Fri_JSB_WEB John Seely Brown

“Chief of Confusion”

Part scientist, part artist and part strategist, John Seely Brown’s unofficial title has become “Chief of Confusion”, focusing on helping people ask the right questions and make sense out of a constantly changing world. Brown is considered one of the leading contemporary thinkers on how technology impacts modern life.


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. He was a cofounder of the Institute for Research on Learning (IRL); is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Education.
At PARC, Brown devised workable ideas that illustrated his theories about “communities of practice.” For example, he once wired the office coffeemaker so that engineers at their desks received alerts when a fresh pot was ready. Electronic white boards near the coffee station served as a notepad so that employees could discuss current projects. “I am looking for ways that we don’t have to attend so many meetings by creating technologies that appeal directly to people,” Brown explained to Financial Times journalist Philip Manchester.
His personal research interests and expertise include digital culture and rich media, new forms of communication and learning, and the management of radical innovation.


John Seely Brown is a prolific writer whose books, articles, and lectures explore the scope, impact, and meaning of evolving forms of information technology and our increasingly networked world. His newest book, co-written with Douglas Thomas, is A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. By exploring play, innovation, and the cultivation of the imagination as cornerstones of learning, the authors create a vision of learning for the future that is achievable.

He is an avid reader, traveler and motorcyclist and we’re very excited to welcome him to Super Conference 2015.

Related Sessions

View full schedule