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John Maeda

Design Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Former President, RISD

John Maeda is a leader who integrates technology, design and business into a 21st century synthesis of creativity and innovation. His work as an artist, graphic designer, computer scientist and educator earned him the distinction of being named one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century by Esquire.  

Maeda is currently a Design Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. From 2008-2013, Maeda served president of Rhode Island School of Design. At RISD, Maeda is leading 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 addition, he has prioritized fundraising for scholarships to ensure the broadest possible access to a RISD education.

As an artist, Maeda’s early work redefined the use of the computer as a medium for expression by combining expertise in software development with traditional artistic methods, laying the groundwork for the interactive motion graphics that are taken for granted on the web today. He has exhibited in one-man shows in London, New York and Paris. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Cartier Foundation in Paris.

A former professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Maeda taught Media Arts and Sciences for 12 years and served as Associate Director of Research at the MIT Media Lab. He has published five books including The Laws of Simplicity (2006), now translated into 14 languages. @johnmaeda was picked as one of the 140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011 by TIME Magazine, and his latest book, Redesigning Leadership (2011, with Becky Bermont) expands upon these Twitter posts.

Maeda also serves as a trustee of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, a member of the TED Brain Trust, and a member of Proctor & Gamble’s Design Advisory Board. He has designed commercial projects for corporations such as Cartier, Google, Philips, Reebok and Samsung, among others. In 2001 Maeda was awarded a National Design Award in the US; in 2002, the Mainichi Design Prize in Japan; and in 2005, the Raymond Loewy Foundation Prize in Germany. In 2009 he was inducted into the New York Art Director’s Club Hall of Fame and he received the AIGA Medal in 2010.

A native of Seattle, WA, Maeda earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT, followed by a PhD in Design Science from the University of Tsukuba Institute of Art and Design in Japan and an MBA from Arizona State University.