Interview with Stanford design school director

George Kembel
George Kembel (34), the executive director of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the “”) at Stanford University, recently shared his thoughts on design with EE Times editor at-large Rick Merritt. Some excerpts:

“We’re moving to a more human-centered approach, using a culture of prototyping and multidisciplinary teams to design not just products, but experiences.”

“You look at the whole life cycle of the experience and anywhere along the way you might find an insight that would drive your design.”

“When you have a team with an engineer, a designer, a business exec and social scientists, you can’t expect them to get along. They have different vocabularies, values and ways of looking at problems. The design methodology is what holds the team together. When you have a disagreement, the prototyping work externalizes their assumptions and becomes a broker to help them through the process.”

“We approach the design of the Design School in the same way we ask students to approach design. We prototype everything–the space, the classes, the curriculum. At the end of every class we debrief what worked and what didn’t, and retool the class on the fly.”

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