here’s what’s amazing about you got to share it with other people. And there were tears, it was very emotional.

Patti Dobrowolski  40:22


Mark Tippin  40:23

But we’re, like, suddenly present this amazing thing that people valued them.

Patti Dobrowolski  40:28


Mark Tippin  40:28

That thing. And that allowed me to drop my panic over staying on top of the tech and being able to code. And I realised, that’s not my value, my value is in this other emerging facilitation thing. It’s in the taking those skills about the empathy and the team building and the creating that space for the conversation and having enough of an interest of curiosity and the background. Yeah, to be able to create that space. Yeah, that was a fundamental pivot that it is, yeah, is a side gig.

Patti Dobrowolski  41:05

Well, and I would say that, that in a way that your superpower that you can’t see, right, it’s on a door. And all you have to do is have somebody’s point, sometimes to the door, and then you just walk through it and see what’s in there. And that I think, is the beauty of life is that you have these, you know, reflective tools that you’ve surrounded yourself with, these are people, but they actually are a great reflection of you because water rises to its level. So you’re always going to be surrounded by people who reflect some part of yourself, even if they irritate you, that’s part of you. And so if you can figure out how to get feedback from them, and learn from them and grow, I think this is like, that’s such a great tip Mark, I love that. I have to say, I have loved spending time talking to you. And I felt like we just got to one little piece of it. But I would love to as I and continue to open up the mural box and see what else is in there. And then we go into more of a VR space, I want to come back here. And then I want to talk about that. Because that in and of itself is something very exciting, that I’d love to get your perspective on.

Mark Tippin  42:18

I’d be happy to anytime, Patti.

Patti Dobrowolski  42:21

All right, well, I loved having you here, Mark, and you know, everybody that’s listening, be sure to look in the show notes. So you can figure out how to get you know, connected with Mark and follow him you know, see what he’s up to on Mural, he just, you know, spoke at a big conference. So you want to see and follow him on LinkedIn because he’s doing a lot of cool stuff, and always posting something interesting. So I look forward to seeing you again, Mark, thanks for spending time with us. And you know, everybody out there you know what to do? Go out there and until next time Up Your Creative Genius, right?

Mark Tippin  42:55


Patti Dobrowolski  42:59

Thanks so much for listening today. Be sure to DM me on Instagram your feedback or takeaways from today’s episode on  Up Your Creative Genius. Then join me next week for more rocket fuel. Remember, you are the superstar of your universe and the world needs what you have to bring. So get busy. Get out and Up Your Creative Genius. And no matter where you are in the universe, here’s some big love from yours truly Patti Dobrowolski and the Up Your Creative Genius podcast. That’s a wrap.

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