; THE DOUBLE VISION OF JOHN MAEDA
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THE DOUBLE VISION OF JOHN MAEDA

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In December, in a decision that stunned the clubby academic design world, trustees of the 131-year-old Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) unanimously picked John Maeda, the former associate research director of MIT's famed Media Lab, as its next president. In choosing a technologist, the committee is gambling that a highly networked, Web-enabled thinker who also happens to be an artist, designer, and author can help reconcile the design world's competing impulses: creativity and pragmatism, uniqueness and mass-marketability. But within RISD's redbrick halls, his appointment initially plunged the community into a state of high anxiety. He began mapping out his vision of the school's future, articulating, in a series of posts, where he thought design education at RISD needed to go. Exploring a world that both reveres and is repelled by technology has been Maeda's passion. While the corporate world is obsessed with the idea of design thinking, Maeda is skeptical.

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