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John Seely Brown

  • Visiting Scholar and Advisor to the Provost, University of Southern California
  • Independent Co-Chairman, Deloitte’s Center for the Edge
  • Member, Rework America

John Seely Brown is a visiting scholar and advisor to the Provost at University of Southern California (USC) and the Independent Co-Chairman of the Deloitte’s Center for the Edge. Prior to that he was the Chief Scientist of Xerox Corporation and the director of its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)—a position he held for nearly two decades. While head of PARC, Brown expanded the role of corporate research to include such topics as the management of radical innovation, organizational learning, complex adaptive systems, and nano technologies. He was a cofounder of the Institute for Research on Learning (IRL). His personal research interests include digital youth culture, digital media, and institutional innovation.

Brown is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Education, a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence and of AAAS. He serves on numerous public boards including Amazon and Corning Incorporated, as well as private boards of directors. He has published over 100 papers in scientific journals. With Paul Duguid he co-authored the acclaimed book The Social Life of Information (HBS Press, 2000) that has been translated into nine languages with a second addition in April 2002. With John Hagel he co-authored the book The Only Sustainable Edge, which is about new forms of collaborative innovation, and The Power of Pull: how small moves, smartly made can set big things in motion, published April 2010. His current book, The New Culture of Learning co-authored with Professor Doug Thomas at USC, was released January 2011.

Brown received a BA from Brown University in 1962 in mathematics and physics and a Ph.D from University of Michigan in 1970 in computer and communication sciences. He has received six honorary degrees including: May 2000, Brown University, Doctor of Science Degree; July 2001, the London Business School, Honorary Doctor of Science in Economics; May 2004, Claremont Graduate University, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters; May 2005, University of Michigan, Honorary Doctor of Science Degree, and May 2009, North Carolina State University, Honorary Doctor of Science Degree, May 2011, Illinois Institute of Technology, Honorary Doctor of Design. He is an avid reader, traveler and motorcyclist. Part scientist, part artist and part strategist, Brown’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.