Design thinking (2/2)

Stanford d.school and IDEO

2017.08

IDEO and Stanford D. School (2/2)
Design thinking (2/2)
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III. Mutual influences between IDEO and the Stanford d.school

The building blocks of such creative thinking can be traced back to Stanford University’s d.school, where students are encouraged to mesh the practical with the creative energy from disparate areas of expertise.

  • In the 1950s and 60s, it was all the rage to differentiate products and brands using gaudy designs.
  • These aesthetic enhancements, though successful in distinguishing brands, added no value to users’ experiences or lives.
  • Thus, in 1958, Stanford University established a design program within its engineering school, setting apart the idea of design from strictly the arts.

David Kelley, who received a Master’s in Design from this program, gave back to the program by launching IDEO and contributing his own ideas about design thinking methodology.

  • IDEO founder David Kelley received a Master’s in Design from Stanford.
  • After Kelley successfully established IDEO, he was hired by Stanford as a Joint Degree Program Professor of Design. This enabled IDEO designers to attend classes as guest lecturers, inspiring and interacting with attending students.
  • Afterwards, in a conversation with the President of SAP, Kelley was inspired to consider the importance of design thinking. He received funding from SAP to start Stanford’s School of Design, which would also be known as the d.school.

The Stanford d.school is spreading IDEO’s design thinking methodology to students from a variety of backgrounds.

  • The d.school’s founding purpose: The d.school does not offer higher education degrees like business schools or law schools. Instead, it offers to all Stanford students the opportunity to learn a new way of thinking.
  • Class structure: Many of the d.school’s courses are not taught out of textbooks or printed material, but rather through interactions with external bodies (e.g., nearby high schools, Silicon Valley startups, etc.) These field workshops are meant to encourage students to apply the design thinking framework to real-life situations. Stanford professors, IDEO designers, and private sector employees act as coaches to teams of students, offering feedback to project members and teaching theory through practice.
  • Types of classes: Core Classes (immersion into comprehensive experiences of the practice of design), Boost Classes (zeroing in on two to three key abilities and offering a rigorous learning experience that will amplify your design skills no matter your experience level or areas of interest), Pop-Out Experiences (short and engaging immersion activities for the weekend)
  • Example classes: 1) Feed the change: Redesigning Food System, 2) Frameworking the future of work, 3) Negotiation by design: Applied design thinking for negotiator, 4) Transformative design, 5) Grow it. Cook it. Eat it., 6) Design for habitable planet, 7) Design thinking studio, 8) Design for health: Helping patients navigate the system, and more

  • Core Class: Design for Health: Helping Patients Navigate the System
    • Class size: 18 to 22
    • Meeting times: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:30 AM to 12:50 PM
    • Overview: For many people, participating in the American healthcare system is confusing, frustrating and often [1]disempowering. It is also an experience fueled with emotional intensity and feelings of vulnerability. The current ecosystem, with its complexity and multiple [2]stakeholders, is rife with human-centered design opportunities. An especially sticky set of issues lies in the ways people navigate healthcare: understanding how the system works, accessing information about services, making decisions about treatment and interventions, and advocating for needs. This class is designed to give students an active experience applying design thinking approaches and tools to improve navigation of the healthcare space. Students will learn deeper application of the end-to-end design thinking process including how to uncover needs in traditionally sensitive topic areas, generate novel interventions, and prototype different forms of solutions. Expect lots of engaging fieldwork, collaborative team projects, and the opportunity to drive impact through work with local medical centers on real-world design challenges. This class will significantly deepen your perspective on health care. 

  • Boost Class: Transformative Design
    • Class size: 24
    • Meeting times: Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:30 AM to 12:20 PM
    • Overview: Too many people are doing what they’ve always been told they’re good at, and are living with regret and a sense that they’re just resigned to doing this thing for the rest of their lives. Capabilities displaced their values as the primary decision driver in their lives. This course’s ultimate goal is to restore a sense of agency and passion into the lives of current Stanford students by creating the space to explore and experiment with the greatest design project possible: LIFE. The class will turn d.school tools and mindsets onto the topic of our lives — not in theory, but in reality — and will prototype changes to make your life and career more fulfilling and rewarding. The class will actively empathize and experiment in your life and work, so if you don’t want to do that kind of self-examination, this class will not be a good fit for you.


The Stanford d.school elaborates on and teaches IDEO’s three-step design thinking methodology.

  • IDEO’s three steps: Inspiration Ideation Implementation
  • The d.school’s five-step design thinking methodology: Empathize (learn about the audience for whom you are designing) Define (construct a point of view that is based on user needs and insights) [3]Ideate (brainstorm and come up with creative solutions) Prototype (build a representation of one or more of your ideas to show to others) Test & Iterate (return to your original user group and testing your ideas for feedback)

Students from the d.school are blowing winds of innovation throughout the world.

  • d.light design is a global solar energy company delivering affordable solar-powered solutions for people without access to reliable electricity. d.light has impacted over 60 million lives so far and has sold 250,000 complete solar home systems.
  • Embrace is a social enterprise that aims to help millions of vulnerable babies through a low-cost infant warmer, designed for resource constrained areas with limited or no electricity. The company’s warmers have helped over 150,000 babies.
  • Ravel Law is a startup that offers free access to computer-assisted legal research. It is funding a major scanning project at the Harvard Law School library that aims to have 40 million pages’ worth of legal documents available digitally to the public.
  • Noora Health is an online platform that offers training and information to [4]caregivers and patients after major surgeries. It aims to reduce the rate of complications that occur 30 days after the surgery by as much as 71%.

IV. Design in Korea

In the US, we find design companies like Silicon Valley’s IDEO and institutions like the Stanford d.school that pioneer innovative design education. When companies and schools collaborate, we observe revolutionary ideas come out of design.

However, myopic perceptions of “design” and the shortage of design-focused education facilities prevent Koreans from contributing to the global design movement.

What are the tenets that motivate members of IDEO or the Stanford d.school? What were the founding principles of IDEO and the Stanford d.school? How might Korea establish an institution dedicated to innovative design?

Please discuss IDEO, design thinking, and the Stanford d.school with your Ringle Tutor, and take the opportunity to improve your spoken English.

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