John Coyle

John K. Coyle, #TheTimeGuy, is a world leading expert in innovation and Design Thinking, and best-selling author of Design For Strengths: Applying Design Thinking to Individual and Team Strengths (2018) and The Art of Really Living Manifesto (2016). A graduate of Stanford University’s Product Design Program, John is an NBC sports analyst, two-time TEDx presenter, and sought-after keynote speaker. He earned an Olympic silver medal for speedskating.

John is a thought leader in the field of chronoception—the study of how humans process time. He lectures and teaches innovation courses at Marquette University, Northwestern University and CEDIM University Graduate School in Mexico. His mission is to innovate the human experience.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Wind. Sand. Water. 

3 things Nature taught you? 

The oxymoron that I am tiny in the grand scheme if things… yet I matter. 

Color and light are a core source of joy. 

I am never alone in nature - only in cities with people. 

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

Sonoran sunsets

Yucatan cenotes

Utah snowfields

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…? 

Home. I was raised on a lake and on boats: the scent, reflections and ripples of wind and water return me to my youth and possibility. 

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…? 

An adventure brewing. What is behind that copse? If I climb the ridge will I see the world? 

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…? 

Like climbing to the caldera and looking into the mouth of the world… 

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…? 

That despite hedonic adaptation to almost everything (particularly money or success) a sunset NEVER gets old. 

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…? 

Fearless. As kids we used to run outside in lightening storms, pelted by the big drops waiting for that first big rush of wind and leaning into it with smiles. 

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…? 

That I need to move. The wind is the devil: it hounds you, never lets you go, slows you, makes you hot, makes you cold, makes it impossible to relax and read. I need to get the hell out of Chicago… it is always windy.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person? 

I am an Ocean/Desert person hence I am moving to the Baja peninsula in August!

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 

10. I am an “outdoor person”. As my parents used to say, “in or out!” I was always out. Pretty sure I never wore shoes or a shirt until I was 10 or 11 in summer. 

Share with us a childhood nature memory? 

I’ve now seen it a couple of times. Late summer / early fall, last hot day with warm rain in the evening spurs a “frog crossing”. Thousands of frogs and toads use the cover of darkness, the wetness and warmth to migrate (to where? a new home?) and like worms after a downpour, they are everywhere. One evening when I was maybe 8, there were 3 white owls swiveling their necks in my driveway eating frogs like they were in a french buffet…