1. July 22, 2014
    (Anne Gibbon)

    (Anne Gibbon)

    I thought the high of being a d.school fellow would continue forever. The d.school is so much fun. How could one not retain its energy, color, and creative fuel permanently and effortlessly? The fact is, holding on to all of that takes effort.

    It can be such an emotional downer to finish some of my days at the d.school now that I have finished the program. Yet I still choose to show up here every morning, because I just don’t want to leave, and the place brings me so much joy.

    Thankfully, the d.school has no strict policy for kicking its fellows out. So, I just keep showing up and fill whiteboards with ideas around my project work. In fact, graduation felt more like an interruption to my workflow.  Now, in its wake, my project is taking off and I’m busier than ever.  Well, the truth is that all of my projects — plural — are taking off.  The number of projects I have in the works at any given moment depends on how you group them and what kind of thematic lines you draw down my to-do list.

    The d.school, the people, the work – they are like ambrosia to me. Yet I’m caught in a paradox: I have no complaints — none; I have the dream job, and yet I cannot help but feel this very real emotional letdown when I leave at the end of the day. Continue Reading

  2. July 21, 2014

    What comes to mind when you think of the tractor? A modern marvel? A gift to the food system?

    This interview with Matt Rothe may change your mind. Matt grew up on a farm, and went on to get his MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and become a d.school fellow (2012-2013). Prior to that, he served as director of operations at Niman Ranch and led the Sustainable Food Program for Stanford Dining. He is also the co-founder of the FEED Collaborative at Stanford — a network dedicated to addressing and solving the biggest challenges in the food system.

    Incoming d.school teaching fellow, Erik Olesund, interviewed Matt, producing this story. The piece illustrates how, in fact, the tractor may be responsible for ruining farming by weaving the story of Matt’s life, including the sale of his family’s farm, with a history of agriculture. The radio program was published by Green Grid Radio, aired on KZSU 90.1 FM and was published on PRX.

    Disclosure: While I may get a nod at the end of this program, congratulations goes to Erik for his remarkable work and dedication to this story.


  3. July 17, 2014

    Our colleague, d.school teaching fellow Ashish Goel, has a piece on Medium analyzing Christopher Alexander’s ‘Notes on the Synthesis of Form’, drawing comparisons between Alexander’s work and design thinking as taught at the d.school.

    The piece, published on Thursday, is a wonderful tour through the design thinking process and Alexander’s work. Ashish also introduces new visualizations of the design thinking process in combination with Alexander’s design process:

    (Ashish Goel)

    Visualizations of Alexander’s work combined with Christopher Alexander’s process. Click on the image to see a larger version. (Ashish Goel)

    READ: ‘Good design is making a ‘misfit-free ensemble’ on Medium.

  4. July 17, 2014


    A notebook used in the class taught by Kathryn and Jeremy. (Emi Kolawole)

    A notebook used in the class taught by Kathryn and Jeremy. (Emi Kolawole)

    Authenticity is one of the most important elements of my teaching toolkit I think.” – Jeremy Utley

    Being genuine in front of a crowd doesn’t come easily to everyone. There are legitimate fears associated with being fully open with a group of people. There’s the risk of making an embarrassing mistake. Then there’s the fear of being recorded and having what you say placed on a permanent record of some kind. Ever-present smartphones and social media make staying off the record almost impossible in groups.

    So, it’s understandable that when given the opportunity to speak in front of a group of people, rather than speak from the heart, we read from a script.

    A recent experience showed me, however, that when it comes to teaching empathy — to say nothing of teaching overall – it pays to be genuine. Continue Reading

  5. July 13, 2014


    Outside the d.school -- a wonderful place for heads-down work when you're alone. (Emi Kolawole)

    Outside the d.school I undertake work  (Emi Kolawole)

    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:

    The summer heat provides ample excuse to ratchet down — everything from the pace at which you work to the nature of what you work on.

    I came across this column from Cindy Krischer Goodman in the Miami Herald. In it she described ways individuals and organizations are trying to make the most of the summer slow-down. While some managers are using the time for vacation, others she writes, “are using the seasonal slowdown to improve teamwork and collaboration.”

    Continue Reading

  6. July 10, 2014


    When you think of a classroom, what comes to mind? Your brain probably paints a scene something like this: desks in rows with writing surfaces welded to stiff chairs and a large teacher’s desk at the front of the room. Perhaps you think of the lecture hall. Either way, it’s an inflexible environment conducive to little more than a sage-on-stage instruction model.

    Space is important. It influences not only how we learn but how we teach. In fact, there’s an entire book on space, highlighting its importance and ways in which it can be transformed to better foster creativity.

    Rather than classrooms, we have studios at the d.school. These are flexible spaces that can be manipulated in a variety of ways to create different environments. The tables and couches are on wheels, the chairs and stools are light-weight, and the whiteboards are either small enough to be picked up, on wheels or hooked to tracks in the ceiling.

    Continue Reading

  7. July 7, 2014
    A quiet, but not silent d.school on July 7. (Emi Kolawole)

    A quiet, but not silent d.school on July 7. (Emi Kolawole)

    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.

    Open workshop on design thinking: We’re fully booked!

    If you’re wondering about our public design thinking workshop this month, we’re fully booked, so we are no longer accepting attendees.  Thanks to everyone for your interest!

    #BreakerBOI makes front page of Idaho Statesman: Congrats to K12 Lab!

    The K12 Lab has been busy this summer, working with Project Breaker to conduct #BreakerBOI, a design challenge for young people in Boise, Idaho this past June. The challenge was centered around the question: “What is the future of stuff?” The event made the front page of the Idaho Statesman, and I highly recommend checking out the #tagboard to get up to speed on this unique and inspiring event.  Continue Reading

  8. June 20, 2014
    The d.school's Director of Fellowships, Justin Ferrell, opens the fellows' launch celebration on June 16, 2014. (Emi Kolawole)

    The d.school’s Director of Fellowships, Justin Ferrell, opens the fellows’ launch celebration on June 16, 2014. (Emi Kolawole)

    The fellows have launched.

    On Monday, the d.school fellows and EDUfellows celebrated the end of their 10 months in residence at the d.school and the launch of their projects out into the world. They were joined by roughly 100 guests — friends, family and partners — to both celebrate and learn more about their work. Nine posts on the whiteboard follow this one. Each describes the fellow, their work over the past 10 months and their plans for the future.

    We hope you enjoy their stories of both personal and professional transformation.


    Continue Reading

  9. June 20, 2014
    Melissa Pelochino accepts an award during the fellows' final presentations on June 16, 2014. (Emi Kolawole)

    Melissa Pelochino (left) accepts an award during the fellows’ final presentations on June 16, 2014. (Emi Kolawole)

    An expert teacher and literacy specialist, Melissa Pelochino arrived to the fellowship program as a d.school success story. After attending a two-day workshop at the d.school in 2007, Melissa was able to bring design thinking back to her classroom at East Palo Alto Academy, where she substantially increased the literacy rate among her students. Prior to her fellowship, Melissa spent the summer in residence at the d.school. Continue Reading