Tom Kelley (author)

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For other people named Thomas Kelley, see Thomas Kelley (disambiguation).

Tom Kelley (born 1955) is an American business consultant, author, and public speaker who is globally recognized as an expert on innovation, design thinking, organization design, and related business topics.


He is the general manager of IDEO, a design and innovation consultancy founded by his brother, David Kelley. He joined the firm in 1987, and helped it grow from 20 people to its current size of 550-plus.[1][2]

Kelley attended Oberlin College on a National Merit Scholarship.[3] He earned an MBA in 1983 at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received the Delbert J. Duncan citation as the year's top marketing scholar.[4]

After graduation, Kelley was a management consultant for Towers Perrin, working on organizational and operational issues in North America, Asia and Australia.[4]

As a public speaker, he has given talks at a wide variety of events, conferences, and organizations, speaking to 10,000 to 20,000 people a year.[1] In 2001, he was a guest on Fresh Air with Terry Gross.[5] He is represented by the Leigh Bureau.[6]


In 2001, he wrote The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America's Leading Design Firm with Jon Littman. It became a business bestseller[7] and was translated into nine languages.[8] The book tells the story of IDEO’s origin and design process, and shares examples of innovation from both IDEO and such companies as REI, Pike Place Market, and Nike.[9]

In 2005, he published The Ten Faces of Innovation: IDEO's Strategies for Defeating the Devil's Advocate and Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization, also with Jon Littman. Taking the idea of a “devil’s advocate” as a negative persona people assume to shoot down ideas, Kelley prescribes ten positive roles suggested by stories of innovators in IDEO and elsewhere.[10]

In 2005, Kelley was one of the "Group of 33" who contributed to Seth Godin's The Big Moo, the followup to his bestselling Purple Cow that collects stories and insights from a variety of business leaders and writers.[11]


Both The Art of Innovation and The Ten Faces of Innovation were included in SmallBiz magazine's "best books on innovation" list in 2006.[12][13]

In 2007, Kelley became the first executive fellow of UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. The school said that his "renowned expertise in innovation makes Kelley, MBA 83, the ideal candidate to take on a newly created role."[14]

In 2008, The Art of Innovation was included in The 100 Best Business Books of All Time by Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten of 800-CEO-READ.[15]

In 2009, he was awarded the Kellogg Award for Distinguished Leadership by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. The school cited his "commitment to collaboration at IDEO, as well as for his advocacy of innovation in the business environment."[16]

In 2010, Haas School of Business again honored Kelley with its second Haas Innovation Award, "for his contributions to advancing the understanding and practice of innovation."[17]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b Collacott, Laura. A Fresh Eye. CEO Middle East, September 2008.
  2. ^ "IDEO People: Tom Kelley". IDEO website. 2010. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  3. ^ "A Galaxy Still Expanding". New York Times. 2006. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  4. ^ a b "Tom Kelley bio". Stanford Technology Ventures Program. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. ^ "Tom Kelley". Fresh Air website. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ "Tom Kelley bio". Leigh Bureau website. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  7. ^ "The BusinessWeek Best-Seller List". BusinessWeek. 2001. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  8. ^ "Purchase the Book". The Art of Innovation website. 2001. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  9. ^ "The Art of Innovation". The Art of Innovation website. 2001. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  10. ^ "The Ten Faces of Innovation". The Ten Faces of Innovation website. 2005. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  11. ^ "The Group of 33 Authors". The Big Moo website. 2005. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  12. ^ Brady, Diane. Ideas that BLOOM. BusinessWeek SmallBiz, Spring 2006
  13. ^ "Innovation in BusinessWeek SmallBiz". 800-CEO-READ website. 2006. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  14. ^ "IDEO Exec Tom Kelley, MBA 83, Named First Haas Executive Fellow". Haas School of Business website. 2007. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  15. ^ "Books in the 100 Best". The 100 Best Business Books of All Time website. 2008. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  16. ^ "IDEO General Manager Tom Kelley receives the Kellogg Award for Distinguished Leadership". Kellogg School of Management website. 2009. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  17. ^ "IDEO General Manager, Alumnus Tom Kelley Honored with Haas Innovation Award". Haas School of Business website. 2010. Retrieved 2011-04-23.