Why Creative States?

Are today’s innovations carrying us into to a future that we want? Are our products, places and systems fostering vibrancy and abundance?

Fear does not call us to our greatest capacities; data alone will not drive us to change. In order to shape a truly sustainable world, we believe we must address both our inner and outer landscapes with intention and imagination. We need visions of tomorrow that uplift, nourish and enliven.

Who We Are

Creative States is a platform for creative leaders fielding futures worth living into. Through our website, prize and related events, we champion visions of tomorrow that stir our senses and expand our capacity for change.

Creative States promotes:


Approaching present day challenges with presence and possibility.


Using speculative creative inquiry to help us imagine who we might become.


Harnessing emotional states to viscerally drive design.


Re-framing opportunities through collaboration across disciplines.

How We Practice

We foster the six states below as essential creative ground for transforming our environment, food, economy, education, politics, urbanism, infrastructure, spirituality, wellness and culture.

  • Joyous

    Uplifting us with expansive moments of warmth, beauty, love and delight

  • Thoughtful

    Entrusting one another with the collective care, strength, and resilience of the spaces we inhabit

  • Wondrous

    Cultivating deep reverence and curiosity for our wild, imperfect and precious existence

  • Playful

    Inviting us to explore in a light-hearted, open, child-spirited and generative manner

  • Authentic

    Moving beyond social constructs and surface appearance to probe our real selves

  • Human

    Connecting and communing with each other from a place of civility, generosity, tolerance and respect for all life.

The Founders

Maren Maier and Kimberlie Birks

Maren Maier is a design strategist, consultant and writer working to bring our future creative voice. She serves as the Human Insight Lead at CoCreative Consulting and professor in the Design Management and Arts & Cultural Management Graduate Programs of Pratt Institute of Art, where she also heads the editorial team of CATALYST Review. She has worked on systems change initiatives and training programs with organizations such as The Democracy Collaborative, The California Endowment, Autodesk Foundation, Ashoka and ABC Home among others. She holds a BA with honors in Anthropology and a concentration in History of Art from Columbia University, as well as a Masters in Design Management from Pratt Institute School of Art.

Kimberlie Birks is an art and design writer whose work can be found in publications such as Domus, Dwell, Metropolis, Azure and Architect’s Newspaper. She recently authored Design for Children a comprehensive survey of children’s products and furniture design from Bauhaus to today, published by Phaidon. She holds a BA with honors in the History of Art from Brown University, an MFA in Design Criticism from the School of Visual Arts, and a certificate in art curation from the Sotheby’s Institute.

Want to collaborate? Whether for an exhibition, event, lecture, panel discussion or publication, we love to combine forces and can’t wait to hear from you.

© 2019 Creative States. All rights reserved.
Site design by Erik Mace. Illustrations by Mark Fischer.