A note from Ideas To Go CEO, Ed Harrington:
Fred S. Meyer, creative genius and Founder of Ideas To Go, passed away on October 27, 2016. Fred was a wonderful, wonderful person and I—along with my colleagues at Ideas To Go, clients and many others whose lives he touched—am very saddened by his passing, and want to give him tribute. Fred’s handprint is on everything we do at Ideas To Go.
Fred was a rare combination of a highly creative talent, with a highly caring nature, who knew how to get shit done. I remember his sharpness, his smile, and his curious nature—counterbalanced beautifully with an "ok, time to move on" business-like dynamism. He was a brilliant, soulful pragmatist.
Like many, I met Fred’s "process" before I met Fred. A colleague enthusiastically recommended Ideas To Go for a new product team I was on. So off we went to Minneapolis, and I walked out of that session with a bunch of ideas...and knowing what I wanted to do for a living: help people make stuff up! It was a fantasy job to me, and as it worked out, I joined Ideas To Go on July 12, 1994—and opened the Morristown, NJ office. (Go Jersey!)
I had the pleasure to work very closely with Fred in both facilitating sessions, and running the business. He was a wonderful boss because A) He knew so much. B) He was very pleasant. C) He was introverted, and therefore left an introverted-me alone a lot. Thank you!
Fred was a wonderful guy—everyone will tell you that, myself included—but what I’d like to focus on, what I admire most, what stands out most is Fred's quiet, patient, ever-forward genius. The Creative Problem Solving Model as interpreted by Fred, is so much more than a "process," and so much more than the CPS model. It is a very deliberate, and intensely thought-out combination of multiple disciplines (group process, creative meeting theory, creative excursions, creativity identification and training, etc.)—made into a model that is so sublime and flexible that it remains intact—and thrives to this day. I have seen many an interpretation, derivation, evolution, copy and twist, but nothing that isn’t mostly tangential, and all of which include the bedrock Fred set in place. It’s like the US Constitution, still working just fine after all these years. Even our current work on Cognitive Bias is a tip of the hat to just how ingenious and insightful Fred’s work was—and is—to this day. It is, simply put, brilliant, and that’s the word for Fred.
Despite that, Fred was always very matter-of-fact about his creation, suggesting that it was all out there for anyone to see, to which I will respond with a quote from the Nobel Laureate Albert-Szent Gyorgyi:
“Genius is seeing what everyone else sees and thinking what no one else has thought.”
That’s Fred, a truly original thinker. And he never stopped evolving, and experimenting, and tweaking and, more amazingly, welcoming the same from others—allowing them to mess with his genius creation. Selfless, brilliant.
So, to Fred I say, “Rest In Peace.” And, not for the last time by any means, “May the Forness Be With You.”
We invite anyone who knew Fred to comment below with a story or memory of him (we won't even make you headline). If you would like to view Fred's obituary and post condolences, you can find it here:
Ideas To Go is an innovation agency that leads start-ups to Fortune 500 companies through insights exploration, ideation, and idea and concept development while incorporating the voice of the consumer.