B!G Interview – Cormac O’Conaire
03 September 2021

B!G Interview – Cormac O’Conaire

We caught up with Cormac O’Conaire this week, Chief Design Officer in Design Partners. Cormac was one of our 101 B!G mentors last year and he has some great insights into being a mentor. Read on to be fully inspired.

Why do you think creative skills are important at second level?

It’s so important at second level because creativity brings joy and not only do you get joy from the process of creating, you also get joy from seeing something being completed and one of the most important things The B!G Idea did is they combined the joy of creation with learning and that’s an incredible combination.

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is like coaching, it’s where you share your knowledge and experience with others to try and amplify their strengths or improve areas they are weak in by investing time in someone’s progress.

Can you take us through the process of The B!G Idea mentoring?

The B!G Idea mentoring process is iterative which means that students do a body of creative work and they submit it to the mentors to review. The mentors then share their experience, give some feedback and guidance and then it’s up to the students to be open, they do another round of creativity and then it’s back to the mentors for final feedback.

What was the most important part of mentoring for you?

For me the most important part of mentoring is ensuring the Why question is answered so why should this idea exist, why should anyone care, if you’re trying to create something worthwhile or meaningful for people, that is the most important question to answer.

“One of the most important things The B!G Idea did is they combined the joy of creation with learning and that's an incredible combination.”

Cormac O'Conaire

What was your biggest take away from mentoring?

I’ve been mentoring for probably about 15 years now and I’m always so impressed at the next generation’s level of creativity. The B!G Idea, in particular the video presentations, communicate the passion the students have for the project was so impressive. It motivated me to do better as a mentor.

Would you have benefitted from The B!G Idea when you were in school?

Absolutely. Doing a programme like The B!G Idea I would have been proud to have that on my CV or portfolio.

Did you enjoy the mentoring process and did you feel supported through it?

Yeah the mentoring process was great, we were completely supported by The B!G Idea crew, the process was seamless, it was very easy to get involved, it wasn’t that taxing on our time, and the students were phenomenal.

Would you recommend mentoring to others?

Definitely highly recommend mentoring, it can be super rewarding to see someone else blossom. It does take time and dedication; you need to really consider your feedback and guidance. Mentoring is not for everyone, but it can be hugely rewarding if you get involved.

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