Solving Problems for Real World, Using Design: a guided approach to building that empathy muscle

Formally the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University, the D.school has made a global impact by encouraging students to find out what is most useful….

 

“It’s a guided approach to building that empathy muscle until, pretty soon, they are out there doing it on their own,” Mr. Kelley said….

 

At the heart of the school’s courses is developing what David Kelley, one of the school’s founders, calls an empathy muscle. Inside the school’s cavernous space — which seems like a nod to the Silicon Valley garages of lore — the students are taught to forgo computer screens and spreadsheets and focus on people.

So far, that process has worked. In the eight years since the design school opened, students have churned out dozens of innovative products and start-ups. They have developed original ways to tackle infant mortality, unreliable electricity and malnutrition in the third world, as well as clubfoot, a common congenital deformity that twists a baby’s feet inward and down.