Arnott, John


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345 O'Connor Drive
, Ontario
M4J 2V4
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John Arnott has been a leader in professionalIndustrial Design practice in Canada and internationally for more than thirtyyears. He has also been a leader in the professional organisation, thenon-profit arts and design communities, and the International Industrial Designfraternity. In parallel, he has been a serial entrepreneur having startedseveral companies including Input Technologies Inc., the pioneering company in‘touch screen’ technology based on his patents forming the basis of what todayis ubiquitous.

In his teaching both in institutions and withinhis practice, his emphasis has been on pragmatism and fact based research. Nurturingcolleagues and students has been the foundation of a collegial working style thathas proven both effective and enjoyable. A day with nothing learned is a sadoccasion.

He is now looking for a position in which toconsolidate his experience of the history of Industrial Design in Canada, toengage in further research to extend and communicate that history. He is alsoworking on a manual for ‘Business for Designers’ and is very much a believer inthe designer as entrepreneur. He believes that without a grounding in businesspractices, graduates are only equipped to be employees. Many, by default, willhave to start a business; they need some tools to do so.

 John’s teaching experience has included formalpositions as well as many guest lectures at various institutions, including,but not limited to, Ontario College of Art & Design, University of Toronto,Carleton University, George Brown College, Humber College of AppliedTechnology, University of Victoria. He has published in journals such asthe The Design Management Review. This activity stems from his interest in thedevelopment and dissemination of knowledge and tools to help designprofessionals communicate more effectively in today’s fast paced businessenvironment. He is a committed life-long learner.













Humber College of Applied Technology                                                        2010-2016


Professor. Design Management,Economics of Industrial Design, Case Studies

Chair, Program Advisory Committee.


Mr. Arnott has taught three coursesto the graduating degree class in Industrial Design; Case Studies, DesignManagement, and Economics of Industrial Design. The students are given a crashcourse in business language to complement their visual communication skills,strategic planning and marketing, and an understanding of how to align designstrategy to corporate strategy in a start-up or corporation. In all casestheory has been presented in real-world context, either from his own practiceor from contemporary or historical/iconic examples.




University of Toronto                                                                                       1974-1990


           Guest lecturer to graduate studentsin Computer science under professors     Baecker,Moore, Buxton and Ishii. This activity started as an attempt to help the            students improve the quality ofprototypes in order to not distort research        outcomes.ADG was a key participant in and a sponsor of, The            Telepresence Project, the first demonstration of web based           telecommunications. Mr.Arnott’s patents from this work formed the basis of        ITI’s IP strategy and the foundations of what is known as‘touch screen’ input. This group, alongwith several graduate students, were considered pioneers in    User Interface Design, now known as UXdesign.



George BrownCollege                                                                                   2005-2008


           Part-time professor in the graduateDesign Management diploma program. A    multi-disciplinarycourse directed at mature students.
















The Arnott Design Group Inc.                                                                                                                                                                                               1972-present                                                                                                                                                                                   


           Founder,President, CEO

ADG grew to thirty two talenteddesigners, engineers, and marketers forming the largest high-technologyIndustrial Design consultancy in Canada. The company designed over 250 productsand systems, from plastic household goods, to an experimental Air TrafficControl System for Transport Canada, and many in between in scale.

The firm, in collaboration withprofessors Ron Baecker, Bill Buxton, Gale Moore and Hiroshi Ishii of theUniversity of Toronto, were pioneers in 'User Interface Design'.  Much ofthe output of the firm was medical electronics combining technology, humanfactors, innovative engineering, research, and brand development.

ADG was a pioneer in the use ofsophisticated 3D modelling tools and installed the first Silicon Graphics computerrunning Alias software in Canada and the first by an ID firm anywhere.

ADG helped many start-ups, MSEs andlarge multi-national corporations develop innovation strategies for continuednew product introductions leading to sustained profits. More recently ADG hasbeen providing strategic design management and product planning, long rangestrategic scenario visioning and analysis.


Input Technologies Inc.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1995-2002


           Founder,CEO. Chairman, VP Advanced Research.


Mr. Arnott invented a patentedsystem for projecting a computer image on to a desk surface that interfacedwith an electronic pen allowing the user to ‘draw’ directly in a computerprogram (what is currently known as ‘touch input”). The patented technologyinvolved both hardware and software that was developed as part of The Telepresence Project at U of T. Thecompany grew to 32 people with offices in Toronto and Scottsdale, AZ. Numerousawards were received and trials underway with major auto, animation andaerospace companies worldwide (BMW, Mercedes, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, GM, Fox,Disney, Airbus) through partnerships with SGI, IBM and CATIA. Mr. Arnott wassuccessful in building the team into an efficient yet collegial group, able tointeract with companies around the world. He raised $13m in venture funds andmanaged investor relations and Chaired the Board. Investors included Magna, BDCVentures and several VCs.




VentureLAB                                                                                            2010-2013


           Entrepreneurin Residence


This position for the TechnologyIncubator in the town of Markham was to help start-up companies avoid the mostobvious pit-falls facing first-timers. This advisory role encompassed the fullrange of managerial scope including finance, marketing, engineering,fund-raising, with a strong emphasis on market analysis, product strategy, andcustomer potential.


Nimble Ventures Inc.                                                                                     2012-2016


           Nimble was started as VentureLab andwas changed to Nimble Ventures to avoid            confusionwith other companies. It was founded with the mission to commercialise            Intellectual Property invented atUofT but was ultimately unsuccessful due to the draconian IP policies of the University and the InnovationsFoundation.


Canadian General Electric                                                                    1968-1971


           Directorof Industrial Design.

Design draftsman in mechanicalengineering responsible for all mechanical design, testing, parent companyrelations, liaison with industrial engineering, pilot runs to productionspecification, CSA testing, vendor liaison, through to production. Includedconsole television and stereo models for house brand and private label,approximately 20 models/yr.

Established an in-house industrialdesign function within the marketing department responsible for all productdesign sourcing, generation, and implementation. Included above consoleproducts, components, and all portable products. Managed graphic designapplications and liaison with agencies on brochure design and communications.Included responsibility for all consumer research, market tests, focus groupresearch, etc.


Microlith Electronics                                                                                  1973-1977


           Director,Design & Research

Microlith was a leader in thedevelopment of low cost simple calculators for lay-people rather thanengineers, a market then dominated by Hewlett-Packard. The company thenpioneered the development of microprocessors for personal communications whichhas evolved into the smart phone we know today. Mr. Arnott commuted to theOrient monthly during this period and became principal liaison betweensub-contract manufacturers and many customers in Europe and North America.





Island Tents & ExpositionServices Inc.                                                                                                                                                                                                        2016-2019


           CEO, President


           John wasasked to rescue this company that is in the event rental business. He            found a company that for seven yearshad had no marketing      effort applied,little    inventory renewal, and steadilydeclining sales.

           Intwo years he cleared deadwood and built a cohesive team, re-branded the company, straightened the books, built a coherentmarketing program and re-established avibrant culture and presence in the Vancouver Island            business community. The company was successfully      soldin March of 2019.



Are YouUsing the Right Tools? Design Management Institute Review.

The FiveOrders of Ignorance. Arnott Group Blog.

A Review ofInnovative Companies in Canada. ‘Canadian Factors For Success in Commercialisation’  IndustryCanada.




           Honours Industrial Design. OntarioCollege of Art.     

           MBA incomplete. Harrow BusinessSchool, University of Westminster

           Various management and productivitycourses.

           Extensive business periodicalreading list.                                            


Current and Former Associations andnon-profits:


President, The Association of CanadianIndustrial Designers, ACID

Member, The Association of CharteredIndustrial Designers of Ontario. ACIDO

Member, Industrial Designers Society ofAmerica, IDSA

Advisor to The National Design Council ofCanada. NDC

Director, The Association of CanadianIndustrial Designers. ACID

           Co-founder, TheGroup for Design In Business. GDB  (merged with DX)

Director, Member of the Executive Committee,The Design Exchange. DX

Director, The Performing Arts DevelopmentFund. PADFOT

Founder, The Festival of the Future. F.O.F.


           Member, TheOntario College of Art Restructuring Team, Government of            Ontario.

Member of the IDEAS NEED SPACE campaign forthe expansion of OCADU resulting in the ‘Tabletop’ building by Wil Alsop.

           Trustee, TheWORLDESIGN Foundation, NY. (A unit of IDSA)

           Member,  The Design Management Institute

           Representative ofCanada to various ICSID conferences and events.

           Represented Ontarioat EU cultural missions.

           Advisor, ThePremier’s Council, Government of Ontario

           Judge, SonyInternational Student Design Competition. NY

           Member, IEEE,ACM SIGGRAPH, & SIGGHI, Design Management            Institute. DMI.

           SET SAIL FOR HOPE,charity for kids with cancer, 12 years.

           Director, THE BROAD REACH FOUNDATION, leadership instruction     through sailing for challenged kids.

           Former member of various ski,tennis, and sailing clubs in Ontario, Victoria BC.

           Blue water sailor, RCYC.



PartialClient list for ADG. (250 projects in total)


           CanadianGeneral Electric, homeentertainment, housewares

           Volvo, 3D computer modelling andset-up, California design facility

           Government of Canada. Experimental airtraffic control system. (Sole            sourceergonomics based contract.)

           Franke, global fast food kitchensystems for McDonalds worldwide.

           Air Canada, seat spacing ergonomic design,simulations & animations

           Corel, telepresense video camera

           Bombardier, interior simulation &animation Dash 8 aircraft

           Sci-Can, dental and gynecological sterilizers

           Garland, commercial kitchen systems

           Labatt’s, 3D beer bottle

           Petro Canada, oil bottle

           MacPod Enterprises, ski boot system

           MCM Computers, mini computer housing

           Nixdorf, banking terminals

           Noma, lawn mowers, SnoRacer, recreationdevices

           Oster, coffee maker

           Pratt & Whitney, diorama




           John Arnott.


           The Arnott Design Group Inc.

           345O’Connor Drive

           Toronto,ON  Canada  M4J 2V4


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