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 BURNETT
Co-Founder

DAVE EVANS  Co-founder

DAVE EVANS 
Co-founder

KATHY DAVIES Managing Director + Lecturer

KATHY DAVIES
Managing Director + Lecturer

 
GABRIELLE SANTA-DONATO  Lecturer + Fellow

GABRIELLE SANTA-DONATO 
Lecturer + Fellow

EMILY TSIANG  Lecturer + Fellow

EMILY TSIANG 
Lecturer + Fellow

JOHN ARMSTRONG  Lecturer + Fellow

JOHN ARMSTRONG 
Lecturer + Fellow


Facilitators & Instructors

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


Academic Year 2017 - 2018

 
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 Assistant Director of the Diversity and First Generation office. 

DANNY ALVAREZ
DYS W18 Facilitator

Danny is 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 at Stanford.

MIRANDA SHEPHERD
DYS F17 Facilitator

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

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.

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 DYS F17 Curriculum Designer & StoryCraft Facilitator Netta is an alum of Designing Your Stanford and majoring in Sociology.

NETTA WANG
DYS F17 Curriculum Designer & 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 majoring in Human Biology. 

VANESSA OCHAVILLO
DYL F17 & S17 Facilitator

Vanessa is an alum of Designing Your Life and majoring in Human Biology. 

GENAI LEWIS DYL F17 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 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. 

COLLEEN McCALLION  DYS F16 Facilitator Colleen is Assistant Director of Career Communities for Stanford frosh/soph.

COLLEEN McCALLION 
DYS F16 Facilitator

Colleen is Assistant Director of Career Communities for Stanford frosh/soph.

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: