Back in fall 05 I first heard about the newly funded/founded “Hasso Plattner Institute of Design” at Stanford University[GP:dschool]. SAP’s Hasso Plattner had just recently given $35m to the university to set it up. I got somewhat excited – this looked extremely interesting. The “Hasso Plattner Institute of Design” (aka “d.school”) is an interdiciplinary design department with the aim of educating future design thinkers and innovators (you don’t say “inventors” anymore). Before Christmas I had been trying to arrange an appointment with David Kelley, a professor for design and one of the founders of this institute (and one of the founders of IDEO as well). I didn’t hear anything for quite some time, but then (just a week ago) I got an email from his assistent (thanks Charlotte!), and just two days ago she asked me, why don’t you just attend the first session of the new class. You bet I just couldn’t NOT go there 🙂
So we went to see the Campus, and later I went to the kick-off class. There were some 60 students and 15 staff (what a dream proportion!). Within one our, we fast-forwarded through the entire design process for a wallet (a very personal item) from requirements analysis to physical prototypes. Later I had the opportunity of talking to Mr Kelley – very very fascinating, but (unfortunately) no post-graduate offerings I could use. Too bad.
Here’s some background information I got:
The Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford (we call it the ?d.school?) is a new interdisciplinary teaching program about design thinking. Made possible by a generous gift from Hasso Plattner, it is intended to advance multidisciplinary innovation. We are in our first full year of operation, in startup mode. We plan to grow and change the program rapidly in the next few years.
People: We see the d.school as bringing together a wide variety of people, not just from different disciplines, but from different backgrounds. We will augment regular faculty and staff with active participation by people from industry, at all levels of teaching and participation. As things develop, we will provide a place for this broad community to get to know each other.
Degrees: There is no official d.school degree. Because we are inherently interdisciplinary, we don?t expect to grant separate ?design? degrees, but to explore ways to include a design designation as part of departmental degrees.
Relation to other Programs: The d.school is closely affiliated with, but not the same as, the Product Design program in the Mechanical Engineering Department. Many of the d.school students will be from that program, but our goal is to have students from other related programs, such as the HCI program in the CS Masters, the Bio-design program, GSB students, the LDT program in the ED School, and others.
Admissions: No students are admitted to the d.school yet. Students participating in the activities are regularly enrolled degree students in any department at Stanford. We look for people to bring their interdisciplinary expertise to the projects, so our focus is on graduate students, primarily masters.
Post-Graduate Opportunities: Each year we have a staff of paid fellows who have graduated from a design or related program and who help to create and guide the projects and courses. We will announce later in the year how to apply for this position in future years.