Chris Flink, a leader in the fields of design, engineering, education and business, has been appointed the Exploratorium’s new Executive Director. (Photo Nancy Rothstein Photography)
SAN FRANCISCO (May 11, 2016) — The Exploratorium Board of Directors announced today that it has appointed Chris Flink as the institution's next Executive Director. Flink, a partner at IDEO and consulting associate professor at Stanford University, will begin on June 27.
After months of an extensive international search, the Board of Directors sought an Executive Director who would lead the organization to “redefine what it means to be a science center in the 21st century,” according to Chairman of the Board George Cogan.
“The Exploratorium’s mission is to create inquiry-based experiences that transform learning worldwide. Our vision is a world where people think for themselves and can confidently ask questions, question answers and understand the world around them,” Cogan said. “Chris has spent much of his career designing hands-on educational experiences and that gives him a unique perspective on our institution. His background and leadership skills are ideal at this moment in time as we seek to further grow our impact by deepening our renowned visitor experience, increasing our worldwide influence through Global Studios and expanding our world-class teacher professional development programs.”
Flink comes to the Exploratorium with more than 20 years of experience spanning creative leadership, engineering, education and business. In his 18 years at IDEO, Chris has played a variety of roles, from heading the firm’s Consumer Experience Design practice to co-founding its New York office. He brings a passion for helping extraordinary organizations achieve sustainability and for leading within creative cultures.
“I am honored to have been chosen to lead one of the most innovative cultural institutions in the world,” Flink said. “As an educator, parent and lifelong learner, I couldn’t be more excited about the mission. The Exploratorium has long been a pioneer in creating remarkable learning experiences. The way it intertwines science with art as means of encouraging individuals to explore the world around them is unique and compelling. I look forward to leveraging my experience in design education and innovation to support an interdisciplinary environment that has such an inspiring history, rich creative culture and incredible potential.”
In addition to his work at IDEO, Flink teaches at Stanford University with adjunct appointments from both the Graduate School of Business and the School of Engineering. Since 1999, he has taught a range of courses on human-centered innovation. Flink is also a founding faculty member of the “d.school,” a celebrated institute for interdisciplinary design at Stanford. He is sought worldwide for his expertise, delivering lectures at Wharton and Columbia business schools, TEDx and the World Economic Forum.
Prior to IDEO, Chris designed and patented products as an independent inventor. He holds a Bachelors of Science in Engineering and Product Design from Stanford, where he was awarded the Chilton Memorial Prize for Excellence in Product Design. He also completed a Masters of Science at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
With his appointment, Flink becomes the fifth Executive Director in the Exploratorium's history. Former Executive Director Dennis Bartels announced his resignation in June.