Keynote Feature - Jon Kolko, Partner, Modernist Studio

Jon Kolko 

Jon Kolko
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“The process of good product design is centered around empathy and is built on deep research with real people in their natural environment”

Kicking off the third day of the Design Thinking 2018 conference, Jon Kolko is one expert whose insights you don’t want to miss. Kolko is a well-known industry pioneer of the Design Thinking mindset, and has spent his career passionately teaching its benefits to the corporate world, at universities and to the masses through his numerous authored books.

He’s currently a Partner at Modernist Studio, where he has worked with design thinking-led giants such as Ford, IBM and Bristol-Myers Squibb in helping them work through business problems and technological constraints through design. He told Forbes, “In specific, I solve problems for large companies. In general, I slowly shift behavior in culture and society.”

Stemming from a vision to create an environment that could help designers find more meaning in their careers and counteract society’s consumptive nature, Kolko founded Austin Center for Design, a progressive educational institution teaching interaction design and social entrepreneurship. The curriculum focuses on designing products, services, and interactions to change human behavior and improve the world.

He has served as professor at numerous institutions such as Savannah College of Art and Design—where he was instrumental in building both the Interaction and Industrial Design undergraduate and graduate programs Director for the Interaction Design Association—and taught at the University of Texas at Austin, the Center for Design Studies of Monterrey, in Mexico, and Malmö University, in Sweden.

Kolko is regularly asked to participate in high-profile conferences and has judged design events, including the 2013 Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards.