Iain Kerr is a designer working at the intersection of creativity, ecology, and emergent systems to make novels worlds possible. His unique approach evolves from over twenty plus years of experimenting across and beyond the zones of Architecture, Design, Ecology, Art, Creativity Studies, Ethnobotany, Food Studies, Systems Thinking, Social Entrepreneurship, Commons Studies and Philosophy. His focus is on designing novel collective processes to transform seemingly intractable problems into problems worth having for worlds worth making.
Iain is the Co-Director of the MIX Lab at Montclair State University (MIX standing for Making and Innovating for X). The MIX Lab's mission is to foster innovation at all scales, with a particular focus on disruptive and qualitative innovation for eco-social change.
In addition to co-directing the MIX Lab, Iain is a co-founder of the boundary-blurring design consultancy SPURSE and the Emergent Futures Lab.
SPURSE has been at the forefront of ecological research, experimental design, and innovation leadership for the last 15 years. While developing ground-breaking ways to probe, catalyze, disrupt and re-imagine systems both large and small, they have collaborated with communities, organizations, and individuals from the high arctic to inner cities neighborhoods in Bolivia. Their award-winning projects reveal an astonishing range of creative solutions to effecting real change: from restaurants, wetlands, wayfinding apps, urban renewal programs, microbiology laboratories, cookbooks, buildings, everyday tools and more (which have been done in collaboration with a diverse range of institutions: The Whitney, Guggenheim, MOCA Tucson, Sahjar Biennial, and others).
In 2018 Iain and Professor Jason Frasca founded Emergent Futures Lab as a platform for the rethinking of creativity, invention, and change — what they are, how they are realized, and how they can be taught. The Emergent Futures Lab has developed a number of new tools including the Innovation Design Approach. Currently, they are working on a textbook for Invention.
Iain regularly works as a consultant, lecturer and workshop leader on creativity, innovation, and design (MIT, Harvard University, Columbia University, Parsons, Yale, CCA, and RISDI). His most recent research is on developing new models of Innovation that are collective, enactive, materially engaged forms of novel worldmaking: Innovation Design.
His work and that of SPURSE and the Emergent Futures Lab has been carried out internationally: USA, Poland, Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, Mexico, Lebanon, Bolivia, and other locations. His and SPURSE's writings have been published in books and journals (Problems & Provocations, Furnitecture, The Interventionists, The Object of Labor, Experimental Geography, The International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, Surface, ID, New York Times, Elle, Teme Celeste, Art Papers, Monitor, Interior Design, and Art Journal). Their Latest book is the Eat Your Sidewalk Cookbook.