What will I learn?


Multinational, distributed teams of designers helping the United Nations Development Programme explore ways to help low income workers learn new skills in a time when technological disruption could eliminate many jobs.

You’ve learned to practice design thinking together, in person -- but what does it look like when you collaborate with teams that are thousands of miles away? In businesses and the social sector, design teams are increasingly tackling challenges that cross geographies and cultures.

In Design Across Borders, you will learn design thinking practices for distributed teams and work creatively with teammates in Malaysia and Thailand. You will conduct user research and sharpen your design thinking. You will also develop next level distributed collaboration skills, strengthen your ability to think through data and be creative with others who are not in the same room as you.

Your challenge is to assist the United Nations Development Programme in exploring ways to help low income workers learn new skills in a time when technological disruption could eliminate many jobs globally. Half of the students in the class will be at Stanford, half of the students in the class will be in Malaysia and Thailand. Most class activities will be done in small, multinational teams.

This is an intermediate-level class in design thinking. Students are expected to have had some previous classes and/or experience in basic design thinking skills.

By the end of this class you will:

  • Have quickly built working relationships with teammates on the other side of the world

  • Develop your foundational skills in doing design thinking in a “digital first” context, and understand the less obvious advantages of distributed design

  • Up your general distributed collaboration game, developing “channel fluidity” across multiple collaboration tools and breaking out of common “one-at-a-time” patterns in distributed interactions

  • Understand how better distributed collaboration in design thinking might help promote greater diversity in cultural perspectives and radical collaboration over time

Learn With

Teaching Team

Glenn Fajardo

Former Director of Co-Design Practice, TechSoup Global Network, TechSoup

Kal Joffres

CEO, Tandemic

Pisate "Jett" Virangkabutra

Lecturer, Thammasat School of Global Studies

Contact Us


Email Glenn (glenn.fajardo@gmail.com)


  • Spring 2019

  • 5 weeks (4/4-5/2), Th 6-8:30p

  • ME Directed Study (ME191/391)

  • 1 Unit

  • Letter Grade



Apply by Friday, March 8

Applications are closed.

Accepting 8-16 Graduate Students, Undergraduate Students, Fellows & Post-Docs.