After two decades, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Brandcenter has an ambitious new mission. The business school’s award-winning branding graduate program wants to develop the world’s best creative problem solvers.

To that end, Brandcenter Director Helayne Spivak asked Cabell Harris, founder of WORK Labs, to design an award that would be given to someone who had a tremendous impact on the world by being a creative problem solver.

According to Harris, he began thinking about how to solve what seemed like a universal problem. The kind of problem that makes people say, “impossible,” “no way” or “why even try?” The Square Peg Award seemed appropriate for the name.

So, how do you get a square peg to fit in a round hole?

It’s hard.

After sketching several concepts, speaking to multiple award manufacturers and looking at acrylic molds, nothing seemed to work. So Harris reached out to Jason Lefton of Big Secret, an engraving studio in Richmond.  Lefton came up with the simple solution for the award’s stand, shown above, a combination of science, engineering and trickery. From there, Harris had Frank Anderson at WORK Labs illustrate the icons on all six sides of the cube. Finally, the creation went back to Big Secret to laser etch the icons into the cube.

Congratulations to Michael Karnjanaprakon of Skillshare, the first winner of The Square Peg Award. Skillshare is a learning community of teachers and students that offers thousands of “bite-sized” online classes taught by industry leaders, practitioners and companies.


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