The last time I worked in a team environment, I was on a Skype call with the teaching team for a pop-up class. That was a week ago. I have not been as diligent about working in teams as I should be, especially when I consider everything I have learned about the power of multidisciplinary team creation. (That’s to say nothing of how much I proselytize about this type of teamwork to others.)Read More
Update: Thank you to everyone who joined us for a robust and productive discussion on sparking summer collaborations. We hope this was an informative and engaging conversation. We touched on everything from how best to share ideas quickly to emergent leadership. Here is the transcript via Storify:Read More
The whiteboard has been quiet the past two weeks, giving us time to reflect on the year that was and look forward to the academic year to come. But the d.school community has not been silent. The students and fellows may be gone, but the d.school hums on with activities both past, present and future. Here's a summer of some of our community's activities:
#dchat: Building your summer #designthinking community - June 15, 6pm PT
We won't have #dchat this week, but next week, July 15 at 6pm, we'll be back with #dchat on design in the summer months. What are you working on? What do you need or want help with? This will be a casual, laid back #dchat focused on you and helping to foster your design thinking community as we head into next year. I'll be your host. Feel free to start sending your questions and comments, just sign into Twitter and search for the #dchat hashtag.Read More
Update: Here's our recap of this week's chat with the Stanford2025 team. We're still tweaking our more concise, curated recap. Let us know if we missed something you think should be added. In the meantime, we look forward to your ideas around the re-designing of higher education!
https://twitter.com/emikolawole/status/477391181907640320 Original Post:
It was a time of shifts and vitality and experimentation and technology. Stanford University in 2025 was buzzing with change and promise. We’ve attempted to re-create those exhilarating times in Stanford2025.
Imagine you're standing in the year 2100. You’ve been transported through time to a museum exhibit celebrating the four major shifts in living and learning that Stanford University experimented with in the years leading up to 2025. Your handed a museum catalog and read the text above.
This was the setting on May 1, 2014 for guests who visited the d.school to witness Stanford2025 -- an immersive experience marking the culmination of a year-long project funded by the Dean of Mechanical Engineering and carried out by the d.school. The Stanford2025 exhibition introduced four potential future changes to Stanford students' living and learning experience in the future: Open Loop University, Paced Education, Axis Flip, and Purpose Learning.
The ideas behind these futures are rooted in the work of many contributors, including students who participated in one of the classes examining the topic, a team of nine d.school faculty and designers, and a network of active experimenters, stakeholders, and faculty.
In this #dchat we’d love your thoughts and feedback on the four futures. Check out the videos and supporting content.
We'll begin promptly at 6pm and end at 7pm PST. You can follow the conversation by tracking the hashtag #dchat on Twitter. We will have a number of people from the Stanford2025 project online, including:
Carissa Carter - @snowflyzone Lecturer, d.school
Ashish Goel - @ashpodel Teaching fellow, d.school
Scott Doorley - @scottdoorley Creative Director, d.school
Tania Anaissie - @anaissie Designer, d.school
Seamus Harte - @seamusharte Designer, d.school
We look forward to a lively conversation!
Update: We received a number of wonderful ideas and feedback during this week's #dchat. In fact, it was so good that I decided to heed some of it in the creation of this week's roundup and, based on what I hear from folks, may continue this format going forward. As I mention in the recap, we take feedback seriously at the d.school. So, thanks to everyone who offered theirs -- to say nothing of the great storytelling suggestions.
I'll be online for #dchat tomorrow, June 3, from 6-7pm PT to discuss how to tell stories about design work in progress. I'm looking forward to your ideas and feedback!
One of my responsibilities as editor-in-residence at the d.school is to share the fellows' design work as it's happening. I am most successful when I'm able to get the fellows (and others) to tell these stories in their own words.
The challenge, however, is that reporting on work in progress, particularly human-centered design work, often means disrupting the work itself. I find myself poking at individuals and organizations when they're in motion and vulnerable. Another challenge is to avoid being seduced by the work. It's hard to stand back and watch others wrestle -- often brilliantly -- with a big challenge. You want to jump in, give them a hand and be a part of their solution-building. Then there's the time you have to sit back, alone, and process -- much like I'm doing now even as the d.school vibrates with activity around me.
At the moment, I'm in the same room as d.school fellow Anne Gibbon as she plans a design workshop with one of her colleagues.
Do I interrupt and start asking questions about their process - in this case, to bring design thinking to the military - as they're in it? No. I'll wait until afterwards and debrief when she's done.
This has been my inner monologue for nearly 10 months.
Then there's the question of time. People doing intense design work are perpetually wrestling with time as a very real constraint. They barely have time to tackle the problem in front of them, not to mention field probing questions and write blog posts. There are moments I'm surprised fellows don't just reach up and swat my camera out of my hands! Story-gathering can be a nosy business.
But that's my design challenge: continuously improve the process of story-gathering around this process. Make it easier, more seamless, less intrusive, and yet make sure the byproduct -- the story -- is as widely accessible as possible.
How do you tell the story of design work in process? I have a few methods I've developed, many of which are modifications on tricks I've learned from my media work. I look forward to sharing these during #dchat tomorrow (Tuesday, June 3). We'll pick up at 6pm and go until 7pm PT.
And here's this week's transcript:
Why is so much of our design effort dedicated to ten percent of the world's population?
On Tuesday night, I'll be hosting #dchat to discuss "Design for Extreme Affordability," an influential d.school course currently in its 11th year.
I'm a former 'Extreme' student and currently the teaching fellow for the class. This is an opportunity to discuss our philosophy on sustainable impact, the importance of on-the-ground research and partnerships, and this year's projects (which are only a couple weeks away from prototype delivery). Whether you bring questions or answers, I'd love to #dchat with you!
I'll be on Twitter at 6pm PT and our chat will go until 7pm. If you want to follow along, just check out the #dchat hashtag on Twitter or follow me at @taycone or follow our class at @StanfordExtreme.
We may face annoying, overwhelming, or game-changing disruptions all around us, but I am interested instead in focusing on the potential for turning small, unexpected disruptions into powerful forces for creating engagement and learning. We as educators can reimagine our pedagogical approach and reconnect with what makes learning in a classroom magical. We can do so by flipping the notion of what disruption is. Whether it is a "teachable moment," a surprising transition, a quick improv game, or a moment of vulnerability, learning together while being open to positive disruptions is a dynamic way to teach and a dynamic way to learn -- something the d.school does radically well.
I've written about this previously on the whiteboard, and you have been sharing your feedback with us. I look forward to bringing all of this to #dchat this evening. Do you have those moments, surprises, techniques for getting your students' attention? Join us tonight at 6pm PT on Twitter to discuss how we may create more positive disruptions and ways in which you have created them in your own life. We'll go until 7pm PT. I'll be tweeting from @kkrummeck.
Related: The power of (positive) disruptions
“According to Deloitte’s third annual survey of nearly 7,800 Millennials (those born 1983 or later) from 28 countries, more than three-quarters (78 percent) of survey responders said they were influenced by how innovative a company was when deciding if they wanted to work there, yet just 22 percent believe the most innovative solutions are most likely to come from government.” - Brittany Ballenstedt for NextGov.
The federal government is not typically thought of as a creative, flexible, or great workplace for human experiences, but we seek to change that. My colleague, Abby Wilson, and I are here at the d.school from the Office of Personnel Management to teach a class this spring called Agile Feds. In the class, interdisciplinary teams of students will design new models for workforce agility to answer this question: How might we unleash the creative potential of federal employees through project-driven insights?
But we want to expand this and other questions out to you -- the general public. So, we're hosting #dchat tonight. During the chat, we'd like to explore these and other questions:
- How might we increase job satisfaction and engagement in government agencies?
- How might we motivate federal agencies to share successes, knowledge and best practices?
- How might we create a “One Government” culture and motivate millennials to “go Fed”?
Please join us tonight on Twitter at 6pm PT for #dchat. Here are your hosts: Melissa Kline Lee (@melissaklinelee) d.school fellow and workforce strategist at the U.S. Office Personnel Management, Abby Wilson, director of the Innovation Lab at U.S. Office of Personnel Management (@abbywilson3098) and Cecilia Ambrose, Global Design Studio director at Nike (@vanchechi). We'll be on Twitter tonight at 6pm PT and go until 7pm. Feel free to start sending us questions now using the hashtag #dchat. We look forward to taking your questions and, most importantly, sharing ideas.
Roughly two weeks ago, d.school Fellow Anne Gibbon wrote about ways in which design thinking could help alleviate the confidence gap -- the disparity between the confidence men and women bring to their professional lives. Citing her own experience, Anne outlined a ten-minute prototype, which she used to help increase her own confidence.
She finds that often the challenge isn't that women aren't sure of what they know, they're hesitant to put their work into the world. She believes women need to learn to take bigger risks with prototypes they develop day-to-day. What if women pivoted their focus from the initial judgment of failure or success to focusing on maximizing the number of opportunities they have to learn, such as in a full design cycle? The new bridge to cross the confidence gap involves dropping the need for a certain outcome and focusing on the process.
Update: Thank you to everyone who joined us for #dchat this week with d.school Fellow Anne Gibbon. We have our recap available now:
Update: This week we had a robust discussion with a number of shared resources. Thanks to everyone who joined us. We have selected tweets from our conversation this week at the end of the post. Here at the d.school, we offer a number of resources for those interested in design thinking. That said, there are likely resources you are aware of that you've always wanted to share or learn more about. I know I definitely have a few questions in this space.
So, I'll be your host for #dchat this week. The topic: Let's talk design thinking resources. Let's explore resources even beyond print. What are some methods that you've found work well in your design work that you discovered through the application of principle in the creation of your own process. Are there methods you've always had questions about?
I am approaching this chat from the perspective of someone as interested in learning as I am in assisting. If I can't answer a question live, I'll try and find someone here at the d.school who can! So, we'll be starting at our regular time tonight (Tues.) at 6pm PT and will go until 7pm. In the meantime, be sure to check out last week's #dchat with d.school fellow Melissa Pelochino on her project #2minPD.
Update: Here are our highlights from this week's chat!
We had a great #dchat this week with Justin Ferrell, director of the fellows program here at the d.school. Applications opened on Tuesday, and he fielded questions online. We decided to place these in a separate post for easier reference. If you have additional questions, please don't hesitate to ask in the comments! https://twitter.com/Jferrell03/status/456235639873093632
The d.school fellowship applications are now open. If you have questions about the program and what the team at the d.school is looking for, you'll want to join us on Twitter from 6-7pm PT on Tuesday, April 15. Justin Ferrell, the d.school’s director of fellowships, will be your host for #dchat to discuss the application process. You can follow him on Twitter at @jferrell03. In the meantime, be sure to send in your questions using the #dchat hashtag.
A study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) finds that severe childhood obesity is on the rise in the United States. The study may come as a surprise to some, given an earlier report from the Centers for Disease Control that showed obesity rates falling among children between ages 2 and 5.
So, in light of that, here's the topic of this week's #dchat: How might we design for better nutrition?
What methods have you seen work? Have you applied design thinking to your own nutritional regimen? What are potential entry points you see for design thinking? This is an opportunity to think more broadly about the role of design in nutrition, share resources, routines, recipes, challenges, and system improvements with an eye towards design thinking.
Our special guest this week is Matt Rothe (@mattrothe). Matt is an alum of the d.school fellows program (2012-2013) and currently serves as a lecturer at the d.school. He is also a co-founder of the FEED Collaborative, which combines social entrepreneurship, design thinking and experiential education to radically design local food systems. Matt is also a born farmer, and a graduate of Stanford's Graduate School of Business. Prior to the d.school, he was the Sustainable Food Program Manager for Stanford Dining. He spends his free time tending to his garden and chickens at the Stanford Community Farm.
We'll convene on Twitter around #dchat at 6pm and go until 7pm, per our usual schedule. We look forward to seeing you there!
Update: And here's our recap for this week!
Original post: This week's #dchat falls on a particularly special day: April Fool's. So, of course, that's going to be our topic -- no kidding.
If you could design the perfect April Fool's prank, what would it be? Should we even recognize April Fool's anymore? It will be lighter fare this week on #dchat, but it's a topic that I think everyone will be able to have fun with.
Who knows, maybe we'll reinvent the whoopee cushion.
Update March 20, 10:04 a.m.: Change of space, workout routines and a good laugh -- these were just some of the ideas floated by this week's #dchat participants on how to better design their days. I chose to offer three themes however, that I thought were important to consider when designing better days:
Mindfulness: This involves, at least for me, being more intentional about when I act and when I don't. In other words, making a conscious choice about the meetings I accept, the events I attend and the projects I take on.
Spontaneity: This works for some people and not others. But I find that making room for the unexpected is important, such as going for walks without my phone or taking time to sit quietly and just observe people.
Commitment: When I choose to do something (go back to mindfulness), I do my best to follow through on the choice I made. That sense of control helps me achieve greater fulfillment.
Here's the chat transcript for this week, in case you missed the gathering, and I would, of course, love to read your ideas in the comments or on Twitter:
We'll be on break next week for spring break here at Stanford. But we'll be back the following week, April 1, for our next #dchat! In the meantime, have a wonderfully designed day!
Original post: The clock is ticking down towards spring quarter here at Stanford -- the last quarter for the d.school fellows. This past weekend, they were all in residence at the d.school, one of the few times they have all been in a room together. Time is becoming more precious as their projects begin to gain greater clarity.
But the fellows aren't alone. The end of winter brings with it particular stressors, such as tax season, "spring cleaning", project deadlines and new project launches. So, how do you take care of yourself during this period? How do you design your days?
There are a number of tactics people employ to be more efficient -- everything from regularly-scheduled workouts to unique diets. I'm a particular fan of trying to get to zero unread e-mail messages before the end of the day. ("Inbox Zero" proves eternally elusive, however.) There is Timothy Ferriss's "Four-hour workweek", Tony Schwartz's 90/20 work schedule. There are entire sites dedicated to "hacking" life, and our own Bernie Roth offered his suggestions on keeping to your schedule.
But designing for efficiency isn't always the same as designing for quality. After all, you can have a very efficient but otherwise disappointing day; you may have completed what you needed to get done, but none of the things you wanted to get done. In the process, you may have missed one or more serendipitous, inspiring moments. Designing for better days can incorporate a number of different tricks and methods. There are the little ways we treat ourselves, the ways we capture insights and epiphanies, the ways we start conversations and offer invitations. The actions that we take that may not increase our capacity to work, but rather to enjoy life -- how do you design those?
This is the #dchat topic for the week: how do you design your days to improve overall quality? I have a few ideas that I look forward to sharing. But I sincerely look forward to hearing yours. I'll be online tomorrow (Tuesday) at 6pm PT / 9pm PT to discuss this with you. In the meantime, 'hope you have a wonderful day.
Update on March 31: Thanks to everyone who joined us for #dchat this week! Here's the recap via Storify: https://twitter.com/emikolawole/status/444238372018860032
Original Post: It's Tuesday, and we're back with another #dchat topic and a special guest host. Ashish Goel, a teaching fellow at the d.school and startup founder, will be leading tonight's discussion. The topic: "How can the language of metaphor be used as a powerful design tool?"
What if, instead of approaching a design challenge literally, such as designing a new car feature, you approach it metaphorically. Replacing the car with something else, such as a horse-drawn chariot or something perhaps even more indirectly related? How would that change the way you undertake the challenge, or help generate ideas that you might otherwise not have been able to?
Ashish will be online from 6-7pm PM tonight to take your questions and discuss this. So, follow the hashtag #dchat and follow Ashish on twitter at @ashpodel.
Update March 4, 7:37 p.m.: Thanks to everyone who joined #dchat tonight with our special guest, Taylor Cone. If you missed it, here's the recap, and you can catch Taylor on Twitter at @taycone: https://twitter.com/emikolawole/status/441054237515350016
What can designers learn from nature? A better question may be, what can't designers learn from nature. This is our topic for #dchat on Tues., March 4 from 6-7pm PT. Our host will be d.school teaching fellow, engineer, designer and professional river guide Taylor Cone. Here's his summary of Tuesday's chat:
Designers find inspiration in many places -- friends, colleagues, past successes and failures. But we've only recently started looking to nature for inspiration. No entity has more design experience nor more concrete trial and error examples than the biological systems that surround us.
Biomimicry is the discipline of finding inspiration by observing, analyzing, and replicating functions and forms that nature has developed. Looking to nature can (and already has) led us to more sustainable products, a better understanding of the complex systems that make up our world, and wisdom regarding successes and failures of design.
As a mechanical engineer and designer, I constantly ask myself how nature might solve challenges in my life and work. As an avid outdoorsman, I have an especially deep appreciation for nature from both a biologically inspired design perspective and from a place of personal connection with it.
So, how has nature influenced your design work? If it hasn't, what would you like to know about incorporating nature into your work? Taylor will be online on Tuesday for #dchat, and you can follow him at @taycone. Prior to Tuesday's chat, feel free to post your questions or comments on Twitter using #dchat or in the comments. If you missed last week's #dchat on re-designing the online dating experience, feel free to check out our roundup.
Animated gif by d.school Teaching Fellow Ashish Goel.
Updated Feb. 27, 1:00 a.m.: We had an incredibly lively #dchat this week -- so lively in fact, that there have been requests to rekindle the conversation at a later date. I'll be working on doing that, and will keep you posted as to our plans. In the meantime, here's a readout of this week's conversation on re-designing the online dating experience.
We were joined by special guest Amy Webb, author of "Data: A Love Story" and CEO of the WebbMedia Group.
Now, here's a rundown of the highlights from Tuesday night's conversation. If you have thoughts to add, please feel free to do so in the comments on on the #dchat hashtag. We've decided (given the volume of tweets in this week's chat) to post the rundown on Storify. So, you can head over there or check out the slideshow below:
Here are some big takeaways:
We look forward to seeing you next week!
Original post: Dating apps are, when working at their best, a source of friendship and love. They are an increasingly well-accepted path to human connection -- sometimes shallow and other times profound. But they don't work the same for everyone. Where some people find promise and success, others find disappointment and heartbreak.
There is a growing diversity of dating apps, ranging from free to monthly fees. Their names sometimes broadcast their purpose -- Hinge, Tinder, Grouper, Grindr, and Match, Coffee Meets Bagel and OkCupid. That is far from an exhaustive list, but even among the multitude of apps there are still users who fail to find satisfaction. Race, sexual preference and gender can lead to complications and can create discouraging hurdles.
This isn't to say those and other hurdles cannot be overcome. Amy Webb, CEO of Webbmedia Group and author of "Data, A Love Story," "gamed online dating" to find her now-husband. Stanford Professor Paul Oyer's new book, "Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Economics I Learned From Online Dating," outlines ways in which online dating is governed by basic principles of economics.
The system can be manipulated and analyzed. But can it be better designed -- if so, how?
That's what we're discussing this Tuesday night on #dchat: How might we better design the online dating experience? What would you change and, more importantly, how would you change it? What design-thinking principles would you bring to bear on the problem, and why? I'll be on Twitter at 6pm PT Tuesday night, Feb. 25. If you have questions or comments ahead of time, drop them in the comments or drop me a line at @emikolawole.
There are plenty of things to read in the world, with the Internet growing that list exponentially. Recommendations can play an important role in helping you filter the flood of content out there. So, this week, we asked the world -- well, the world on Twitter -- to hit us with their favorite design reads.
We received a number of submissions from folks on their favorite reads. So, we've collected them here. If you have favorites you would like to add, feel free to head into the comments. And, stay tuned for #dchat next Tuesday from 6-7p PT.
Many words have been written about the world of design. There are coffee table books, paperback books, magazines, blogs and publications galore. This week on #dchat, we want to talk about your absolute favorites. What is the best book, the best article or even the best social media account? Who and what do you read to be informed, inspired or delighted when it comes to design -- and why? We'll collect your tweets here on the whiteboard.
In the meantime, we look forward to having you join us at 6pm PT on Twitter on Tuesday, Feb. 18. You can follow the hashtag #dchat or drop me a line at @emikolawole. We look forward to hearing about your favorite reads!
In the meantime, you can read last week's #dchat with d.school fellow Margaret Hagan on law and design.