Mr. Whitney is the former dean of the Institute of Design (ID), Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), where he was the Steelcase/Robert C. Pew Professor of Design and an IIT distinguished professor. During his leadership of ID, the school created the first PhD program in design in the USA, transformed ID into a leading institution in design methods and theory, and created an executive education program translating design to organizational leadership.
Mr. Whitney is widely regarded as a thought leader for pioneering the notions of human-centered design and strategic design. He conducts executive seminars and advises many organizations including Aetna, BP, Godrej & Boyce (Mumbai), Proctor & Gamble, SC Johnson, Texas Instruments, and government agencies in Denmark, Hong Kong, India, and the UK. Business Week has featured him as a design visionary for bringing together design and business; Forbes named him as one of six members of the ‘E-Gang’ for his work in human centered design; Fast Company has identified him as a ‘master of design’ for his leadership in the design field of linking the creation of value for users and economic value for companies; and Global Entrepreneur Magazine named him one of 25 people worldwide doing the most to bring new ideas to business in China.
As professor in residence and co-founder of the D-Lab, Mr. Whitney applies design methods and frameworks to seemingly intractable public health problems, while expanding human-centered and strategic design to contribute to scholarship and the educational mission of the HSPH. A hallmark of his teaching is the introduction of design methods and frameworks to improve decision-making in contexts characterized by incomplete and quickly-changing information.
Mr. Whitney earned his bachelor of fine arts in visual communication design at the University of Alberta, followed by a master of fine arts in design at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Mr. Whitney was appointed associate professor and chair of the Division of Design at Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1979. Five years later, he was appointed associate professor and head of communication design at the Institute of Design. In 1987, he was appointed professor and director, and then dean of ID.