Stanford Life Design Lab

The Life Design Lab at Stanford teaches courses, delivers programs and tools, and conducts research applying the innovation principles of Design Thinking to the problems of life, education, and vocation. 

  BILL BURNETT  Co-Founder  Bill is the Executive Director of the Design Program at Stanford. He holds a number of mechanical and design patents, and design awards for a variety of products including the first “slate” computer. In addition to his duties at Stanford, he is on the Board of VOZ (pronounced “VAWS – it means voice in Spanish) a social responsible high fashion startup and advises several Internet start-up companies.

BILL BURNETT
Co-Founder

Bill is the Executive Director of the Design Program at Stanford. He holds a number of mechanical and design patents, and design awards for a variety of products including the first “slate” computer. In addition to his duties at Stanford, he is on the Board of VOZ (pronounced “VAWS – it means voice in Spanish) a social responsible high fashion startup and advises several Internet start-up companies.

  DAVE EVANS   Co-founder  Dave Evans has been on a mission to help others find and pursue theirs ever since his undergrad days at Stanford. Along the way, he co-founded Electronic Arts and introduced the computer mouse to the world while at Apple.

DAVE EVANS
Co-founder

Dave Evans has been on a mission to help others find and pursue theirs ever since his undergrad days at Stanford. Along the way, he co-founded Electronic Arts and introduced the computer mouse to the world while at Apple.

  KATHY DAVIES  Managing Director + Lecturer  Kathy has 15 years of experience developing electromechanical and software products, and proudly holds five patents. She consults with Silicon Valley companies, teaches design thinking, conducts ethnographic research, and develops product strategies and concepts. Kathy is also the co- creator of “Designing Your Life for Women” and a passionate advocate for design thinking as a methodology to empower social change.

KATHY DAVIES
Managing Director + Lecturer

Kathy has 15 years of experience developing electromechanical and software products, and proudly holds five patents. She consults with Silicon Valley companies, teaches design thinking, conducts ethnographic research, and develops product strategies and concepts. Kathy is also the co- creator of “Designing Your Life for Women” and a passionate advocate for design thinking as a methodology to empower social change.

  GABRIELLE SANTA-DONATO   Life Design Studio Lead + Lecturer  Gabrielle has spent the last four years working in the ins and outs of design thinking application at Stanford. She catalyzed and leads the Life Design Studio -- a movement to bring life design to universities across the world. She is also a teaching lead with IDEO University.  Her workview is to help people discover their unique learning potential. Over the past decade, she has trained professionals to use the design process in K12, higher ed, and in corporations locally and internationally.  Gabrielle received her BA from Dartmouth College and her M.Ed. from Harvard.

GABRIELLE SANTA-DONATO
Life Design Studio Lead + Lecturer

Gabrielle has spent the last four years working in the ins and outs of design thinking application at Stanford. She catalyzed and leads the Life Design Studio -- a movement to bring life design to universities across the world. She is also a teaching lead with IDEO University.

Her workview is to help people discover their unique learning potential. Over the past decade, she has trained professionals to use the design process in K12, higher ed, and in corporations locally and internationally.

Gabrielle received her BA from Dartmouth College and her M.Ed. from Harvard.

  EMILY TSIANG   Lecturer + Fellow  Emily is passionate about designing transformative learning experiences and has taught life design around the world. At Stanford, she leads the Life Design Accelerator, teaches in the Design Program and at the d.school.  She brings a wealth of experience, having co-founded CULTURE LABx, led talent initiatives at Cisco, served in NYC Mayor Bloomberg's administration and co-authored  Sleep Wise .  She received her BA from UCLA and her MBA in Organizational Strategy & Design from the University of Michigan, where she co-founded Design + Business.

EMILY TSIANG
Lecturer + Fellow

Emily is passionate about designing transformative learning experiences and has taught life design around the world. At Stanford, she leads the Life Design Accelerator, teaches in the Design Program and at the d.school.

She brings a wealth of experience, having co-founded CULTURE LABx, led talent initiatives at Cisco, served in NYC Mayor Bloomberg's administration and co-authored Sleep Wise.

She received her BA from UCLA and her MBA in Organizational Strategy & Design from the University of Michigan, where she co-founded Design + Business.

  JOHN ARMSTRONG   Lecturer + Fellow  John has led the development of online content for the d.life Lab, consulted with companies as a Design Coach for Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, and led Life Design courses and workshops for faculty and students from universities in the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia.  His mission at work is to help students and educators design their way forward authentically, and he has previously served as a Dean of Students and taught meditation and wellness in Title 1 schools.  John received his BA from Colorado College and MA from Stanford.

JOHN ARMSTRONG
Lecturer + Fellow

John has led the development of online content for the d.life Lab, consulted with companies as a Design Coach for Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, and led Life Design courses and workshops for faculty and students from universities in the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia.

His mission at work is to help students and educators design their way forward authentically, and he has previously served as a Dean of Students and taught meditation and wellness in Title 1 schools.

John received his BA from Colorado College and MA from Stanford.

  CHRISTIAN SIMAMORA   Lecturer + Fellow  Chris believes the highest form of work catalyzes personal growth while serving others. Chris has taught elementary school, coached college students and emerging social entrepreneurs, and led nonprofit programs focused on the empowerment of youth of color, leadership development and equity in the workforce.  His personal practices include meditation, exercise, reciting The Five Remembrances, and reflecting on the question from The Four Rivers.  Chris is in his flow state when he is creating, coaching, practicing Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, having lingering dinner and conversation with close friends, and taking in the sound of his son’s laughter.

CHRISTIAN SIMAMORA
Lecturer + Fellow

Chris believes the highest form of work catalyzes personal growth while serving others. Chris has taught elementary school, coached college students and emerging social entrepreneurs, and led nonprofit programs focused on the empowerment of youth of color, leadership development and equity in the workforce.

His personal practices include meditation, exercise, reciting The Five Remembrances, and reflecting on the question from The Four Rivers.

Chris is in his flow state when he is creating, coaching, practicing Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, having lingering dinner and conversation with close friends, and taking in the sound of his son’s laughter.

 

Facilitators & Interns

Our classes are supported by an amazing crew of facilitators and interns.

Academic Year 2018 - 2019

  DIANA SUEDBECK  DYS W19 Facilitator  Diana is the New Student Programs Manager in Stanford’s Undergraduate Advising and Research (UAR).

DIANA SUEDBECK
DYS W19 Facilitator

Diana is the New Student Programs Manager in Stanford’s Undergraduate Advising and Research (UAR).

  JOSLYN JOHNSON   DYS F18 Facilitator  Joslyn is the Assistant Director of Career Catalysts at Stanford’s BEAM Career Education.

JOSLYN JOHNSON
DYS F18 Facilitator

Joslyn is the Assistant Director of Career Catalysts at Stanford’s BEAM Career Education.

  COLLEEN McCALLION   DYS F18 & F16 Facilitator  Colleen is the Assistant Director of Career Communities for Frosh/Soph at Stanford’s BEAM Career Education.

COLLEEN McCALLION
DYS F18 & F16 Facilitator

Colleen is the Assistant Director of Career Communities for Frosh/Soph at Stanford’s BEAM Career Education.


Academic Year 2017 - 2018

  ERIKA M WELCH   DtP S18 Facilitator  Erika is a Sloan Fellow in the Stanford GSB MsX Program, and has a background in strategic consulting.

ERIKA M WELCH
DtP S18 Facilitator

Erika is a Sloan Fellow in the Stanford GSB MsX Program, and has a background in strategic consulting.

  MANUEL RINCON CRUZ   DtP S18 Facilitator  Manny is a research associate at the Hoover Institution, a director at a political and macro risk advisory firm, and a founding advisor at SesameOpen.

MANUEL RINCON CRUZ
DtP S18 Facilitator

Manny is a research associate at the Hoover Institution, a director at a political and macro risk advisory firm, and a founding advisor at SesameOpen.

  SHANNON BIRK JIBAJA   DtP S18 Facilitator  Shannon is Associate Director of Educational Programs for VPGE, and passionate about helping grad students develop skills for academic and career success.

SHANNON BIRK JIBAJA
DtP S18 Facilitator

Shannon is Associate Director of Educational Programs for VPGE, and passionate about helping grad students develop skills for academic and career success.

  LAURA PICKEL   DtP S18 Facilitator  Laura is a designer and educator developing and supporting curriculum at SAP, IDEO U and the d.school.

LAURA PICKEL
DtP S18 Facilitator

Laura is a designer and educator developing and supporting curriculum at SAP, IDEO U and the d.school.

  EM HAVENS   DtP S18 Facilitator  Em is a Senior Systems Designer at IDEO and IDEO U with a background in venture philanthropy and leadership ed.

EM HAVENS
DtP S18 Facilitator

Em is a Senior Systems Designer at IDEO and IDEO U with a background in venture philanthropy and leadership ed.

  NING DE-EKNAMKUL  DYS S18 Facilitator & Intern  Ning is a master's student in the Learning, Design and Technology program at Stanford.

NING DE-EKNAMKUL
DYS S18 Facilitator & Intern

Ning is a master's student in the Learning, Design and Technology program at Stanford.

  QUINCY MINGO  DYS S18 Facilitator  Quincy is a Program Associate Director with Residential Education.

QUINCY MINGO
DYS S18 Facilitator

Quincy is a Program Associate Director with Residential Education.

  DAYO MITCHELL  DYS W18 Facilitator  Dayo is the Associate Director with Stanford Introductory Studies, where she heads up the Sophomore College Program.

DAYO MITCHELL
DYS W18 Facilitator

Dayo is the Associate Director with Stanford Introductory Studies, where she heads up the Sophomore College Program.

  MEGAN DINO  DYS W18 Facilitator  Megan is the Assistant Director of Career Ventures - Business, Consulting, Finance & Government at BEAM.

MEGAN DINO
DYS W18 Facilitator

Megan is the Assistant Director of Career Ventures - Business, Consulting, Finance & Government at BEAM.

  DANNY ALVAREZ  DYS W18 Facilitator  Danny is the Assistant Director of the Diversity and First Generation office.

DANNY ALVAREZ
DYS W18 Facilitator

Danny is the Assistant Director of the Diversity and First Generation office.

  MIRANDA SHEPHERD  DYS F17 Facilitator  Miranda is an interdisciplinary artist/writer and is the Arts in Student Life Coordinator for Stanford Arts.

MIRANDA SHEPHERD
DYS F17 Facilitator

Miranda is an interdisciplinary artist/writer and is the Arts in Student Life Coordinator for Stanford Arts.

  CARI COSTANZO  DYS F17 Facilitator  Cari is a Cultural Anthropologist   and Academic Director for Undergraduate Advising & Research at Stanford.

CARI COSTANZO
DYS F17 Facilitator

Cari is a Cultural Anthropologist and Academic Director for Undergraduate Advising & Research at Stanford.

  MARYANN TUNG  DYL W18 Facilitator  Maryann is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Stanford.

MARYANN TUNG
DYL W18 Facilitator

Maryann is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Stanford.

  TESSA FORSHAW  DYL W18 Facilitator  Tessa is an alum of Designing the Professional, and is currently completing a Masters in Learning, Design, and Technology.

TESSA FORSHAW
DYL W18 Facilitator

Tessa is an alum of Designing the Professional, and is currently completing a Masters in Learning, Design, and Technology.

  CAYLA HATTON  DYL W18 Facilitator  Cayla is an alum of Designing Your Life majoring in Psychology with a specialization in Neuroscience.

CAYLA HATTON
DYL W18 Facilitator

Cayla is an alum of Designing Your Life majoring in Psychology with a specialization in Neuroscience.

  BEN BOWMAN  Curriculum Design Intern  Ben helped to develop "Designing Your Career" and is a Master's student in the Stanford Graduate School of Education.

BEN BOWMAN
Curriculum Design Intern

Ben helped to develop "Designing Your Career" and is a Master's student in the Stanford Graduate School of Education.

  NATHANIEL BERGER  DYS F17 Facilitator  Nathaniel is an Assistant Director of Career Communities at BEAM for Stanford Frosh/Soph.

NATHANIEL BERGER
DYS F17 Facilitator

Nathaniel is an Assistant Director of Career Communities at BEAM for Stanford Frosh/Soph.

  NETTA WANG  Curriculum Design Intern & DYS StoryCraft Facilitator  Netta is an alum of Designing Your Stanford and majoring in Sociology.

NETTA WANG
Curriculum Design Intern &
DYS StoryCraft Facilitator

Netta is an alum of Designing Your Stanford and majoring in Sociology.

  REBECCA ROSE  DYL F17 & S17 Facilitator  Eliza is an alum of Designing Your Life majoring in Human Biology with a minor in Urban Studies.

REBECCA ROSE
DYL F17 & S17 Facilitator

Eliza is an alum of Designing Your Life majoring in Human Biology with a minor in Urban Studies.

  VANESSA OCHAVILLO  DYL F17 & S17 Facilitator  Vanessa is an alum of Designing Your Life and Cardinal Service Coordinator at Stanford's Haas Center for Public Service.

VANESSA OCHAVILLO
DYL F17 & S17 Facilitator

Vanessa is an alum of Designing Your Life and Cardinal Service Coordinator at Stanford's Haas Center for Public Service.

  GENAI LEWIS  DYL F17 and W18 Facilitator  Genai is an alum of Designing Your Life majoring in Philosophy and loves making mazes for her rats Kitty and Bagel.

GENAI LEWIS
DYL F17 and W18 Facilitator

Genai is an alum of Designing Your Life majoring in Philosophy and loves making mazes for her rats Kitty and Bagel.

  EMMA CHENG  DYL F17 Facilitator  Emma is an alum of DtP and Stanford Taiwan Biodesign Visiting Scholar.

EMMA CHENG
DYL F17 Facilitator

Emma is an alum of DtP and Stanford Taiwan Biodesign Visiting Scholar.

  RACHELLE SLOSS  DYL F17 Facilitator  Rachelle is a learning experience designer who has spent the last 6 years working and traveling in Africa and Latin America.

RACHELLE SLOSS
DYL F17 Facilitator

Rachelle is a learning experience designer who has spent the last 6 years working and traveling in Africa and Latin America.

  ERIKA NOBLE   DYL F17 Facilitator  Erika is an alum of Designing Your Life majoring in MS&E with a minor in Spanish.

ERIKA NOBLE
DYL F17 Facilitator

Erika is an alum of Designing Your Life majoring in MS&E with a minor in Spanish.

  FIONA LEE  SGSI F17 Facilitator  Fiona is a PhD Candidate in Social Psychology at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford

FIONA LEE
SGSI F17 Facilitator

Fiona is a PhD Candidate in Social Psychology at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford

  JEREMY HUNT  SGSI F17 Facilitator  Jeremy received his MA at Stanford and is a graduate of the Designing the Professional course. He currently works on Machine Learning at twoXAR.

JEREMY HUNT
SGSI F17 Facilitator

Jeremy received his MA at Stanford and is a graduate of the Designing the Professional course. He currently works on Machine Learning at twoXAR.

  LINGTONG SUN  SGSI F17 Facilitator  Lingtong is a graduate of the Designing Your Stanford and Designing Your Life courses and currently works as a software engineer at DoorDash

LINGTONG SUN
SGSI F17 Facilitator

Lingtong is a graduate of the Designing Your Stanford and Designing Your Life courses and currently works as a software engineer at DoorDash

  ANDREW SATANAPONG   SGSI F17 Facilitator + DYS F16 Facilitator  Andrew is a Counselor for Stanford OHS.

ANDREW SATANAPONG
SGSI F17 Facilitator + DYS F16 Facilitator

Andrew is a Counselor for Stanford OHS.


Academic Year 2016 - 2017

  ALIZA HOFFMAN  DtP S17 Facilitator  Aliza is an alum of DtP and a Masters candidate in the Learning, Design, and Technology program at Stanford.

ALIZA HOFFMAN
DtP S17 Facilitator

Aliza is an alum of DtP and a Masters candidate in the Learning, Design, and Technology program at Stanford.

  CHRIS GOLDE  DtP S17 Facilitator  Chris is Assistant Director of Career Communities for PhDs & postdocs at Stanford.

CHRIS GOLDE
DtP S17 Facilitator

Chris is Assistant Director of Career Communities for PhDs & postdocs at Stanford.

  ANDRES LAZO  DtP S17 Facilitator  Andres is an Innovation Specialist at 18F, a civic consultancy for the government.

ANDRES LAZO
DtP S17 Facilitator

Andres is an Innovation Specialist at 18F, a civic consultancy for the government.

  TRACY BRANDENBURG  DtP S17 Facilitator  Tracy is an anthropologist who specializes in Design Thinking, a lecturer at Cornell, and an Executive Design Thinking Coach at Stanford.

TRACY BRANDENBURG
DtP S17 Facilitator

Tracy is an anthropologist who specializes in Design Thinking, a lecturer at Cornell, and an Executive Design Thinking Coach at Stanford.

  DENISE BENATAR  DtP S17 Facilitator  Denise is a seasoned design thinking facilitator, attorney and alum of Stanford.

DENISE BENATAR
DtP S17 Facilitator

Denise is a seasoned design thinking facilitator, attorney and alum of Stanford.

  OLIVIA MARTINEZ-STEWART  DtP S17 Facilitator  Olivia is Assistant Director of Career Communities - Engineering at Stanford.

OLIVIA MARTINEZ-STEWART
DtP S17 Facilitator

Olivia is Assistant Director of Career Communities - Engineering at Stanford.

  ELIZA KLYCE  DYL S17 Facilitator  Eliza is an alum of Designing Your Life and majoring in Computer Science.

ELIZA KLYCE
DYL S17 Facilitator

Eliza is an alum of Designing Your Life and majoring in Computer Science.

  MATT MISTELE  DYL S17 Facilitator  Matt is an alum of Designing Your Life and majoring in Mathematical & Computational Science.

MATT MISTELE
DYL S17 Facilitator

Matt is an alum of Designing Your Life and majoring in Mathematical & Computational Science.

  SHELLEY WILLIAMSON  DYS S17 Facilitator  Shelley is a Learning & Development Consultant at SAP.

SHELLEY WILLIAMSON
DYS S17 Facilitator

Shelley is a Learning & Development Consultant at SAP.

  DAVID GLASGOW  DYS S17 Facilitator  David is an Assistant Director of Experiential Education at Stanford

DAVID GLASGOW
DYS S17 Facilitator

David is an Assistant Director of Experiential Education at Stanford

  URMILA VENKATESH   SGSI 16 & DYS W17 Facilitator  Urmila is Assistant Dean of Career Education & Associate Director of Career Catalysts - Curriculum Design at Stanford

URMILA VENKATESH
SGSI 16 & DYS W17 Facilitator

Urmila is Assistant Dean of Career Education & Associate Director of Career Catalysts - Curriculum Design at Stanford

  MICK SMYER   DYS W17 Facilitator  Mick is a Fellow in Civic Innovation at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford.

MICK SMYER
DYS W17 Facilitator

Mick is a Fellow in Civic Innovation at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford.

  HIROSHI ISHII-ADAJAR   DYL W17 Facilitator  Hiroshi is an alum of Designing Your Life and Senior at Stanford, majoring in Mathematics.

HIROSHI ISHII-ADAJAR
DYL W17 Facilitator

Hiroshi is an alum of Designing Your Life and Senior at Stanford, majoring in Mathematics.

  KATHERINE NOBLES   DYL W17 Facilitator  Katherine is Assistant Director of Career Communities at Stanford

KATHERINE NOBLES
DYL W17 Facilitator

Katherine is Assistant Director of Career Communities at Stanford

  JUSTIN NEIMAN  DYL W17 Facilitator  Justin is Assistant Dean of Residence Education at Stanford.

JUSTIN NEIMAN
DYL W17 Facilitator

Justin is Assistant Dean of Residence Education at Stanford.

  ANNIE VLECK   DYL F16 Facilitator  Annie is Assistant Director of Career Catalysts for Stanford alumni.

ANNIE VLECK
DYL F16 Facilitator

Annie is Assistant Director of Career Catalysts for Stanford alumni.

  SUSAN BURNETT   DYL F16 Instructor & Facilitator  Susan is an leadership development consultant.

SUSAN BURNETT
DYL F16 Instructor & Facilitator

Susan is an leadership development consultant.

  LACONA WOLTMON  SGSI 16 Facilitator  LaCona is a College Director for the Freshman-Sophomore College at Stanford.

LACONA WOLTMON
SGSI 16 Facilitator

LaCona is a College Director for the Freshman-Sophomore College at Stanford.

 

History

The core ideas for the Designing Your Life class and the other classes that have resulted at Stanford are almost eight years in the making. It all started when Dave Evans asked Bill Burnett to lunch to pitch him an idea about a class to help his product design students “find jobs.” Dave hypothesized that these students, being in a very multidisciplinary and unique major, might have more trouble than most finding their first job. Dave describes the meeting this way, “I thought this was going to be a multipart discussion and that I’d have to have a couple of meetings to sell Bill on this idea. Within 15 minutes, I had the deal done!” Bill’s version is simpler, “Dave hit on need that I’d been working on for 15 years in office hours, one student at a time. Given Dave’s experience teaching a class on vocation at Berkley and his success as a business guy and an executive coach, when he suggested teaching a class together I jumped at the chance to work with him.”

Practicing what they preach, Dave and Bill decided to run a quick, low resolution prototype of the design thinking material they were considering using. Bill invited eight current and former advisees to a 2 hour, two night session over the summer. The Wednesday session went great; the Thursday session just wouldn’t stop. After the two hours of planned exercises, the students took over the discussion. Around eleven, when Bill and Dave insisted that they were done, one of the students turned to them and said, “No, we are not done yet. This is important stuff and you don’t understand. We don’t have any place in our lives where we can talk about this stuff!”

Zoom forward to today where the Life Design Lab hosts three classed at Stanford, and are some of the most popular electives on campus. They’ve refined the design exercises again and again to make them more efficient and actionable. The method has been the subject of two PhD theses and had demonstrated significant results in helping people design the life they want. The method is centered on the principles taught in the Product Design Program and the d.school at Stanford. Called “design thinking”, it is a process and a way of thinking about tough-to-solve problems. Most importantly, these classes provides a “place to talk about this stuff.”

Hear more from Bill & Dave:

 

Careers

Course Facilitator

Open positions every quarter. Part-time, 3 hours a week, unpaid. Learn more here

Open position available for Academic Year 2018-19. Full-time, salaried position. Learn more here.

Life Design Fellow