Matt Jones asks, “If you had to get someone of guru-status to both introduce and inspire a group of about 100 designers from various backgrounds about the field of interaction design, who would you pick?

Here’s my list:

John Grimes — professor of Interaction Design at IIT. I saw John speak at Intel’s Human-Centered Product Innovation Conference II. It was hands down, the best talk of the conference. Very highly recommended.

Gillian Crampton Smith — director of the Interaction Design Institute at Ivrea. Really attune to the challenges facing the Interaction Design community. Good speaker. Highly recommended.

Alan Cooper — the obvious choice. Depending on the audience, he might be the best choice. His message remains pretty consistent though, so if the audience has seen him before, they might not hear something new to inspire them. Highly recommended.

Some others suggested:

  • Bill Moggridge — I’ve seen him speak several times and I’ve never really been impressed. Definitely knows what he’s talking about, but comes from an Industrial Design background, so I think he focuses too much on “what looks cool.”
  • Bill Verplank — coined the term Interaction Design with Bill Moggridge. Great teacher but unlikely to get the audience fired up about Interaction Design.
  • Nathan Shedroff — never seen him speak.
  • Jared Spool — Great speaker, but I think of him as an evaluator of the Interaction Design community rather than a participant and as such, probably not the best choice for this talk.
  • Jef Raskin — more curmudgeonly than inspirational; not really attune to the interaction design community either.
  • John Maeda — never seen him speak.

Inspirational introduction to Interaction Design?