The Krebs Cycle of Creativity, by designer, architect, and MIT Media Lab faculty member Neri Oxman PhD ’10, was featured in the Journal of Design and Science (JoDS) in January 2016. The illustration refers to the Krebs cycle, the sequence of reactions by which organisms generate energy; and to previous matrices put forth by designers John Maeda ’89, SM ’89, a former Media Lab professor, and the late Rich Gold—both of which located Art, Science, Design, and Engineering in quadrants with distinct boundaries and specialized missions.

In a JoDS essay accompanying this illustration, Oxman names her own goal: “to establish a tentative, yet holistic, cartography of the interrelation between these domains, where one realm can incite (r)evolution inside another; and where a single individual or project can reside in multiple dominions.” Oxman suggests multiple ways to view the graphic: as a clock, a microscope, a compass, a gyroscope. However the space is navigated, she imagines an output of creative energy—not unlike the output of chemical energy in living cells—resulting from the fluid movement from one realm to another.


  1. Remarquable ! Very usefull to envision future and exchanges.

  2. phillip

    Thank you Neri for your delightful thinking on this matter. I am a Professor of Chiropractor based Neri Oxman, Krebs Cycle of Creativity.strongly in art and design over biomedical rigidity. My understanding of Japanese philosophy drew me to this image and I will now indulge in your 2016 paper. I know I will be rewarded. phillip

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