David Webster is a Partner at global design and innovation company IDEO, and is based in Palo Alto, California. Immersed in the heart of Silicon Valley, Webster and his colleagues are passionate about using design to humanise technology. They channel this into the creation of valuable new user experiences and businesses for tech giants, global brands, and startups.
David is particularly focused on exploring the new affordances of emerging technologies. A current example is ‘augmented intelligence’, where the goal is to use artificial intelligence to extend and complement, rather than replace, human capability.
David has played multiple leadership roles in his 20-year tenure at IDEO. He was previously the Managing Director for each of IDEO’s largest studios, in Palo Alto and San Francisco, and also led the company’s global Health and Wellness practice.
Before IDEO, Webster worked at GK Design in Tokyo, where a renowned Japanese industrial designer taught him the phrase, ‘Human-Machine-Soul-Energy.’ He firmly believes in the value of designing at the intersection of all four, making it a core theme in his work and many talks for conferences, clients, and universities.
Webster holds a Master’s degree in Industrial Design Engineering from the Royal College of Art and a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from University of Edinburgh. He is happiest being a kid with his kids and building things in their imaginary worlds.
How we can help technology to be good
Creativity x Technology = Impact. Every single human is capable of being creative. Technology is providing us with the most powerful tools in history. The world needs all of us to choose to do something positive with that.
But technology can often be a problem as well. These days, we are all too familiar with the unintended consequences of technological advances. And the pace of progress is only increasing.
Technology advances won’t stop. We don’t get to control whether they happen, but the right design approach lets us influence how they happen.
David believes that optimism still works when it comes to creating with technology. By observing a few simple steps, anyone can orient their creativity and invent in a way that brings out the best at the intersection of human and technology.