John Maeda, President of the Rhode Island School of Design, describes how design is helping reinvent business for the 21st century. Maeda's highly-regarded theory of Simplicity, is at once a philosophy, creative manual, and business manifesto.
John Maeda is a world-renowned graphic designer, visual artist, and computer scientist at the MIT Media Lab, and is a founding voice for "simplicity" in the digital age. He was announced as the next President of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) starting June 2, 2008.
Named by Esquire magazine as one of the 21 most important people for the twenty-first century, Maeda first made his mark by redefining the use of electronic media as a tool for expression for people of all ages and skills. He is the recipient of the highest career honors for design in the United States, Japan, and Germany and serves on the board of trustees for the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. A faculty member at the Media Lab since 1996, Maeda holds the E. Rudge and Nancy Allen Professorship of Media Arts and Sciences, and is the Lab's Associate Director of Research. He has had major exhibits of his work in Paris, London, New York, and Tokyo, and has written several books on his philosophy of "humanizing technology" through his perspective on the digital arts including The Laws of Simplicity (MIT Press) published in 14 languages.
Maeda received both his BS and MS degrees from MIT, and earned his PhD in design from Tsukuba University Institute of Art and Design in Japan. In May 2003, he received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and completed his MBA in May of 2006. Maeda is a sought-after lecturer on "simplicity" at major universities and boardrooms throughout the world.
One of the most eminent fine arts colleges in the U.S., located in Providence, R.I. It was founded in 1877 but did not offer college-level instruction until 1932. It combines professional arts training with a broad liberal arts curriculum, offering bachelor's and master's degrees in the design, fine arts, and other fields. Its art museum has extensive collections of American painting and decorative arts.
John Maeda points to a place for human experience within the large transorganic world of the 21st century technological society.
John Maeda represents the blending of the artistic and scientific spirit that is the basis of our humanity. He describes a model for where our educational systems should be going. As a human being we are both emotional and rational creatures. Learning the language of emotion depends on the artistic spirit while learning the language of critical thought depends upon the scientific spirit. Our educational system should recognize, enable and encourage children to learn both languages in order to lead full and fulfilling lives.
I found this talk to be a refreshing look at an alternative to the model we use to program our children to become zombie spare parts for our technologically dominated culture and society. We find this zombie approach in so many of our educational institutions at all levels. Maede describes another way.