Faculty Story – Thomas Cusack
Who are you and what do you do?
Hello, I am Thomas Cusack. I am a serial entrepreneur who has worked on diverse challenges in disparate industries (up-armoring vehicles and buildings against bullets and bombs; promoting development of treatment for central nervous system diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and ALS; and currently working on organic waste management, composting and reuse of farm waste).
What issues are you interested in working on?
I seek to translate and apply cutting-edge and evolving concepts such as design thinking, ownership v. access, digital/personal/business ethics. With feedback from Parsons’ students and colleagues, as well as business contacts and partners, I strive to implement pragmatic courses and adaptable companies.
What inspires you most and keeps you creative?
I am inspired to be creative by accepting that change may be anticipated, guided and planned but rarely controlled. Pragmatic problem solving, dynamic collaboration, rapid iteration and vision each contribute to achievements–and together with properly allocated resources and some luck –transformations.
How would you describe the MS-SDM program in one sentence?
MS-SDM is a design thinking laboratory.
What was the most interesting experience you had at the program so far?
Probably Dolphin Tanks (student run teams design products, companies and investor pitch presentations in a compressed time period). The levels of creativity, problem solving, collaboration and relevance to real world issues achieved in deliberately compressed time frames have been revelations.
What book are you reading right now?
Terry Jones’ Barbarians (an examination of the Roman Empire).
What was the best advice you ever received?
Find something that you love to do. If you persist at it you may achieve the elusive work/life balance…in that working at something you love means that you will never merely work a day in your life.