Our team

“We couldn’t be more different, except for our shared values. And that makes working together enjoyable.”

Erik Olesund

Erik Olesund

Global Program Manager

Erik is a designer, improvisor, coffee lover and Swede, who has now found his home in the ever-changing nexus of creativity and social change that is the d.school. Here he serves as the Program Manager for our global efforts, pursuing ways for the d.school to impact how individuals and organizations around the world discover and utilize their innate creative potential.

Originally from Sweden, Erik arrived at Stanford in 2012 for his Master’s degree in Management Science & Engineering, and spent most of his time magnetically drawn to the d.school — a place that allowed him to not only identify and understand important problems, but also provided an opportunity to move towards creatively and collaboratively solving them. Since that day he has been oscillating between thinking (philosophizing about just and sustainable economic and educational models) and doing (creating immersive learning experiences in design, creativity and improvisation both inside and outside the traditional classroom).

In the two years of Erik’s MS&E program at Stanford he managed to take six d.school classes and was later on a teaching assistant for five of them. At Stanford, he also discovered the art of improvised theatre and was a performing member of the campus improv troupe, the SImps, for two years. On top of that he helped teach the beginners class in improvisation in the Theatre Department. After graduating in 2014 he joined the d.school full-time as a Teaching Fellow (2014/15) focusing on creating new curriculum for the application of design thinking in public policy, as well as teaching and developing classes on design, improv and storytelling with colleagues from the English and Theatre Departments. Recently he has shifted his focus outwards: exploring how learning happens out-in-the-world and creating ways for even more people around the world to build their creative confidence.

Erik loves people (he once lived in a dorm where he shared a kitchen with 18 people), radio (his dream job is being Ira Glass on “This American Life”), and his two younger brothers (who he describes as progressively more intelligent, athletic and attractive versions of himself). He is an enthusiastic yet still inexperienced rock-climber obsessed with good coffee. Here is a map of his favorite coffee shops in San Francisco.

In future years, he hopes to return to Sweden to change its schools for the better and run a socially-minded design consultancy. If that doesn’t work out, he will just start a combined bakery and hostel with his mom and dad.

Erik lives in San Francisco, CA, in a small room with a view.

Who’s here in 2016-2017

Our Broader Network

These superstars have been a part of our teaching teams, fellows, staff or founding team. They continue to do amazing work at Stanford and in the world.

  • Abby King
  • Adam French
  • Alex Kazaks
  • Alex Ko
  • Amal Aziz
  • Anja Svetina-Nabergoj
  • Anne Fletcher
  • Anne Gibbon
  • Barry Katz
  • Ben Grossman-Kahn
  • Brett Westervelt
  • Brian Witlin
  • Brit D'Arbeloff
  • Caitria O'Neill
  • Carly Geehr
  • Carol Winograd
  • Caroline O'Connor
  • Carr Wilkerson
  • Charlie Ellinger
  • Claudia Kotchka
  • Colter Leyes
  • Corey Ford
  • Corina Yen
  • Dan Bomze
  • Daniel Steinbock
  • David Klaus
  • Elizabeth Gerber
  • Emily Ma
  • Enrique Allen
  • Erica Estrada
  • Erika Basu
  • Erin Liman
  • Eugene Korsunskiy
  • Evelyn Huang
  • Fred Leichter
  • Gayle Curtis
  • Guido Kovalskys
  • James Monsees
  • Jason Chua
  • Jason Conroy
  • Jenny Stefanotti
  • Jim Ratcliffe
  • Joe Brown
  • Joel Sadler
  • Jofish Kaye
  • John Keefe
  • John Kembel
  • John Lilly
  • Jules Sherman
  • Kerry O’Connor
  • Kim Jacobson
  • Kim Saxe
  • Kris Woyzbun
  • Krista Donaldson
  • Larry Leifer
  • Lia Siebert
  • Lochlann Jain
  • Maryanna Rogers
  • Matt Haney
  • Maureen Caroll
  • Meg Lee
  • Mel Lee
  • Micah Lande
  • Michael Shanks
  • Mike Levinthal
  • Molly Wilson
  • Nat Woyzbun
  • Neema Moraveji
  • Nitzan Waisberg
  • Olga Trusova
  • Peter Rubin
  • Peter Sims
  • Purin Phanichphant
  • Rich Crandall
  • Sandy Speicher
  • Scott Klemmer
  • Susan Hosking-Ramos
  • Tammy Goodall
  • Taylor Cone
  • Uri Geva
  • Wendy Ju
  • Yusuke Miyashita