• 1951
    (b.) - ?


An American businessman, entrepreneur, designer, engineer, and teacher, he is founder, Chairman, and managing partner of the design firm IDEO and a Professor at Stanford University. He has received several honors for his contributions to design and design education. He has been recognized as one of America's leading design innovators by many publications, including Business Week, Fortune, Esquire, Upside, and others. He was described by I.D.Magazine as "the most sought-after design engineer this side of Thomas Edison." He was born in Barberton, Ohio. His brother is Tom Kelley, the General Manager of IDEO and author of The Art of Innovation and The Ten Faces of Innovation. He is married to Kc Branscomb, a former CEO of IntelliCorp, whom he met through mutual friend, Steve Jobs. He earned a Bachelor?s Degree in Electrical Engineering at Carnegie-Mellon University in 1973, and began work as an engineer, first at Boeing and later at NCR. At Boeing, he was responsible for the design of the Lavatory Occupied sign for the 747 airplane. This experience led him to return to school. In 1977, he earned his Master's degree from the Joint Program in Design at Stanford University, popularly called the Product Design program. He began teaching in the Stanford Product Design program in 1978, after earning his Master's. He was briefly a PhD student. Also in 1978, he partnered with another Stanford Product Design graduate, Dean Hovey, to form Hovey-Kelley Design. Hovey left to pursue other interests and the firm was renamed David Kelley Design (DKD). In 1984, he was a co-founder of Onset Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm. He also cofounded Edge Innovations, a special-effects company responsible for the whales in the Free Willy movies, among many other film credits. In 1990, he became a tenured professor at Stanford University, and was named the Donald W. Whittier Professor in Mechanical Engineering in 2002. In 1991, he merged DKD with three other design firms (Mike Nuttall's Matrix Product Design in Palo Alto, ID TWO in San Francisco, and Moggridge Associates in London, both founded by Bill Moggridge) to create IDEO, which he ran as CEO until 2000. Recognized as one of America's leading design innovators, IDEO has won more design awards than any other firm of its kind, developing thousands of products across a wide range of industries. The company has helped hundreds of start-ups and Fortune 100 companies -- including Apple, Cisco, Ford, Handspring, Palm, Pepsi, Polaroid, Samsung, Steelcase and Whirlpool -- identify opportunities for innovation. To do this, IDEO employs over 350 experts in diverse fields including industrial design, mechanical and electrical engineering, human factors research, architecture interior design, business strategy, software, and interaction design. In addition to its Palo Alto headquarters, IDEO has offices in San Francisco, Boulder, Chicago, Grand Rapids, Boston, London, Munich, Tel Aviv (affiliate), and Tokyo. As Chairman and Managing Partner, he continues to play an active role at IDEO. In 2004, he led the creation of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University, known as the "d.school." In 2012, he spoke on building creative confidence at TED 2012. He had earlier spoken at TED 2002 on human-centered design. In 2009, he was awarded the Edison Achievement Award by the Thomas Edison Papers at Rutgers University for his ?pioneering contributions to the design of breakthrough products, services, and experiences for consumers, as well as his development of an innovative culture that has broad impact.? In 2005, he was recognized for his "distinguished contribution to design education" with the Sir Misha Black Medal. In 2001, the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum presented him and his company, IDEO with the National Design Award in Product Design. In 2000, he was honored with a Chrysler Design Award, and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for "affecting the practice of design."
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    One of America's leading design innovators
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