Designing for Social Systems
DSS Global Facilitators
Thomas is Director of the Designing for Social Systems Program at the d.school. In this program, he leads a fellowship for accomplished professionals to learn and apply human-centered design to complex social challenges, and facilitates workshops for social impact leaders to develop a more human and strategic practice.
At the d.school since 2009, the core of his work has been to design immersive hands-on learning experiences that provoke students, fellows and professionals to try on new tools and behaviors, and develop their innovation practice. In a previous role, he created and facilitated the d.school workshops for executives, including the highly praised Design Thinking Bootcamp Executive workshop.
Thomas holds a Master degree in Design from Stanford, achieved after a prior career as a mechanical engineer.
Nadia is Senior Designer of the Designing for Social Systems Program at the d.school, and the Director of Stanford University’s Effective Philanthropy Lab. Nadia returned to Stanford in 2012 as an inaugural d.school fellow, applying design thinking to philanthropy. In 2014, she was named the Walter and Esther Hewlett Design Fellow with Stanford PACS.
Over the past two decades she has launched several organizations and initiatives including Stanford’s Effective Philanthropy Lab; the Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD) with Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz at Columbia University; the Women Leaders Intercultural Program with Ireland’s former President Mary Robinson; Global Policy Innovations Program at the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs (CCEIA); the Building Bridges Program at the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art (DDFIA); and the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute (AMCLI) at the University of Southern California.
Nadia received her BA in economics and international relations from Stanford University and her MA in international affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She is a board member of the El Hibri Foundation.
Tania is the founder Equity Design Lab, an equity-design agency in the Bay Area that uses design to tackle issues of inequity in the government, education, and criminal justice systems. She co-developed Liberatory Design, a new practice of human-centered design that accounts for power, historical context, and oppression. She is also currently a Faculty member at National Equity Project, helping them develop Liberatory Design curriculum for leaders in complex systems. Formerly, she was a Lecturer and Experience Designer at the Stanford d.school where she designed and taught original classes, worked on future-facing strategy projects such as Stanford2025, and designed cutting-edge digital education experiments. Tania loves talking about human-centered design, justice, city and government reform, community power, and authenticity.
Vida Mia García received her doctorate from Stanford’s Program in Modern Thought and Literature, an interdisciplinary department where her research combined the fields of literary studies and anthropology. Since leaving traditional tenure track academia, Vida Mia has loved being able to continue researching story and culture – as well as to utilize her ethnographic training – in the world of design thinking and innovation strategy. She has worked with client teams across numerous industries throughout the U.S. and internationally; more recently, she has circled back to the realm of higher education, helping small liberal arts colleges develop and launch design/creativity/innovation labs on their campuses. She also very happily continues to teach: in addition to coaching in the Executive Education and Designing for Social Systems programs at the d.school, Vida Mia is a Lecturer in the Department of Design at the University of California, Davis.
Tran has launched digital and print ventures, led large-scale innovation initiatives and once hired 80 teenagers for a startup publication by and for high school students. At Stanford’s d.school, Tran was managing director of media experiments, a portfolio of projects that explore the intersection of human-centered design and media. She now uses her background in journalism, business and design to help leaders navigate complex, media-related challenges. Tran is based in Chicago. She has a bachelor's in journalism from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from the University of Notre Dame.
David Janka, M.D. is a lecturer, innovation consultant, and medical device entrepreneur interested in the intersection of design with healthcare and social entrepreneurship. David graduated from Stanford Medical School and was a fellow at the Stanford Institute of Design (‘the d.school’) from 2011-2013. As a member of the Stanford d.school teaching faculty, he has taught classes on design process and its application to emerging markets, healthcare, public policy and creative organizations.
Meenu is a Learning Experience Designer at the University of Maryland's Academy for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, where she develops coursework and tools that bring design thinking and other creative problem-solving methods to learners across disciplines. In addition to her work at the University of Maryland, Meenu teaches at the Stanford d.school’s Teaching and Learning Studio, where she's worked with 200+ university educators, department heads, and deans from around the world who are experimenting with new ways of bringing design thinking into higher education. Outside of the education space, Meenu designs with government agencies, private companies, and nonprofit organizations seeking to reinvigorate their modes of thinking and doing. Meenu is inspired by the creative potential that exists in you, you, and yes, even you!
Matt is a co-founder of the FEED Collaborative at Stanford University, where he is an educator-practitioner in design thinking and food system innovation. Matt is also the founder of Crazy Beta Design, a boutique consulting agency that designs and facilitates highly customized workshops and executive training sessions, conducts consumer insight research, and provides innovation strategy consulting services.
Prior to his work as a designer and teacher, Matt was a fellow in residence at the Stanford d.school, director of Stanford’s Sustainable Food Program, and an operations executive at both Attune Foods and Niman Ranch. Raised on a 10,000 acre conventional corn farm on the plains of Colorado, Matt's more formal degrees include a BA in Environmental Earth Science from Dartmouth College and an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford.
Chris Rudd is a human-centered designer, community organizer and youth worker with a passion for social justice. He’s worked with youth on the south and west sides of Chicago, challenging them to engage with their communities through activism and technology. Chris has helped youth from Chicago to the Bay Area design 8 civic apps, including Expunge.io.
Chris completed a year-long fellowship at the Stanford Institute of Design (d.school). As a Civic Innovation Fellow Chris spent a year immersed in graduate courses learning, applying and honing his skills in the Human Centered Design methodology. During the fellowship, he designed a program, Youth Tech Design, for opportunity and "at-risk" youth that can further bridge the gap between young people and the tech sector and allow them to create solutions to their self-identified issues. Currently, Chris is working with the Illinois Institute of Technology Institute of Design and leading ChiByDesign.
Andrea Small is a human-centered designer and strategist with 15+ years in industrial design, design strategy and brand design. Most recently, Andrea was immersed in the future of work as Director of Product and Portfolio Strategy at Herman Miller. Before Herman Miller, Andrea was a Teaching Fellow at Stanford’s d.school, where she was one of the first professionals (and non-Stanford grads) hired to the role. Prior to joining the d.school, Andrea was Strategy Lead at Yves Béhar’s design firm fuseproject in San Francisco, where she led strategic efforts for clients like the Nike Foundation, Nivea, Starbucks, British Gas, GE, Girl Effect, Herman Miller, iRobot and Samsung. She has a BA in Architecture (Miami University) and Master of Design in Human-Centered Product Design (IIT’s Institute of Design). She currently lives in San Francisco and is working on an ambiguous project with the d.school!
Amie serves as Civic Designer for the City of Seattle. She works on the Innovation & Performance Team at the Mayor's Office to bring design-based innovation expertise and creativity to the team's work. During her time at the City, she has worked across multiple social issues including civil rights, racial equity, youth and young adult homelessness, and affordability. She has spent the last decade helping start-ups, public sector and non-profit clients use human-centered design to fulfill their missions and to create a more kind and equitable world. Amie holds a B.F.A. from ArtCenter College of Design. Prior to working in government, she spent 3.5 years cycling through 40 countries and listening to people's stories.
Susie Wise is a design innovator who uses design thinking to inspire new approaches to teaching and learning. She founded the K12 Lab Network at the Stanford University d.school. Recent programs she designed include School Retool, a fellowship for school leaders, now operating in 30 regions across the U.S. and the Shadow A Student challenge. She is also a co-founder of Urban Montessori Charter School in Oakland. Susie’s early professional experiences include developing educational multimedia for education technology startups and educational programming for Bay Area non-profits including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco International Film Festival, The Exploratorium, and the Bay Area Discovery Museum. Susie has a PhD in Learning Sciences and Technology Design from Stanford University and a BA in History form the University of Pennsylvania.
DSS Home Team
Marna Romanoff is Program Manager of the Designing for Social Systems Program at the d.school. Prior to joining the d.school in 2016, Marna worked for the City of San Francisco’s Office of Financial Empowerment and the Stanford University Center for East Asian Studies. Marna holds an M.A. in International Relations from Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan.
Nancy Lewis, MPA, M.S., is the Director of the Canopy for Creative Collaboration at the University of New Mexico’s Innovation Academy. Housed at the Lobo Rainforest Building, located on the Innovate ABQ site at the heart of Albuquerque’s new Innovation District, the Innovation Academy is a hub for students, entrepreneurs and innovators. Originally trained as a speech-language pathologist, she has worked to strengthen systems that serve children and their families by integrating systems + design thinking with strategic planning to increase access to and quality of educational and therapeutic services at the local, state, national and international level. Her previous experience includes serving as a consultant to the Aga Khan Development Network, board member to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association’s Multicultural Issues Board and conflict resolution consultant to the United World College of the America West. In 2014, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention appointed her as the Act Early Ambassador to New Mexico. She is the Organizer of the Design Thinking ABQ Meetup in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Ms. Lewis earned a bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology from the University of Florida, a master’s of science in speech-language pathology from the University of Arizona and a master’s of public administration from the University of Colorado-Denver.
Laura is a junior designer with DSS and a recent Stanford graduate, having finished her M.S. in Geology in 2018. She is passionate about the intersection of human centered design and social good, particularly where it coincides with environmental sciences or mental health advocacy.