Summary of Redesigning Leadership

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Rating

8

Qualities

  • Innovative
  • Applicable

Recommendation

Designer, artist, writer, engineer, scientist, academic and computer scientist John Maeda is a thought leader and Renaissance man who has lectured at the Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference. His elegant and insightful book, Laws of Simplicity, is an influential bestseller, and Esquire magazine named him one of the 21st century’s most important people. He is a National Design Award winner and president of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Maeda is an unconventional thinker who looks at matters differently – and acts accordingly. Here he writes in collaboration with Becky Bermont, the vice president of media at MIT Media Lab. getAbstract recommends this enjoyable, provocative read to anyone who wants a refreshing take on, and insightful perceptions into, the demanding universe of leadership.

About the Authors

The former associate director of the MIT Media Lab, John Maeda, is president of the Rhode Island School of Design, where Becky Bermont is vice president of media.

 

Summary

A Special Leader

John Maeda left his comfortable, prestigious and rewarding sinecure as a tenured professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to become president of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), America’s leading art and design college. This was not an easy change. At MIT, Maeda had broad academic freedom to say or do pretty much whatever he wanted. As RISD’s chief executive, Maeda’s communications and activities are more circumscribed. At MIT, Maeda was a big success; at RISD, his achievements depend in large part on politics. As an MIT professor, Maeda understood exactly what the university and students expected. As RISD president, he must figure it all out as he goes forward, without a playbook.

Maeda is an accomplished designer and artist. Many creative people don’t respect leaders, but Maeda avoided such stereotypical thinking thanks to Naomi Enami, a multimedia producer with whom Maeda became acquainted when he was young. While Enami possessed a megawatt sense of showmanship, he could function as an aware, serious businessman. Enami was famous for his signature line, “If I am here, everything is okay!” Upon entering his studio, he...


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    A. 9 years ago
    For Maeda to gain perspective, he worked in different positions at RSID. As a leader, it is so important to gain different perspectives from mentors and from those you lead. getAbstract is very helpful as I have access to gain different thought leader's perspectives on all topics.
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    A. 9 years ago
    "As an artist, he believes leaders should embrace messiness, as artists do." ...it sounds crazy but I agree. The paramount skill of a leader, in my opinion is to be as flexible as possible to catch and use every opportunity that opens up. You cannot possibly do that in a planned out day.