John Heskett was born in Coventry in England in 1937. He received his education at The London Schools of Economics.
Heskett's research focussed on the theme of how design creates (and not just adds) economic value and the role this has on design policy for governments and corporations. Other areas of interest are the relationship between design and innovation and the problems of design in global markets.
Heskett was professor of design at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and the author of Industrial Design (1980). In 2002 he published Toothpicks and Logos: Design in Everyday Life (2002). He also contributed articles, essays and reviews to numerous magazines, anthologies and catalogues, including Design Indaba Magazine.
John Heskett also worked as a consultant for business and governments around the world, as a member of the INDEX: Award Jury from 2004 and as a board member of CIID from 2007.
He passed away in February 2014.