Design scientist and systems theorist Melissa Sterry is recognised as a world leading authority on the science, technology and thinking that could help build a better world.
A recipient of several national and international innovation, creativity and enterprise awards, including the Mensa Education and Research Foundation International Award for enhancing intelligence that benefits society, Melissa is a ’40 over 40 Women to Watch’ 2014 honouree, listed in the ‘Libertine 100’ 2015 – one hundred women with complex, beautiful and potentially world-changing ideas, and inductee of the Global Women Inventors and Innovators Network Hall of Fame.
Melissa has worked with leading-edge innovation for more than two decades, of which the past fifteen years have been at executive board-level, primarily working with first-to-market start-ups exploring the potential of emerging technology and its applications.
One of the world’s most high profile futurists, Melissa consults to both private and public sector clients globally. Specialising in futures in the built environment, utilities, manufacturing, engineering, design, publishing, media and communications, she has contributed to groundbreaking projects as far and wide as the United States, South and South East Asia, and Europe.
Regularly featured throughout the media, Melissa is published in over sixty international trade, consumer and academic titles. She has participated in wide-ranging media productions for film, television, radio and Internet, including podcasts, to-camera interviews, fly-on-the-wall documentaries, presenting, and both live and pre-recorded radio interviews. Past assignments include technology figurehead for The Guardian’s ‘The Future Designed Around You’ supplement, sponsored by Volvo.
To date, Melissa has contributed as keynote speaker, panelist and/or panel chair at more than seventy leading international conferences, seminars, festivals, awards ceremonies, and product launches in regions including Europe, United Kingdom, United States and Russia. Melissa has further contributed in the capacity of editor-in-chief, guest editor, editorial board member and curator to several design, architecture, urban, arts, and style books and magazines worldwide.
Since 2010, Melissa has conducted transdisciplinary investigations into the potential for building urban resilience to major meteorological and geological events through mimicry of the biochemistries, behaviours, relationships and systems of flora and fauna. Outputs include her PhD, which posits a new architectural and urban design paradigm for the wildland-urban-interface.
Melissa is the founder/director of Bionic City®, which asks “how would nature design a city?” and explores the potential of biomimetics, biotechnology and biology in the built environment in the now, near and far future. Developing original research, concepts and creative works, Bionic City® has attracted a global community of interest and has collaboration and co-creation partners in worldwide.
Melissa’s past and present academic activities include visiting lecturer, visiting fellow, workshop host, Masters thesis supervisor, guest critic, and assembly and scientific committee member at several leading European architecture, built environment, and design research institutes and organisations, including The Bartlett at UCL, Ravensbourne, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, Architectural Association School of Architecture, and the University of Salford.
Starting out as a cross-disciplinary designer working with both traditional and digital media, Melissa has founded and directed several high-profile creative projects throughout her career, including award-winning sustainability think tank and collaborative laboratory Societás [2004 – 2010]; catalyst for rapid innovation in sustainable design for the built environment, New Frontiers [2008 – 2010]; and two internationally renown visual arts awards – the Creative Graduate Prize [2004 – 2010] and the Iconique Societás Awards [2007 – 2010].
Melissa’s qualifications include a Postgraduate Certificate with Commendation in Innovation and Enterprise from Kingston University London and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours and Commendation for her final year thesis, in Design Practice from the University of Salford.