Leslie Koch, director of the Trust for Governors Island, a magical 172 acre island/public art space in New York Harbor, is one of the most brilliant innovators we know. Somehow, she now only ‘gets’ great ideas, she makes them happen on a really large scale, as witnessed by her extraordinary transformation of the former island military base. Last August, she sent us this image of notes* from a Creative Morning talk she gave about the principles she follows in her work. It reminded us a bit of the white board crammed with ideas that we’d seen in her office one day.

We extracted the nuggets that that are useful in just about any creative process, starting with “spaghetti vegomatics”:

Make interesting stuff happen here by ‘throwing spaghetti against the wall’ . Some times it sticks, sometimes it doesn’t —That’s OK. 

Be messy.

Learn from your users. Observe.

What makes cities interesting is that they change.

Put stuff out there. Experiment. Observe. Enjoy!

And we love the totally fun, very user-friendly idea (which Governors Island is full of): ‘The Govs Island Bench/Wheelbarrow’: move-able benches, light enough to move on your own. People create their own custom spaces.


Leslie Koch
Leslie Koch

*Notes diagrammed by Lauren Manning Design.

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