Jon Kolko

Jon Kolko

Founder and Director
Austin Center for Design

Jon Kolko is the Founder and Director of Austin Center for Design, a progressive educational institution teaching interaction design and social entrepreneurship. His work focuses on bringing the power of design to social enterprises, with an emphasis on entrepreneurship and large-scale industry disruption. He has worked extensively with both startups and Fortune 500 clients, and he has a breadth of experience in consumer electronics, mobility, web services, supply chain management, demand planning, and customer-relationship management. He has worked with big-brand clients such as AT&T, HP, Nielsen, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Ford, IBM and other leaders of the Global 2000, as well as with startups like Socialware, Spredfast, Vast, Attivio, and more.

Jon is also the Vice President of Design at MyEdu, a company focused on helping college students manage their college experience. He has previously held positions of Executive Director of Design Strategy at Thinktiv, a venture accelerator in Austin, Texas, and both Principal Designer and Associate Creative Director roles at frog design, a global innovation firm. He was also a Professor of Interaction and Industrial Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where he was instrumental in building both the Interaction and Industrial Design undergraduate and graduate programs. Jon has also held the role of Director for the Interaction Design Association (IxDA), and Editor-in-Chief of interactions magazine, published by the ACM.

Jon is the author of the book Thoughts on Interaction Design, published by Morgan Kaufmann, Exposing the Magic of Design: A Practitioner’s Guide to the Methods and Theory of Synthesis, published by Oxford University Press, and Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving, published by Austin Center for Design.

Recent Tweets

@jkolko: RT @katrinaonstad: How's it selling? #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

@jkolko: We are listening to Chariots of Fire in the studio today. It's quite epic to design to.

@jkolko: Proud of the great design work from my team on our brand new Blackboard Learn Ultra:

@jkolko: RT @PCutty: Finally finished @jkolko's Well Designed—highly rec. for anyone in #prodmktg/#prodmgmt. Great insights from @joshelman @garycho…

@jkolko: @eastern_branch @anOTGexperience I mean DCA is a shit show on its own and the food sucks. I don't need half thought out iPad ordering too.

Recent Work, Articles, and Presentations


My Heart Is In The Work

Presented at the 2010 Interaction Design Association Conference (IxDA)
In 1900, Andrew Carnegie quietly declared that his "heart is in the work". This talk will examine our ability to affect change at the intersection of experience, behavior, meaning, and culture, and will emphasize our responsibility to approach our work with philanthropic enthusiasm that would make Carnegie proud. Learn more»

Abductive Thinking and Sensemaking: The Drivers of Design Synthesis

This paper presents a case for the unique qualities of Sensemaking and Abductive Thinking as the fundamental underpinnings for design synthesis activities. Learn more»

A Conversation with Don Norman and Jon Kolko.

Presented at Academy of Art University
Academy of Art University's Graduate School of Web Design & New Media Presents Out with the Old, In with the New: A Conversation with Don Norman and Jon Kolko on Trends at the Intersection of Art, Science, Business, and Design. A User Experience & Interaction Design Panel with renowned User Experience experts discussing contemporary interaction design in the context of the past, present and future. Learn more»

The Appearance of Influence

Do you have to look a certain way to be powerful? Jon Kolko explores preconceived notions and snap judgments to find out. Learn more»