John Seely Brown, Scientific Advisor

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, 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.


B.A. (Mathematics and Physics), Brown University – 1962

M.S. (Mathematics), University of Michigan – 1964

Ph.D. (Computer and Communication Sciences), University of Michigan – 1972

Honorary Doctorates

Rochester Institute of Technology, Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, May 2019

RAND/Pardee Graduate School of Public Policy, Honorary Doctor of Pubic Policy, June 2018

Arizona State University, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, May 2015

Bates College, Honorary Doctor of Science, May 2014.

Singapore Management University, Honorary Doctor of Information Systems, July 2013.

Illinois Institute of Technology, Honorary Doctor of Design, May 2011

North Carolina State University, Honorary Doctor of Science, May 9, 2009.

University of Michigan, Honorary Doctor of Science, April 30, 2005.

Claremont Graduate University, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, May 15, 2004.

London Business School, University of London, Honorary Doctor of Science in Economics, 2001

Brown University, Honorary Doctor of Science, May 29, 2000.


Design Unbound – Designing for Emergence in a White Water World.  Ann Pendleton Jullian and John Seely Brown, MIT Press 2018.

Pragmatic Imagination, Ann Pendleton Jullian and John Seely Brown 2016.

A New Culture of Learning, Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown, January 2011.

The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion,  John Hagel III, John Seely Brown, and Lang Davison, Basic Books, April 2010.

The Only Sustainable Edge – Why Business Strategy Depends on Productive Friction and Dynamic Specialization, John Hagel III and John Seely Brown, Harvard Business School Press, March 2005

Storytelling in Organizations – Why Storytelling Is Transforming 21st Century Organizations and Management, John Seely Brown, Stephen Denning, Katalina Groh and Laurence Prusak, Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann, 2005

The Social Life of Information, John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid, Harvard Business School Press, February 2000

–Italian edition: La Vita Sociale dell’Informazione: Miti e Realità nell’Era di Intternet, with preface by Carlo Formenti, (trans. Giovanni Negro) Bologna: Segretariato Europeo per le Pubblicazioni Scientifiche (SEPS), 2001

–Brazilian edition: A Vida Social da Informação (trans. Celso Roberto Paschoa) São Paulo:

Makron Books Ltda, 2001

–Dutch edition: De Waarde van Informatie, Amsterdam: Financial Times/Prentice Hall, 2000.

–Korean edition, Seoul, South Korea: Keorum Publishing, 2001

–Chinese edition (complex characters), Taiwan: Prophet Press, 2001

–Japanese edition, Tokyo: Nihon Keizai Shimbun Sha, Inc., 2001

–Turkish edition, Istanbul: BZD Yayincilik, 2001

–Spanish edition, Argentina: Pearson Educacion, 2001

–Chinese edition (simplified characters), Beijing: Commercial Press, 2002

Ergebnis Innovation: Die Welt mit anderen Augen sehen, John Seely Brown and Bolko v. Oetinger (Eds.), Munich, Germany: Carl Hanser Verlag, 1998.

Seeing Differently: Insights on Innovation, J.S. Brown (Ed.), Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing, 1997.

Intelligent Tutoring Systems, D. Sleeman and J.S. Brown (Eds.), London, England:  Academic Press, Ltd., 1982.  (Japanese translation 1987)