It gives me extraordinary pleasure to announce that last week I was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Technical University of Delft (TU Delft), for work in advancing strategic and social design.
It is an incredibly humbling experience to be bestowed such a title, for there are many that are working with great purpose in making this a better world. My deepest thanks go to TU Delft and to colleagues and friends for making this recognition possible.
While I have no personal interest in being in the limelight, I am deeply aware that this recognition is not just about highlighting an individual but more importantly about highlighting an emerging field and community. The purpose of the award should and has to be that of helping advance the great work of others. I will work hard to make sure I serve this title right.
The TU Delft Dias Natalis January 10th ceremony was inspiring; Professor Paul Hekkert’s speech “Doing the right thing” was brilliant.
Professor Peter Lloyd was my promoter and delivered a moving tribute. Thank you Peter and thank you TU Delft for making more than memories- I look forward to working with you!
I am including a transcript of my very brief thank you remarks upon receiving the honorary doctorate. I have expanded them to call out a few select individuals without whom I would not be writing this. My deepest apologies for all that I have not highlighted- my runway is limited. But don’t fret, your work and friendship goes above and beyond digital ink.
“(TU) Delft- thank you.
Thank you Rector (Magnificus), Peter (Lloyd), Paul (Hekkert), Nynke (Tromp) and to you, colleagues wide and far, too many to mention all.
It’s an honor
and deeply humbling
the asymmetry of an institution conferring such honors to individuals like myself does deliver a personal experience of gravitas.
But luckily we don’t exist in isolation. I want to thank:
- my wife Riikka
- our children Carlo & Alessia
- my parent, sister and relatives
- friend and colleagues, the brilliant people I’ve had the honor to share life and work with, and most importantly learn from”
Bryan Boyer, Justin Cook, Dan Hill. Without you there would be little there. Thank you!
To the Stroke Pathways Project team (Laura, Cathy, Sarah, Phoebe, Behrang, Catherine, Sarah, Marisa, and… yes, Justin & Bryan- that’s how far it goes!) who back in 2004 started it all, working to define a design methodology to help transform a US care delivery system to deliver better outcomes at lower costs. Work that helped put design on the table in many different contexts: from the Pentagon to the Prime Minister’s Cabinet; from business boardrooms to patient rooms; from non-profits to healthcare providers. A team that helped shape through practice, strategic design and an integrated approach to change. To Tenley Albright and MIT Collaborative Initiatives for helping make it happen! To colleagues Gil Gonzalez of Massachusetts General Hospital and Elizabeth Teisberg of Dell Medical Center- thank you for being part of the core group. Thanks to all our advisors, including Darrel Rhea of Rhea Insights and to our funders for believing in a different way of working. To the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Dan Schodek, and fellow GSD colleagues, for opening new worlds and supporting our work. Thank you!
To Esko Aho and the Finnish Innovation Fund (Sitra) for having the vision to bring strategic design into a government context; and for colleagues who helped us build the many initiatives including Low2No, Helsinki Design Lab, Design Exchange, Brickstarter, Open Kitchen, and to our 2010 Studio teams, and our many collaborators including OpenEndedGroup, Elemental, and TwoPoints (to mention just a few). To Sitra’s amazing Strategic Design team (Kalle, Seungho, Maija, and colleagues throughout Sitra). Thank you!
Thank you current colleagues in practice and governments, who are passionate about delivering a better tomorrow: from Jesper Christiansen of Nesta’s States of Change, Indy Johar of Dark Matter Labs, Nuttaphong Jaruwannaphong in Thailand, Rosanne Haggerty of Community Solutions, to Christian Bason for being there during the early days, and many (way, way too many… sorry I can’t fit all!) others. You know who you are and you continue to inspire us all! And to the many of you in institutions like UNDP who have shown incredible vision and patience in pursuing transformative change. To those in the academy who have taken up the responsibility to help build new pathways of learning for future generations. To colleagues near and far who have provided much intellectual and moral leadership in these exciting but challenging times. Thank you!
“And to communities across the world that provide inspiration and hope through their ingenuity and deep humanity.
Lastly I want to encourage us to see ourselves as a simple and humble link in a chain across generations.
Our parents, grandparents, great grandparents. Imagine this chain going back thousands of years. And moving forward, new generations and their future-futures.
- I want to thank all the generations that have come before us, that have made our lives and realities possible.
- I want to apologize to our future generations for the work we may leave undone.
- But most importantly I want to thank you, Delft and colleagues for making sure that apologies won’t be necessary, that we will get the job done.”
January 10, 2020
Delft University of Technology
178th Dies Natalis Ceremony
Honorary Degree acceptance thank you