I'm a designer and futurist living and working in Seattle.
Living life deliberately - as an inter-faith/cultural journey as a Native Son moving across this earth.
I grew up on a marae (traditional Maori village) on the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. Growing up in a bi-cultural household directly impacted on my later work connecting people and ideas across boundaries - organizational, cultural, ethnic, religious, and national. The aim of all my work - both commercial and non-commercial - is to help us come together to design and (re)craft value in the world in a sustainable manner.
I've had an unconventional journey in the world of design but it all started tinkering in our family workshop or out on building sites with my father. My undergraduate training in Molecular Biology followed by a Masters Degree in Political Science and Public Administration was completed at Canterbury University in New Zealand ; and I completed my graduate education studying at Oriel College, Oxford University in England and taking my PhD in Political Philosophy from the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. The key motivating factor binding all of my education together was the design of systems - biological, physical, digital, social, and cultural. During this period I was active in the emergent Strategic Design and Foresight fields, and undertook a range of short-term projects for government and non-government clients across the Asia-Pacific region. The focus of my work here was mainly on large scale design - the design of country-scale initiatives.
After working in Universities in Australia and New Zealand I ended up taking the post of the Foundation Director of the Centre for Indigenous Governance and Development at Massey University, New Zealand in 2005. Throughout this period I continued to provide design advice and leadership for a range of groups and agencies including the Australian and New Zealand governments, the United Nations Development Program, the World Bank and other groups across the Asia-Pacific region. I also pursued an active interest in charity work during this period through my role as a Board Member of OXFAM-New Zealand. As past Chair of the Programming Committee for OXFAM-New Zealand I oversaw a yearly spend of $8 million across a range of countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
My first separate commercial venture was the creation of Synexe - a Strategic Innovation and Service Design firm - in 2007 in order to leverage my consulting design work for greater impact. Eventually operating in over twenty countries in the Asia-Pacific region, our team helped organizations across the public, business and not-for-profit sectors. My private practise has focused more recently on specific work in Strategic Design (particularly Service and Social Design) with my interests brought together with my work on Futuring under the rubric of the Archetekt brand.
Over the course of my career I've tried to make sure I share what I've learnt and so have published two books and over 20 articles and book chapters and spoken and Key Noted at dozens of professional conferences. I continue to write, publish, and speak on a range of issues including Strategic Design, Futuring, the emergence of the new economy, design as a field of inquiry, technology design, implementation science, design in poverty alleviation, health systems, and environmental management. You can read some of my most recent thinking at my SSRN page. You can also explore my earlier writing and thinking on these issues here:
What binds all of my work together - both written and practical - is my desire to help design and craft spaces of engagement and, in doing so, expand the scope of creativity in order to create a more vibrant, more sustainable, and more just world!
In doing this I'm following the spirit of the whakatauki (proverbial saying) written for my mother by my grandparents' family friend, the Maori statesman, Sir Apirana Ngata:
E tipu, e rea, mo nga ra o tou ao;
ko to ringaringa ki nga rakau a te Pakeha hei oranga mo tou tinana;
ko to ngakau ki nga taonga o ou tipuna hei tikitiki mo tou mahunga;
Ko to wairua ki to Atua,
nana nei nga mea katoa.