Executive Portfolio Director, IDEO Chicago
I’m on a mission to understand creativity and find new ways to enable and encourage it in others. I’m particularly interested in how the slowly-evolving human brain interacts with the rapidly-changing tech environment we live in, and the strange and wonderful new behaviors that emerge as a result. At IDEO, I apply what I’ve learned to leading client relationships, exploring new creative methods and connecting IDEO to other thought leaders around creativity.
What you won’t learn from my bio:
For six years of my life, hitchhiking was my main form of travel.
Neil Stevenson’s fascination with emerging technology and culture started at the age of eight when he began programming his first computer, a Commodore Pet. Now he carries a cellphone which has four million times as much memory, and cannot shake his sense of amazement at how fast the world is changing.
Now the Executive Portfolio Director of IDEO Chicago, Neil has led projects on everything from video game interfaces to digitally-enabled education to cutting-edge food and beverage work. He has also taken his accumulated experience in psychology, technology and cultural trends, and woven it into a futurology offering. He gives regular talks on emerging trends and future scenarios, with an emphasis on the tension between new tech-enabled experiences and our relatively unevolved brains.
Before IDEO, Neil studied the human brain and behavior at Oxford University, coming away with masters degrees in Psychology and Social Anthropology. From here he was drawn to London, where digital technology had given birth to a new musical genre: house music. He began writing about club culture, and within a few years was editor of Mixmag, the world’s biggest club magazine. He edited other magazines devoted to emerging cultural movements, most notably The Face. He also launched successful online titles such as B3ta and Popbitch that employed web communities to generate content.
Neil’s greatest wish is to travel back in time to meet his eight-year-old former self, and show him the mind-blowing capabilities of a 2014 cellphone.