Design Thinking Bootcamp

2011-2012 • Stanford

This 10-week deep dive in design thinking methodology has been one of the most sought-after courses at Stanford's in its six-year run. In the two years I taught the course, we trained over 120 Stanford grad students in design techniques and mindsets.

In 2012, students from all seven schools at Stanford took Bootcamp: education, medicine, law, humanities and sciences, earth sciences, business, and engineering.

Just as our students came from a huge variety of backgrounds, so did our interdisciplinary teaching team. Here I am with my 2012 team: David Janka, graduate of the Stanford School of Medicine, and Maryanna Rogers, director of innovation at the Tech Museum of San Jose.

You can't work on design thinking in a vacuum. We engaged organizations to bring us their real problems – one corporate partner and one nonprofit partner each year. In 2011, we partnered with DIRECTV and the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute. In 2012, we partnered with SFMOMA and the Nordstrom Innovation Lab.

In Bootcamp, we take teams of students through the processes of research, problem-finding, and rapid prototyping. They work in teams. They work fast. They think hard. They're excited, then exhausted, then exhilarated. And of course they go through literally pounds of Post-It notes.

Throughout the course, students shared rough work in progress. This made for a tight-knit crowd, and a group that was able to give each other feedback instead of just relying on instructors and industry coaches. Seated next to me is Leonard Medlock of EdSurge, one of the many design thinking experts we pulled in throughout the course to help students out.

At the end of the course, graduates left messages for future Bootcampers on the studio's red sofas. What's more, we gave each student a keychain, laser-engraved by Maryanna, with a final take-away message.

Co-teachers: Maryanna Rogers & David Janka (2012). David Janka, Thomas Both, Lia Siebert, Sarah Stein Greenberg (2011).