Scott Keoni Shigeoka is a storyteller, designer, researcher and connector.
I’ve always held a deep connection to nature and since I can remember have been joyfully exploring how we might bring meaning and community into our lives. I’m influenced by my experiences as a queer, Hawai’i-born, and creative yonsei (fourth-generation Japanese-American). I’m obsessed with fungi—you can ask me about how we can ‘embrace our inner mushroom’—and my favorite word is ‘komorebi’ (木漏れ日) which means the sunlight that shines between the leaves of a tree.
In 2019, I set out on a cross country road trip to pop my urban, coastal and progressive bubble. Spending months in states like Montana, Minnesota, Alabama and Georgia, I’ve since connected with people who have very different perspectives than me. This voyage is being developed into a forthcoming book, web series and a column on a national magazine to encourage people to expand their views, counter their stereotypes, and connect across differences.
As the Bridging Differences Fellow at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, I’m compiling and sharing research-backed practices that illustrate how we can overcome division and bridge differences. The team and I are developing a course, podcast and Playbook that will be shared with elected officials, neighborhood leaders and other practitioners to promote positive dialogue and understanding.
I’m also a creative consultant, speaker and facilitator. I’ve collaborated with the Rockefeller Foundation, AARP, National Geographic, Starbucks, the Hewlett Foundation, Dream Corps, Mozilla and the University of Pennsylvania.
My journey to now has been winding and unorthodox. I was a leader at the design firm IDEO, a writer with The Washington Post, a music festival founder, immersive theater director, and started two social enterprises in Europe and the United States.