Full Disclosure

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Get in My Brain

I am tired of getting newsletters, links, post and offers with stuff for me to like and buy so I decided to do something different. I want to share with you my thoughts and insights about the social and environmental challenges we face today, in a constructive and inspiring way. This makes sense to me. If you agree let’s go for a ride…

Jaime rides bicycle across train tracks.

I could say I “found” my purpose, but that would be inaccurate. To me, purpose is a set of values and corresponding actions that shape life. It’s the beliefs forged by experiences and education, compounded by the people and culture around us.

Purpose equation: Experience + Education X People + Culture = Purpose.

The seeds of my purpose were sown a long time ago, when I was a teenager in Medellin. I was an artist, rebel, naturaphile and I wanted to “bump the world”. This idea stuck with me…

I was artsy, dorky, over-protected and engaged in all sorts of educational opportunities (let’s just say I had a limited social life in high school by choice!) I felt different and realized I was privileged. I learned that I was in a position to contribute to society. I just had not figured out exactly how.

Design Funnel illustration. Brief / Research / Interpret / Develop / Test / Implement / Start Over.

The Funnel
I figured out how to “bump the world” in college. I think a solid education is a good way to funnel and amplify talent and energy towards a meaningful life of purpose (just like with a good design process!) I became aware of the environmental crisis we face today as an Industrial Design student in 1998 (depressing and inspiring stuff then… and now). I remember clearly an assignment on social issues design. We watched Koyaanisqatsi, Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent and discussed the impact of every day design. It was an eye opener. This open ended project made it amply clear how complex it is to tackle systemic social problems.

Less is More Life
From that point on art, design and sustainability have played pivotal roles in my life and have defined me as a human, citizen of the world and professional. This is how my vision for sustainable design emerged. In my view, sustainability was not optional and needed to be beautiful, affordable and accessible to all.

Art, Design, Sustainability ven diagram.

MIO = Change
Two years later, right out of college (with my brother Isaac) I founded MIO; A small but mighty design company proving that sustainability is not only possible but preferable in every way. In the beginning we thought of ourselves as a “sustainable furnishings company”. Today we know our real business is inspiring and catalyzing change.

Jaime and Isaac Salm in their studio circa 2007.

The Hard Part.
In many ways I have failed to “bump the world” as much as I would like (so far!). I have managed some small wins that are incredibly meaningful to me, but everywhere I look, I still see a lack of understanding of the looming environmental crisis and a lack of ACTION that is troubling.

After a 20+ year career in sustainable design my purpose has evolved. I am no longer naive about the complexities of scaling sustainable design. I know how hard it is to change entrenched commercial interests, preconceptions and irrational behaviors. Through MIOs CultureLab I have worked with Fortune 500 companies, CEO’s, leaders in every field and have seen companies struggle with sustainability from the inside.

Our efforts have definitely changed minds. We still believe it is possible to transform our civilization into one that can be in balance with our ecosystems (but it will require bold and courageous action). The road ahead is treacherous and it’s hard to be optimistic, which is why you are reading this. I want to share more than our products and beautiful images of our work. I want to share our purpose.

It Takes a Village
Some say change takes time, but we don’t have much time left. The only way I know we can alter our course is with a community committed to a purpose. Now you hear my voice and I plan on using it to share my experiences, stories, fears and more, right here with you. I hope you will join us on this journey and become part of our world changing community.

With a loving heart and a designer’s mind,


Designer / Artist / Entrepreneur