Bill Moggridge, designer of the first laptop computer in 1980 and co-founder of IDEO, the renowned innovation and design firm, has been named director of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York, effective in March.
Moggridge has a global reputation as a designer, having pioneered interactive design and integrating human factors into the design of computer software and hardware.
“Bill Moggridge is an entrepreneur, innovator and visionary leader in the design world,” Secretary Wayne Clough said when making the announcement. “The Smithsonian and Cooper-Hewitt are poised on the edge of a new era and having Bill Moggridge as director of our national design museum offers exciting prospects for the future. I look forward to working with him.”
Moggridge, 66, describes his career as having three phases: first, as a designer, second, as a leader of design teams and third, as a communicator. In his first two decades as a designer, he established his business internationally by designing high-tech products, including the Grid Compass, the first laptop computer. With the co-founding of IDEO in 1991, he turned his attention to developing best practices for interdisciplinary teams and built client relationships with multinational companies. Since 2000, he has been a spokesperson for the value of design in everyday life, writing books, producing videos, giving presentations and teaching.
“This is an enormous honor and opportunity for me,” Moggridge said. “It is deeply satisfying that design is being embraced today as a way to tackle many of the complex challenges facing business and society. In my new role as director of Cooper-Hewitt, I aim to communicate its impact and relevance in everyday life to inspire people’s interest, understanding and engagement with all disciplines of design.”
Moggridge was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at Cooper-Hewitt’s National Design Awards at the White House in 2009. This award is given in recognition of an individual who has made a profound, long-term contribution to contemporary design practice.
At Cooper-Hewitt, Moggridge will oversee the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. In this role, he will establish the museum as the pre-eminent national design resource, enhance its profile as one of the world’s leading authorities on the role of design in everyday life and develop and present exhibitions—both actual and virtual.
Moggridge is the author of Designing Interactions, published by MIT Press in October 2006, and named one of the 10 Best Innovation and Design Books of the year by BusinessWeek magazine. He is working on a new book due out in fall 2010, Designing Media, which examines the connections between traditional mainstream media and the digital realm.
Moggridge’s professional activities include advisor to the British government on design education (1974), trustee of the Design Museum in London (1992-1995), visiting professor in interaction design at the Royal College of Art in London (1993) and member of the Steering Committee for the Interaction Design Institute in Ivrea, Italy (2003).
He is also a consulting associate professor in the design program at Stanford University, a position he has held since 2005. In addition, Moggridge served as chair for CONNECTING ’07 World Design Congress held in San Francisco in October 2007. This event and three exhibitions brought the international industrial design community to the United States for the first time since 1985. Moggridge worked on the planning and preparation for seven years and served as master of ceremonies for the main congress.
Moggridge studied industrial design at the Central School of Design in London, graduating in 1965. After gaining some work experience in the United States, he returned to London to study typography and communications before establishing his consulting business in 1969.
Moggridge succeeds Paul Thompson, who was Cooper-Hewitt’s director for eight years until this past July when he left to become the rector of the Royal College of Art in London. Caroline Baumann, the museum’s deputy director, has served as the acting director since July.
Posted: 6 January 2010