Profile: Paul DeVetter

Behavioral Intelligence fuels our ability to recognize and respond to one’s own behavior and the behavior of others. It also enables us to strengthen our own personal behavior and influence growth. Behavioral Intelligence separates itself from Emotional Intelligence because of its objective, actionable nature. We can apply Behavioral Intelligence to teaching, coaching, training and skills development. It has a predictable sequence that when followed holds the key to becoming the best one can be.

Paul DeVetter is the founder of Design Ideation, a veteran of design thinking and an inventor at heart. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Architecture, long time practicing professional and author of two books on the subjects of design thinking and behavioral intelligence. Paul is a designer, strategist, teacher and proponent for the intuitive application of design thinking to art, education, business and life.

Inspired by a passion for design and an admiration for the power it has to influence so many things in life, Paul’s approach is the result of more than two decades of exploration into the potential of design thinking and behavioral influence. Impressed by the role that imagination and visualization can have on project outcomes, Paul set out to package the creative and logical thinking that drives performance. The goal was to build a model that could be shared with anyone who is motivated to learn and get better at what they do. Design Ideation was born.

Intrigued by the science of human interaction and the importance of connections in our lives, Paul studied the link between behavioral intelligence and intuitive execution. He also examined the rhythm, language and harmony of the natural world around us, just as many artists, philosophers and scientists in our history have done before. Understanding the natural flow of human behavior was to be the key to influencing personal development, organically.

To Paul, design has many faces. His passion for design reaches far and wide as it touches all areas of his business and personal life. Design thinking is a source of inspiration in all that he does. Paul is a creator, designer, teacher, mentor and forever a learner.

Design Ideation is a creative arts studio that features many applications of design thinking. While design consulting and product line development are at the center of the daily studio life, it is through executive coaching and leadership development that Paul is able help others benefit their bottom line with design thinking and behavioral intelligence.


Paul began his design thinking career as an intern architect in the late 1980’s as he was finishing up his education. After graduation, he worked for twin cities architectural firms where he became interested in design method beyond the scope of his education. Practicing under the tutelage of an experienced German designer he discovered the beauty of simplicity, the importance of detail and the benefits of a streamlined creative process.

His “how things work” curiosities got the best of him and he began designing and building furniture. Not satisfied with traditional methods for design or fabrication he began to explore new ways to use materials in unique combinations or configurations. To Paul, design was as much about the process as the final product. It became a journey of discovery. The notion of “product” became something that required further exploration.

His curiosities again got the best of him in the late 1990’s and he began working with Target Corporation. It was there that he gained another perspective of design and business. The branded, corporate process was completely foreign but full of intrigue. As a result, he expanded his understanding of design as business. Design thinking and behavioral intelligence started to become a blended concept that deserved more exploration.

Having been fortunate to work on several award winning projects throughout his career Paul has identified simplicity, restraint and confidence as keys to design success. He discovered that proficiency in design comes with meaningful experience just like in all other areas of business. He also learned that true experience is gained by doing things “the right way”. At this point Paul started to extend the value of design thinking and began visualizing ideas about how to make it transferable.

While authoring his first book SMOKE-Pulling Back the Curtain on Change Paul further developed and documented his ideas about design thinking and the universal application in business. Observing the increased role of communications technologies in business he explored the potential of visualization in the delivery of design by becoming one of the earliest implementers of BIM (Building Information Modeling). He quickly understood the business value of BIM as well as the power of visualization for critical thinking and business development.

While authoring his second book Stream Logic™-Navigating Creative Emergence Paul organized his project focused, design thinking ideas into clear deliverable processes that were portable and transferable to most areas of business and project objectives. During development he strengthened the connection of his behavioral intelligence model to the basics of performance and personal development. He took it to the next level when formulating the relationship of intuition to proficiency and productivity at the project objective. He recognized that the goal of efficiency in design, management and leadership could best be achieved by becoming intuitive at the objective. This objective intuition would grow to be the focus of his next generation of design thinking and behavioral intelligence.

Paul has been responsible for more than $1 billion in design projects throughout his career as a design professional. During that time he has always been driven towards good design as a result of clear methods and efficient processes. He has exercised the methodology to capitalize on design thinking to become better at project objectives. Once an individual adapts an intuitive approach they become more effective at just about everything they do. This is what behavioral intelligence can do and what design thinking does.

He set forth to teach others what he has learned from his experiences and explorations. Design Ideation is his vehicle to explore, discover and share what he has learned and experienced. His behavioral intelligence model is increasingly relevant and important as we move deeper into the next generation of “influence” based business and marketing. By now behavioral intelligence has become second nature and an increased focus in his life. He is regularly assured of how our interests and activities are the primary source of individual character and professional longevity. It is through our passions that we grow and develop. It is there that we find truth, wisdom, courage and inspiration. It is our “Circle of Life”.

Paul believes ….. If we do what we love we will love who we have become. The more we love the more we will be.

PD-50-2-300x300 Profile: Paul DeVetter

Design Ideation | Inspiration By Design.
324 S Main St. Stillwater, MN 55082 :: Established 2007