Joi Ito, Director of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been named to serve on the Board of Directors of the MacArthur Foundation.  Ito is a leading thinker and writer on innovation, global technology policy, and the role of the Internet in transforming society. 

Since September 2010, Ito has served as Director of the MIT Media Lab, well-known for its research into the ways that technology impacts human communication and culture as well as the prototypes developed at the Lab itself.  Ito is Board Chairman and former CEO of Creative Commons, a non-profit that offers creative new ways to address copyright issues.  He also serves on the boards of the Mozilla Foundation and WITNESS.  In Japan, he was a founder of Digital Garage, and helped establish and later became CEO of the country’s first commercial Internet service provider.  He was an early investor in more than 40 companies, including Flickr, Kickstarter, and Twitter.   

“I am pleased to welcome Joi to the MacArthur Board,” said Robert Denham, Board Chairman and an attorney with the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson.  “The Foundation will benefit from his innovative and entrepreneurial thinking and his broad international technology experience.” 

A native of Japan who travels frequently, Ito is a self-directed learner who never completed a college degree.  He is also an advocate of Internet freedom and open-source innovation, and blogs frequently on the subject at www.joi.ito.com

“Joi brings to MacArthur’s Board a deep understanding of technological change and its potential to impact and enhance the Foundation’s work,” said MacArthur President Robert Gallucci.  “From exploring digital media and learning to promoting media freedom to many of our other grantmaking goals, Joi’s expertise and insight will be invaluable.”

MacArthur’s Board sets policies and strategic direction for the Foundation, approves grantmaking areas, initiatives and grants, oversees investments, and the audit process.  Ito joins 11 other members of the Foundation’s Board.