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Featured on Sep 27, 2012

Micah Spear

"Do what you love so you can love what you do."


I am an inventor, service designer and creative director at Playtime LLC (, an agency I began while a student at Parsons in 2010. Playfulness and improvisation are vital organs in the body of my design process. I love creating winning products, and because some of the most remarkable inventions were “accidents” it excites me to experiment with my ideas. Growing up in the country (northwestern connecticut), I climbed trees and played in the woods. From a young age, glass blowing, painting canvases, shooting travel photography, and building things from scratch were common pursuits. Putting these passions to work at Art School, Design School, and Business School led to focusing on Service Design and Environmental Studies.

Experimenting with different strategies of identifying and realizing scalable and high impact products, I approach projects with an open, inquisitive attitude. I’ve worked on my own as well as collaborating closely with others consulting for Louis Vuitton on luxury marketing strategy and service design, Memorial Sloan Kettering on Health Service Innovation for chemotherapy patients and First Niagara Bank on Gen-Y strategy. More recently, I consulted with MTV and was a panelist invited by WHATIF for a case study on young entrepreneurs and innovators. I am well traveled throughout many different parts of the world (my passport is almost full), I’m a pro at Where’s Waldo and I can be very competitive on the foose-ball table!

I don’t think we really need more “stuff” -- any more chairs to sit on, shoes to wear or bags to carry; I am more interested in developing and challenging existing ways we live and interact with important, daily practices that include our health, lifestyle needs, relationship with the environment and each other.

  • Title: creative director, service designer, innovation consultant.
  • Age: 24
  • Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn
  • Contact: @micahspear

With such a strong background in art and design school, what prompted you to attend business school? Do you think more designers should follow your path and attend business school?

I actually never had any interest in going to B-School.. seemed like a waste of time. I was at Parsons being courted by one professor who was running a Columbia x Parsons collaborative semester. Columbia was planning on inviting about 8 students from Parsons and putting them in the classes with MBA’s studying Luxury Marketing and working with real clients - fostering some type of collab. It was what it was, I learned more about myself there than I did about business, really. More specifically my values and luxury brands values are very different when it comes to a global responsibility.

Design school should be responsible for educating their students on start up culture or how to pursue their passions. I do not think more designers should attend B-School though. I see more designers or MFA’s starting successful startups than MBA’s. I see more startups that don’t even follow the principles of basic business and then they sell for 100‘s millions all because they disrupt a space in a special way. That is something I don’t think you learn at B-School. I was only there a semester though so maybe I missed that part ;).

Coming from the country do you ever feel trapped in the city? Seeing as how your passport is almost full, where is the most exciting place you've traveled to?

It’s hard to leave this city. I feel like it was designed that way really. Traveling through Indonesia is really special - Java specifically. You are not going to see many tourists if you go the right place. I like being immersed in a truly foreign place to be an outsider and open my eyes. 

You where a number of different hats and have worked on projects in extremely different fields. We noticed you said you're interested in challenging the existing ways we live and interact with important daily practices. What has been your most revolutionary work so far and why?

At the moment, Playtime is my most revolutionary work - and it’s in a constant evolutionary growth. The studio is excelling at approaching each project with empathy, perspective, - capturing valuable insights and and accelerating our creativity.  The machine churns out innovation and transformative thinking quickly and that’s thanks to our way of approaching projects - which result in challenging user experience and behaviors. We have a couple Playtime products in the works that will blow your mind (one day) - working with neurofeedback and electromagnets and sensors etc, but currently keeping up with the demand of our work is our main focus.

User Experience Designer, Digital Strategist, Design Director