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Innovation In A Disruptive World

A conversation between Terry Montesi, CEO of Trademark Property Company, and Bart Higgins, Founder of Future Perfect X

March 2019

Terry: Bart, tell us about your journey that got you in the futurist and innovation business. Tell us a little about your background and your business.

Bart: I started a company called Future Perfect X, which is an experience and innovation company. I’ve been in the design and innovation business for roughly twenty-something years. All of it was happy accidents. I like to say that I’ve been comfortably lost since I graduated from college. I feel like I’ve been a product of bumping into things, following temporary interests and jumping into opportunities that have been presented to me. I kind of walked backward into real estate design. I moved to San Francisco twenty-something years ago – some friends were starting Wired magazine and needed a hand.

Terry: What did you study to set yourself on a course to become an innovation consultant futurist?

Bart: I studied sociology. Which didn’t really qualify me to do much. Sociology is the study of people in society. That actually makes everything work out because, generally, the philosophy for human-centered design is always thinking about people first and being obsessed with studying them. That’s been the genesis of my career. Wired, all of a sudden, started growing and had me running all over the world renting office space and hiring architects to design it. I had no real credibility doing it, but because I was obsessed with people and had studied sociology, I was able to hack my way through it. From there, I had a continuing series of jobs in the design industry that always related back to space. Whether it was opening up a small architecture firm that designed offices and work places during the dot com boom. I went to graduate school and at that point knew that I wanted to inform spaces, so I got my master’s degree at Columbia in real estate. Then I came out working in big retail.

It’s been a fun journey jumping around and following things I’ve been interested in. Ninety percent of the time I have not been qualified to take on the jobs or the roles that I’ve taken on. I’ve learned along the way. The success in all of it goes back to the point you made, Terry, which is I studied sociology and I’m obsessed with people. That’s what has made it all work out.

Terry: Go forth on the journey that helps you get to the innovation consulting and future-proofing business.

Bart: I was working for a well-known retail and hospitality design and branding agency called…

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