page image

John Seely Brown - Participant

John Seely Brown (JSB) was the Chief Scientist of Xerox Corporation until April 2002, as well as the director of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) until June 2000. A master integrator and instigator of productive friction, JSB explores the whitespace between disciplines and builds bridges between disparate organizations and ideas. In his more than two decades as head of PARC, JSB 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, and complex adaptive systems. JSB is currently a visiting scholar and adviser to the provost at the University of Southern California (USC), where he facilitates collaboration between the schools for communication and media and the Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT). JSB is also currently the Independent Co-Chairman for Deloitte’s Center for the Edge, where he pursues research on institutional innovation and a reimagined work environment built on digital culture, ubiquitous computing, IoT, IA/AI and the need for constant learning and adaptability. He was also a cofounder of the Institute for Research on Learning (IRL). His personal research interests include new approaches to learning, digital youth culture, digital media and the application of technology to accelerate deep learning within and 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 and a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence. He serves on numerous private and public boards of directors, including Amazon. He has published well over a hundred papers in scientific journals and nine books. His most recent book is Design Unbound—Designing for Emergence in a White Water World with Ann Pendleton-Jullian. He has received 11 honorary doctorate degrees in four fields (science, design, public policy, humane letters) and a Ph.D from University of Michigan.

Part scientist, part artist and part strategist, JSB’s views are unique and distinguished by a broad view of the human contexts in which technologies operate and a healthy skepticism about whether or not change always represents genuine progress.



Deloitte Center for the Edge


Independent Co-Chairman