Idea Man

AS ASSOCIATE PARTNER at global design consultancy IDEO, Michael Hendrix is, by necessity, an aesthete. “I’m really into beautiful, simple, classic things,” he says. To drive the point home, he sketches the outline of one of his favorite objects — the wall-mounted, pull-chain CD player designed by IDEO’s Naoto Fukasawa for Muji — in all its simple, geometric splendor.

IDEO (whose clients range from JetBlue to Sesame Workshop) was founded on the premise that good design generates innovation. As such, the Cambridge office has the requisite foosball table, plus a fabrication shop and an engineering lab. “There’s a phrase at IDEO: ‘Build to think,’” Hendrix says. “Creating takes time and money, but it also takes skill and craft.”

Before joining IDEO in 2008, Hendrix cofounded Tricycle, a Chattanooga-based sustainable-design company. Since then, he’s accumulated a litany of design and business awards. “Design should be instinctually and culturally important to us,” he says.

Above photo: Michael Hendrix stands in front of a composite portrait of his IDEO colleagues designed by Dan Deruntz. Photograph by Tim Gray.