Dr. Fernando Flores is recognized as a leader in the world of business process design, coaching, innovation, cognition, and education. His work laid the foundation for much of the current understanding about action workflow and commitment management theory, having been discussed in hundreds of publications, and are taught at leading universities around the world. He is the author of various publications, including Understanding Computers and Cognition, A New Foundation for Design, co-authored with Dr. Terry Winograd,; Disclosing New Worlds: Entrepreneurship, Democatic Action and the Cultivation of Solidarity , co-authored with Hubert Dreyfus and Charles Spinosa; and Building Trust, co-authored with Robert Solomon.
Dr. Flores was born into an entrepreneurial family in southern Chile. He distinguished himself academically at the Catholic University, the largest private university in Santiago, where while still a student of industrial engineering, he received an offer to teach operational research. By age 27, he was acting Dean of the Department of Engineering Science, and shortly thereafter he served as acting Provost of the University.
In 1970, Dr. Flores was appointed as General Technical Director of the Corporacion de Fomento de la Produccion (CORFO), a large conglomerate of major Chilean corporations created to promote development and investment. Simultaneously, he also served as a director of the Inter-American Bank and as president of Instituto Technologo de Chile (INTECT). His role at CORFO led to his appointment to a number of ministerial positions with the Allende government, including Minister of Economics and Minister of Finance. During those years, he initiated a national project called CYBERSYN to apply cybernetics to the management of Chile’s productive systems, one of the earliest attempts to use computer communications for large-scale management.
While serving in the government, Dr. Flores began formulating the ideas that later would become the basis of his doctoral dissertation, several innovations in software designs, and a number of companies, including an educational, a software, and a management consulting company. Working on an economic model that would allow various institutions to function together efficiently, he developed a clearer articulation of the underlying question of how human beings work together to integrate and coordinate activities.
The year 1973 became a defining moment in Dr. Flores’ life. Imprisoned for three years after the military led coup d’etat against the Allende government, he continued to reflect on the important question of how people work together to get things done, and began to formulate his ideas about communication and linguistic theory.
By the time of his 1976 release through the efforts of the San Francisco chapter of Amnesty International, he was ready to begin testing what was to become his ground-breaking work. Settling in the bay area with his wife and five young children, he began work as a researcher in Stanford’s Department of Computer Science.
At Stanford, he met Dr. Terry Winograd , an artificial intelligence expert and professor of computer science and natural languages. Together they wrote Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation For Design, which was named as the Best Information Science of 1987 by the American Society for Information Science, and recognized by Byte Magazine as one of the all time 20 most influential books on Information Technology.
In 1977, Dr. Flores began an interdisciplinary Ph.D at the University of California at Berkeley under the supervision of such internationally recognized scholars as John Searle (philosophy of language), Stuart Dreyfus (Operations Research), Hubert Dreyfus (Continental Philosophy) and Ann Markussen (Management Theories). In 1979, he wrote and defended his dissertation published as Communication and Management in the Office of the Future, which became the foundation of much of his later work and of the companies he founded and co-founded.
These companies include: Business Design Associates, a pioneering management consulting firm in the areas of business process, service innovation, organization, design and implementation through pilots and project management, leadership, and teamwork coaching; Logonet Inc., an educational organization that coached over 20,000 people in Dr.Flores’ conversations for actions methodology; and Action Technologies, an early leader in the creation of groupware and workflow software, and the owner of various patents for the development of software for managing communications in digital networks.
Fernando Flores’ clients have included top executives and their staff throughout Europe and the Americas, including clients in New York, California, Boston, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Italy, Sweden, France and Switzerland.
He has devoted more than 40 years to studying how people work together, synthesizing his insights on technology, language and management into a new theory of work that has had many practical applications in education and in the corporate world.
Today, Fernando Flores is founder of Pluralistic Networks, a company that harnesses the communication power of the world wide web and the immersive experience of virtual role playing games to offer individuals and organizations the accelerated learning of critical new skills.
In Chile, he is President of Chile's National Innovation Council for Competitiveness, he is also a Director of the Pais Digital (Digital Nation) Foundation, and founder of the Mercator Foundation.
Consistent with his life-long interest in education, he and his family also own Colegio Altamira, a Kindergarten - 12th grade school in Santiago where they strive to give their students the skills necessary to excel in action in a global and constantly changing world.