Professor David Kelley, Stanford University


David Kelley awarded the 2005 Sir Misha Black Medal for distinguished services to design education

Professor David Kelley, Stanford University, a founder of IDEO, one of the world’s most innovative design firms has been awarded the 2005 Sir Misha Black Medal for distinguished services to design education.


The Misha Black Medal will be presented to David Kelley at a special award ceremony to be held at the Royal College of Art at 6pm on Wednesday 2 March 2005, where he will also deliver an address on his design education philosophy.


David Kelley is the Donald W Whittier Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University and is one of America’s leading advocates of human-centred design. He has been greatly influential in moving the disciplines of engineering and design much closer together through his teaching and his continuing role as Chairman of IDEO. He sees the team-based integration of engineering, design and human factors research as essential to innovation.


He has taken many of IDEO’s founding principles into the educational arena through his work at Stanford University. He is responsible for educating future generations of product innovators who will emerge from Silicon Valley. Professor Kelley recently founded Stanford’s ‘d-school’, which will have a multi-disciplinary curriculum and will draw its faculty from computer science, social science, business and engineering, integrating these fields through design thinking and design methods.


He trained in electrical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and worked for National Cash Register and Boeing where he experienced many barriers to innovation in the field of engineering. He applied to Stanford University to study product design in the department he now heads. One of his early consultancy projects was leading the team that designed the first Apple Computer mouse.


Through Stanford connections, Kelley met the British industrial designers Bill Moggridge and Mike Nuttall, his co-founders in IDEO, the multi-disciplinary design firm, which they formed in 1991. IDEO is now a global company with clients, which include Procter & Gamble, Eli Lilly, Pepsi and Samsung.


David Kelley’s work at Stanford falls very much within the tradition of Sir Misha Black who founded the Industrial Design course at the Royal College of Art and was responsible for initial collaboration with Imperial College London. Professor Frank Height, Committee Member, who was the immediate successor to Misha Black at the Royal College of Art, says:

“Misha Black had a powerful belief in the creative interaction of engineering and industrial design education. In my opinion, David Kelley has taken this belief further in the wider interdisciplinary nature of his work at IDEO and particularly at Stanford University.”

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