Calling time on human exceptionalism: A conversation with Jon Ardern | Benjamin Freud, Ph.D.

December 2, 2022

In this episode, I speak with Jon Ardern, designer, artist and technologist. As Co-Founder and Director of Superflux he develops long term vision and strategy for the Studio alongside constant, and deliberate, prototyping and material investigation. Over the last 14 years Jon has developed pioneering design, technology and foresight projects, projects, and exhibitions receiving critical acclaim, awards, and press internationally. His work has been exhibited at the MoMA New York and V&A London on numerous occasions, and has won prizes from UNESCO and New York’s Social Design Network. Find Superflux’s manifesto here. We discuss:

🥥 How we shouldn’t decide the destination before taking the journey of exploration into design and learning;

🥥 How “navigating a predicament” might help us avoid the traps of problem-solution approaches;

🥥 How when we think we’re designing experiences for others, we end up transformed ourselves.

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Benjamin Freud, Ph.D.

Benjamin Freud, Ph.D. is the co-founder of Coconut Thinking, which creates learning and action experiences where all learners have a common purpose; positive impact on the welfare of the bio-collective — any living thing, sentient or plant, that has an interest in the healthfulness of the planet. Benjamin also works as the Whole School Leader of Learning and Teaching at an International School in Thailand. He was the Academic Coordinator at Misk Schools, which, as the school of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is the most prestigious and high profile school in the kingdom. In 2018-2019, he was also the Head of Upper Primary and Middle School at Misk. Prior to this, he was Vice Principal of the Middle School and High School at the Harbour School in Hong Kong. He holds a Ph.D. in History, an MSc in Education, an MBA, an MA in International Relations, and a BA in International Affairs. Benjamin was born and grew up in Paris, France. He moved to the U.S. when he was 15 and spent 11 years there in different cities, before living in the U.K., Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, and now Thailand. He started his career in consulting for Internet start-ups in Silicon Valley in the late 1990s, working with people whose ambitions were no less than to change the world. This experience had a profound effect on Benjamin’s outlook on education, innovation, and entrepreneurialism.

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