Reshaping Engineering Culture with Design Thinking

Fall 2015
Mon Sep 21, 4:30-8:30p with dinner, Studio 1
Thurs Sep 24, 4:30-8:30p with dinner, Studio 2

Want breakthrough thinking? Excited about designing new ways to live, work, and study, new technologies, new solutions to pressing world problems? Design thinking opens up new possibilities for people, processes, and end results. What stands in our way? Possibly unexamined cultural factors, including location, such as where we work and study, and norms, beliefs, and identities surrounding gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic background, age, and more.

This pop-up class will introduce design thinking as a method to investigate the cultural life of engineering and develop innovative approaches to strengthen or even transform engineering practices. This class also will examine design thinking itself as a culturally situated process that might be expanded and enriched by taking into account diverse perspectives and backgrounds. The class will accompany a new Fall Quarter engineering course focused on diversifying engineering culture; to participate in the pop-up, students should have prior interest in and/or experience studying engineering, but not necessarily prior experience with design thinking.

Through the pop-up class, you will learn about design thinking and use this approach to uncover the cultural dimensions of the engineering experience, explore how your own cultural experiences shape assumptions, approaches, and belief systems, and identify projects that take culture(s) into account in new ways.  By the end of the course, students will have identified a project that integrates design thinking, culture, and diversity, with the possibility that they will pursue this project throughout the quarter in the companion engineering course.

Accepting 12-20 students. Note: In addition, students from Aachen University will be visiting and participating in the Pop-up. Stanford students who also enroll in the full-quarter class, ENGR 311c, will have preference. Apply here. 

Teaching Team
Sheri Sheppard, Professor, ME Design Group, Stanford University
Carmen Leicht-Scholten, Professor, Gender and Diversity in Engineering, Faculty of Civil Engineering, RWTH Aachen University
Shannon Gilmartin, Consulting Associate Professor, ME Design Group, Stanford University
Carol B. Muller, Executive Director, WISE Ventures
Tania Anaissie,