This spring, IIT Institute of Design awarded John Seely Brown an Honorary Doctor of Design degree. ID awards honorary degrees to recognize outstanding achievement. Honorary degree recipients have made contributions to design that have enduring qualities that define our collective aspirations.
About John Seely Brown
John Seely Brown or as he is often called—JSB—is the Independent Co-Chairman of the Deloitte’s Center for the Edge and a visiting scholar and advisor to the Provost at University of Southern California (USC). A master integrator and instigator of productive friction, JSB explores the whitespace between disciplines and builds bridges between disparate organizations and ideas.
Prior to that he was the Chief Scientist of Xerox Corporation and the director of its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)—a position he held until June 2000. In his more than two decades at PARC, Brown transformed the organization into a truly multidisciplinary research center at the creative edge of applied technology and design, integrating social sciences and arts into the traditional physics and computer science research and expanding the role of corporate research to include topics such as the management of radical innovation, organizational learning, complex adaptive systems, and nano-technologies. He was a cofounder of the Institute for Research on Learning (IRL). His personal research interests include digital youth culture, digital media, and the application of technology to fundamentally rethink the nature of work and institutional architectures in order to enable deep learning across organizational boundaries – in brief, to design for emergence in a constantly changing world.
JSB is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Education, a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence and of AAAS and a Trustee of the MacArthur Foundation. He serves on numerous private and public boards of directors, including Amazon, and has been a trustee for nonprofits including the MacArthur Foundation and In-Q-tel. In addition to publishing over 100 papers in scientific journals, JSB has authored numerous articles and reports spanning business strategy and management issues. He was awarded the Harvard Business Review's 1991 McKinsey Award for his article "Research that Reinvents the Corporation" and again in 2002 for his article (with John Hagel) "Your Next IT Strategy." In 1997 he edited the book Seeing Differently: Insights on Innovation (Harvard Business Review Books, 1997) about how new organizational structures, technologies, and global perspectives could change the way innovation occurs. He co-authored (with Paul Duguid) the acclaimed bookThe Social Life of Information (HBS Press, 2000), which has been translated into 10 languages with a second edition in April 2002. With John Hagel, he co-authored the books The Only Sustainable Edgeabout new forms of collaborative innovation and The Power of Pull: how small moves, smartly made can set big things in motion, published April 2010. His most recently published book, The New Culture of Learning, co-authored with Doug Thomas at the University of Southern California, was released January 2011. He is currently working on a new book, co-authored with Ann Pendleton-Jullian at Georgetown University called Design Unbound.