Design Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
John Maeda is a leader who imagines how design can simplify technology and help leaders respond to new challenges in the era of social media. His work as a graphic designer, computer scientist, artist and educator earned him the distinction of being named one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century by Esquire.
In June 2008, Maeda became president of Rhode Island School of Design, and in late 2012, Business Insider named RISD the #1 design school in the world. At RISD, Maeda lead the movement to transform STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to STEAM by adding Art. Called the “Steve Jobs of academia” by Forbes, he believes art and design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century like science and technology did in the last century. In December 2013, Maeda announced his departure from RISD and new roles as design partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and chairman of eBay’s Design Advisory Board.
Design, Data, Decisions
With ever more complex technology, instant communication, social media, and big data coming at us, we live in times that beg for simplicity to have meaningful discussions, make better decisions, and have others be genuinely informed. At the MIT Media Lab, Maeda showed how design can simplify technology and help make our connections to each other more meaningful. Now, as the 16th president and CEO of the Rhode Island School of Design, he believes design can redefine leadership and be a powerful force in helping leaders navigate their competing priorities, agendas and relationships. In this talk he shows that in an age where anyone can friend the CEO, leaders need new tools that leverage the power of design and data to make them better informed and more effective communicators.
The Meaning of Innovation: Turning STEM into STEAM
How will American students remain competitive today, tomorrow, fifty years from now? How will they stay on the leading edge of innovation in a hyper-competitive world? Currently, President Obama's education initiatives have focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math as the path to innovation and a robust economy. But, John Maeda says, these so-called "STEM" subjects will only get us so far. In this passionate, refreshing, and deftly argued talk, Maeda posits that we need to add "Art" to turn "STEM" into "STEAM." The arts teach us to empathize, to create, to collaborate, and—perhaps most importantly—to humanize. Through a personal exploration of his journey from MIT to the U.S.'s leading art and design college, Maeda argues that the critical thinking, critical making, and creative leadership embodied at RISD can lead us to an enlightened form of innovation—one where art, design, technology, and business meet. The role of designers and artists is changing and expanding; what we learn from how they work, how they process, and how they think will help drive innovation—the engine of our economy—in the critical years ahead.
When designer and computer scientist John Maeda was tapped to be president of the celebrated Rhode Island School of Design in 2008, he went from being a professor—free to speak his mind against "the man"—to being "the man." Asked if he has stopped designing, Maeda replied (via Twitter) "I'm designing how to talk about/with/for our #RISD community." Maeda's creative nature makes him a different sort of leader—one who prizes honest critique and learning how to "productively fail." In this candid, entertaining, and instructive talk, Maeda uses perspectives from his various backgrounds—as an artist and designer, a technologist, and a professor—to discuss new leadership lessons he's learned since taking the helm months before the Great Recession. What are the opportunities and the limits of using social media in the new networked organization? What does leadership even look like today? And how can we adapt and move forward in our ever-changing innovation economy?
The Laws of Simplicity
Finally, we are learning that simplicity equals sanity. We're rebelling against technology that's too complicated, DVD players with too many menus, and software accompanied by 75-megabyte "read me" manuals. The iPod's clean gadgetry has made simplicity hip. But sometimes we find ourselves caught up in the simplicity paradox: we want something that's simple and easy to use, but also does all the complex things we might ever want it to do.
In The Laws of Simplicity, John Maeda offers ten laws for balancing simplicity and complexity in business, technology, and design--guidelines for needing less and actually getting more.Maeda--a professor in MIT's Media Lab and a world-renowned graphic designer--explores the question of how we can redefine the notion of "improved" so that it doesn't always mean something more, something added on.Maeda's first law of simplicity is "Reduce." It's not necessarily beneficial to add technology features just because we can. And the features that we do have must be organized (Law 2) in a sensible hierarchy so users aren't distracted by features and functions they don't need.
But simplicity is not less just for the sake of less. Skip ahead to Law 9: "Failure: Accept the fact that some things can never be made simple." Maeda's concise guide to simplicity in the digital age shows us how this idea can be a cornerstone of organizations and their products--how it can drive both business and technology. We can learn to simplify without sacrificing comfort and meaning, and we can achieve the balance described in Law 10. This law, which Maeda calls "The One," tells us: "Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful."
Maeda @ Media
John Maeda is one of the world's leading experimental graphic designers and is quickly becoming a digital culture icon. His early preoccupation with the intersection of computer programming and digital art has resulted in a fascinating, interactive, and stunningly beautiful collection of work. Maeda has pioneered many of the key expressive elements that are prevalent on the Web today. Among his most well-known works are The Reactive Square, which features a simple black square on a computer screen that changes shape if one yells at it, and Time Paint, in which paint flies across the screen. He has created innovative, interactive calendars, digital services, and advertisements for companies such as Sony, Shiseido, and Absolut Vodka.
This is the first publication to present a complete overview of Maeda's work and philosophy. A glorious visual exploration of ideas and graphic form, Maeda @ Media takes you through Maeda's beginnings in early computerized printouts, to his reactive graphics on CD-ROM, to his dynamic experiments on the Web, to his pedagogical approach to digital visual art, and finally to his overarching quest to understand the very nature of the relationship between technology and creativity. Six thematic chapters provide an overview of his entire career and research. But this is not just a catalog of other work: interspersed between each chapter is a new visual essay that has been created exclusively for this publication to underline each of the major themes. Coming together in a massive 480 pages, printed in a dazzling array of color combinations on three different kinds of paper, the result is a manifesto, a finely crafted manual and inspiration sourcebook all in one.