Our Past


The d.school, founded in 2005, is recognized as a thought leader in human-centered design, and a leading teaching institute for design and experiential learning. In 2012, we started the ‘Project Fellowship,’ inviting professionals with expertise in their respective fields to join the d.school to advance an ambitious project in their sector — to create systems-level change in the world.

Through these past five years of leading the fellowship we have developed curriculum and approaches to best support fellows. Today, our work has expanded to this intensive workshop to serve more social entrepreneurs and system intrapreneurs.

Explore & Experiment

The Approach

Innovating at the systems level presents a potential dilemma: the conflict between getting scale and getting started. Our approach is to prompt our fellows to explore and experiment early on in the program in order to gain the deep insights that drive systems-level change. Exploration and experimentation are both crucial, and fellows will interact with users and stakeholders throughout the life of the project.

Exploration means rigorously engaging in empathy-driven human research, building prototypes, and allowing insights gained to fuel the path forward.

Experimentation means putting ideas into action through live experiments with real people and real interventions. We work to keep fellows out of the "planning" stage – the middle ground where there is neither active learning nor actualization of the initiative.

We place bets on the combination of talented experts and a human-centered design approach to spark innovation. If you have demonstrated a record of excellence in your work, we encourage you to apply to the fellowship with an early-stage project.

< Back to DSS Overview