By: Academics at Stanford

Jeremy Weinstein, a Professor of Political Science, has taught two classes at the d.school, both times when he wanted to explore big questions. He aims to use Stanford in general as a laboratory to think about issues in his field before launching into the real world.

Last year Jeremy co-taught the d.school class Design Thinking for Public Policy Innovators with Megan Palmer, a senior scholar at FSI with a background in bioengineering, and two designers: Erik Olesund and Sarah Stein Greenberg. He entered the class with two questions: (1) what is the utility of design if the desired outcome is not a product or service? and (2) what would it be like to bridge public policy with technology and science.

 Business and policy student Kate O’Gorman describes her team’s behavior change prototypes to a visiting expert during a Design Thinking for Public Policy Innovators design review.

Business and policy student Kate O’Gorman describes her team’s behavior change prototypes to a visiting expert during a Design Thinking for Public Policy Innovators design review.

I think that the nature of d.school classes and the way in which the d.school creates opportunities to develop new courses allows for some real experimentation. The two times I taught at the d.school, it’s because I had something I was really interested in exploring, and I needed an ability to construct some experiment or prototype to explore that idea.
— Jeremy Weinstein

For Jeremy, the class reinforced the point that design thinking is a tool to show policymakers the diversity of stakeholder groups they need to influence. And, that the groups might all react differently to the same policy. The student groups unearthed great insights about motivations of each stakeholder group.

The class also validated that students from science and engineering are eager to engage with these questions outside of the lab environment.

 The course was one-third bioengineering students, one-third policy students, one-third business or design students, and 100% zombies.

The course was one-third bioengineering students, one-third policy students, one-third business or design students, and 100% zombies.

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