"Primordial", Ecological Design and the Nature of Things


Mickey McManus

Research Fellow, Office of the CTO, Autodesk

Friday, April 22, 2016 -
1:30pm to 2:30pm
Newell-Simon Hall 1305 (Michael Mauldin Auditorium)
Seminar Video

In his current research project, “Primordial," Mickey McManus and his team are exploring the impact on design when three inevitable technology trends converge. Often called the “Internet of Things,” pervasive computing is a game-changer that's on a collision course with two complementary trends—digital manufacturing and machine learning. In 2012, Mickey co-authored one of the essential field guides to the era of pervasive computing in his book, Trillions. He believes that these three trends, taken together, give us the ability to shift to an entirely new set of design and business paradigms for the first time in our history. The way we design for things, when they begin to wake up, is uncharted territory. If we don’t take into account our connected future and continue to design for disconnected things, we will design our way into irrelevance. The challenge we as designers face is how we surf these trends, what we do about them, and how the act of designing "things" will change. Those of us that figure it out sooner rather than later will have an unfair advantage, while others will be reactionary and surprised at each turn of the screw. Mickey and his team hope some of us can not only survive the riptide, but also harness its power for good. Please join Mickey in a discussion about Primordial, ecological design and the nature of things.

Speaker's Bio

Mickey McManus is a research fellow at Autodesk in the Office of the CTO, and Principal & Chairman of the board at MAYA Design, a design consultancy and innovation lab. He's a pioneer in the fields of pervasive computing, collaborative innovation, human-centered design and education. Mickey holds nine patents in the area of connected products, vehicles and services, and spearheaded the launch of MAYA's Pervasive Computing practice to help companies kick-start innovation around business challenges in a vastly connected world - where computing devices outnumber people. 

In 2012, he coauthored the book Trillions: Thriving in the Emerging Information Ecology (Wiley) — a field guide to the future, when computing will be freely accessible in the ambient environment. Trillions was awarded the Axiom Gold Award in 2013 for best business book about technology and the 2013 Carnegie Science Award in the Science Communicator category.

Mickey speaks frequently about pervasive computing, design, and business innovation. He has lectured at Carnegie Mellon University, Illinois Institute of Technology, LUMA Institute, MIT, Princeton, University of Illinois, UC Berkeley, and UCLA. His work has been published in Bloomberg BusinessweekFortuneFast CompanyWall Street Journal, and the Harvard Business Review.

Jim Morris