Workshop Highlights

Integrated curriculum

Practice these methodologies and their integration:

  • Human-centered Design: Tools of ethnographic research, synthesis, ideation, and experimentation to discover opportunities and quickly put ideas to the test.
  • Systems Thinking: Approaches for system mapping, theory of change formulation, and intervention evaluation to understand the system and develop the logic of one’s strategy.
  • Communication Design: Story creation, verbal storytelling, and graphic design basics to amplify the ability to effectively communicate one’s vision.

This workshop distills the core teaching methods, tools, and practices from the longer six-month DSS Fellowship.

Interactive, experiential learning

Learn via hands-on project work, activities, and lectures, to truly wrestle with the methodologies. We aim for you to leave more creative, insightful, collaborative, and strategic.

Workshop project challenge

Go beyond the theoretical and put techniques into practice by working in teams on a real-world project in partnership with a non-profit organization.

Real-world case studies

Hear from leading innovators, including past d.school fellows and other pioneers in the social sector, who are applying these practices to their work.

“Take-it-home” focus

Understand how to apply these practices to your work when you return home. We will help you scope a human-centered design project specific to your work and develop your approach.

An Ongoing Exploration

How to design for social systems more effectively, and integrate human-centered design with systems thinking, is the continuous work of the DSS program. We aim to engage leaders in the sector who want to apply these practices and share their experiences with one another.

Following the workshop, participants will have the opportunity to come back to Stanford twice in the subsequent six months to share and receive feedback. We are excited to explore these questions with attendees during and after the workshop:

Where to start when working in a complex multi-stakeholder system? Which “user” to focus on first?

How to decide what to build after uncovering multiple opportunities that all seem viable?

How to integrate insights into a program strategy or organization, and act on them?

How best to conduct ethnographic research and prototype ethically, without raising expectations or harming the trust you have built, especially with disaffected communities?

How to get funders, superiors, and colleagues to support human-centered design work, given the process is non-linear and deliverables are less tangible?

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