MIT Meets RISD: John Maeda Becomes President.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on December 21, 2007

In a brilliant move, John Maeda from the MIT Media Lab, is taking over as the new president of RISD, one of preeminent art and design schools in the world. I’ve know John for many years and he is one of the most brilliant minds that we have in the innovation/design space. His book on The Laws of Simplicity is a must-read.

Reena Jana has an insightful Q&A with John on her Next blog.

Here’s what John has to say about the relationship between business managers and design thinkers:

Q—What sorts of new relationships with corporations might you cultivate at RISD, if you are interested in doing so?

A—Corporations today, by their razor sharp focus on the “bottom line” and quarterly earnings, have lost their ability to innovate. You folks at BW talk about it all the time. But no solutions are proferred. People think that mixing design school mentality into a business school might work; or maybe mixing business school mentality into a design school might work. Add technology, shake, then stir. Voila! What do you have? Essentially a nice mixture of oil and water that, with the progression of time will naturally separate back to the oil and the water. What is needed is a more integrative approach to engaging business-thinking with creative-thinking. How this will be done? What a great challenge to work on. That’s why I’m headed to RISD.”

Check out John himself explaining what he’s going to do at RISD—sort of.

And check out David Armano’s post on John and why he wants more exposure of design students to the business world.

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Reader Comments

Saul Kaplan

December 22, 2007 02:09 PM

RISD's bold move to bring in John Maeda bodes well for this great design school and for the state of Rhode Island.

The country's smallest state is taking advantage of its size to become a real world laboratory for business model innovation. We are repositioning our economy as a platform for innovation where ideas can quickly move from the white board on to a real world test bed. If new networked models to deliver value to the patient, student, citizen, and consumer can work in our smaller, more manageable world they will be better positioned for national and global deployment.

In collaboration with many talented RISD faculty, students, and alumni we launched the non-profit Business Innovation Factory (BIF) www.businessinnovationfactory.com with the mission of enabling collaborative innovation.

R&D for new business models is becoming an imperative for leaders in both the public and private sector and the best value creating opportunities will be found in the grey areas between disciplines, functions, and sectors. Design thinking and process is essential and hiring John Maeda is great news for RISD and for Rhode Island.

Saul Kaplan

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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