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Fred Dust | Author of Making Conversation and Former Global Managing Partner at  IDEO
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

In a world full of misinformation, polarization and cynicism, it has never been more important to focus on making our conversations better. As one of the world’s most original thinkers and former Global Managing Partner at the acclaimed international design firm IDEO, Fred Dust specializes in unlocking and empowering the creative potential of an authentic conversation. Using the methodology in his recently released new book Making Conversation, he leads the charge to rebuild human connection and shows us how to stop talking past each other, and start talking to each other.

As a designer, author, educator, consultant, and advisor to social and business leaders, Dust has worked with the US Agency for International Development, the US Office of Personnel Management, and the US Social Security Administration to create citizen-centered strategies and the structures to implement them. Fred collaborates closely with nonprofit and philanthropic foundations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Knight Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and Bloomberg Philanthropies to create new frameworks for engaging with stakeholders to improve the impact and reach of their programs. 
Dust has been an advisor and contributor to some of the world’s most influential forums, ranging from the Aspen Institute, where he helped shape the First Movers Fellowship to cultivate social entrepreneurs, to the leaders shaping post-crisis recovery for Greece following the country’s economic crisis of 2011. He is a trusted advisor and collaborator to leaders of groundbreaking organizations seeking to mobilize grassroots communities for positive action, such as Planned Parenthood, Community Solutions, and #BlackLivesMatter. 
Dust is currently the Chair of the Governance Committee and on the executive committee of the Board of Trustees for the Sundance Institute, on the Board of Directors for NPR, on the Board of Directors at The New School and Chair of the board of Parsons School of Design. He was a founder and trustee for, IDEO’s non-profit that designs solutions to global poverty. Dust has taught at California College of the Arts and at the University of California, the Berkeley School of Environmental Design and lectured at The Parsons New School. Fred holds a bachelor’s degree in art history from Reed College and attended the three year master’s in architecture program at the School of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley. 

Speech Topics

Making Conversation How to Create a Dialogue that Matters

Conversation are one of the most fundamental means of communicating we have as humans. At their best, conversations are unconstrained, authentic and open—people sharing thoughts and ideas in a way that bridges our individual experiences, achieves a common goal. At their worst, they foster misunderstanding, frustration and obscure our real intentions. How often do you walk away from a conversation feeling really heard. A former Senior Partner and Global Managing Director at the legendary design firm IDEO, Fred Dust shows you how to design conversations and meetings that are creative and impactful. He outlines the four elements essential to successful exchanges: Commitment, Creative Listening, Clarity, and Context. Taken together, these elements form a set of resources you can use to be more deliberate and purposeful in making any conversation better.