What will I learn?


Designing matter -> Designing for what matters

Are you a budding entrepreneur trying to create something new that people will love? Are you an environmentalist trying to change the less than sustainable behavior of the American public? Are you curious about pursuing a career in user research? Do you want to elevate your empathy and synthesis skills?

Successful innovations satisfy a system of human needs. User-centered design and innovation begins by discovering those needs. Needfinding (also known as empathy and synthesis or user research) requires hard work, practiced skills and a really good toolset. This class is the current embodiment of the original Needfinding class first developed at Stanford in the late 1970’s by Bob McKim. Needfinding is easy to get started with, but deceptively hard to master. The only way to learn it is to do it, and the best way to do it is in the wild.


Learn With

Teaching Team

Michael Barry
Adjunct Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Michelle Jia
Lecturer, Mechanical Engineering

SE Hayes
Adjunct Lecturer, Mechanical Engineering


Any questions?

How can I contact the teaching team?

Email Michelle Jia at mjia@quotient-dr.com


  • Winter 2019

  • ME 277

  • 3-4 Units

  • Letter Grade

  • Wed 3:00 - 5:50pm

  • Studio 1


Apply by Friday, Nov 30 2018

Accepting 35 students.

Open to Graduate Students, Fellows, and Post-docs.