Natalie Nixon on Staying Buoyant in Troubled Times

This week’s DMTV Milkshake guest is Natalie Nixon, author, creative strategist, president of Figure 8 Thinking, LLC and all-around seer.

Natalie Nixon’s The Creativity Leap: Unleash Curiosity, Improvisation and Intuition at Work would be an inspirational read in pre-pandemic days – read in the middle of the biggest paradigm shift in how and where we work (and think), it’s bracing, and necessary. In this week’s DMTV Milkshake, Nixon helps us lay a road map for the future of creative work. “A guiding principle for me is the idea of buoyancy,” she says “Back in March, when Covid-19 became a reality for us in the United States, I started signing off all of my emails with ‘Stay buoyant, Natalie.’ The reason why buoyancy is super-relevant right now is because buoyancy conjures up this ability to relinquish control. I’m a swimmer, and one of the first things you learn when you’re swimming in open water is if you start getting tired, to flip over on your back – and when we flip over on our backs, our perspective shifts.”

Nixon also shares some practical advice on how to schedule our blurrier-than-ever days (“It’s important to know when to step away from the laptop”) and how design archives can inspire creativity: “In my book, I actually talk about how there’s nothing new under the sun,” Nixon says. “So when we revisit archives, it absolutely helps us to embrace the remix – to understand what’s come before us, what’s been done, and how we can reinvent [something] with our point of view, our life experiences, our skill set that we are bringing to the fore.”

See a free sample chapter of The Creative Leap at

View Natalie’s DMTV Milkshake episode above, then check out the rest of the series here.

Also, watch Natalie’s inspiring talk from the The Vignelli Center for Design Studies‘ Design Conversations Lecture Series here.

Diana Ostrom, who has written for Wallpaper, Interior Design, ID, The Wall Street Journal, and other outlets, is also the author of Faraway Places, a newsletter about travel.

Milkshake, DMTV (Design Milk TV)’s first regular series, shakes up the traditional interview format by asking designers, creatives, educators and industry professionals to select interview questions at random from their favorite bowl or vessel. During their candid discussions, you’ll not only gain a peek into their personal homeware collections, but also valuable insights into their work, life and passions.

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