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“Partnering” by Jean Oelwang

Tangible lessons from 60+ of the world's most remarkable partnerships.


Spouses and partners in designing a better world

Paul Bennett and Jim Cooper


Paul Bennett, the chief creative officer of IDEO, and author and writer Jim Cooper have been partners in life and in work for more than 25 years.

“Yes, it’s jazz. It’s jazz. We play jazz. I’ve always used this metaphor that I don’t think we’re symphony players; we’re not playing the notes. We’re playing jazz so we are riffing. I think our life is one big, sort of, set of riffs together and there’s something really nice about this idea of, sort of, you’re both… And jazz is a great metaphor because jazz requires everybody to be at their creative best. It requires people to listen, but it requires people to react to one another and go through that weave. I think that’s what we do. I think we’re playing jazz. I think we’re jazz musicians in another life.”

Paul Bennett

“Trust, to begin with. You can’t really have a relationship unless you have trust. And then admiration. Like, Paul and I are huge fans of each other.”

Jim Cooper

“And we found that in each other; this desire to be constantly curious and constantly looking and constantly on to the next thing and to do that together and to talk about that, that’s not an unconscious thing, that’s something that we actually work very hard on. We talk a lot about the things we’re doing. And I think this notion of being, sort of, present in it as opposed to just, sort of, drifting through it is actually really important.”

Paul Bennett

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