The founder of IDEO U shares her go-to workout and current inspirations.

Dean Suzanne Gibbs Howard founded IDEO U 15 years ago because she wanted to help people learn to solve anything creatively. 24Life recently sat down with Howard to find out more about the four-step process of design thinking, now embraced by global brands and leading academic institutions as an approach to much more than product design. As Howard explains, it’s an approach that works for solving just about any problem.

We also asked what inspires a leading design thinker outside of IDEO—and share her answers here.

24Life: Describe your work in three words.

Suzanne Gibbs Howard (SGH): Inspiration, making and iterating.

24Life: Last book you read?

SGH: “Hillbilly Elegy.”

24Life: Next book on your list?

SGH: I want to read the one by Trevor Noah, “Born a Crime.”

24Life: Favorite podcast?

SGH: I love “The Moth.”

24Life: Theme song or power song?

SGH: Anything by Stevie Wonder. “Superstition.”

24Life: Favorite movie or TV show?

SGH: “Good Girls Revolt.”

24Life: What’s one thing that you’ve learned in your career that you didn’t expect to learn?

SGH: That you can get a job as an anthropologist!

24Life: Least favorite workout move?

SGH: Running.

24Life: Go-to workout in 24 minutes or less?

SGH: Walking around the “Hill of Sanity” [in her San Francisco neighborhood].

24Life: What is one food you can’t live without?

SGH: Cheese.

24Life: What do you do on your day off?

SGH: Everything!

24Life: Current obsession?

SGH: Trying to meditate.

24Life: What do you do to celebrate?

SGH: Have a nice cocktail.

24Life: What’s your cocktail of choice?

SGH: It depends on the day.

Photo credit: Mark Kuroda,