September 20, 2023

Exciting Update from Our Work at Stanford

Today, I’m excited to share a huge milestone in what's been happening at the Stanford Design School (! A little context first:


I started popping into the 10 years ago. Since then, I’ve watched and supported as leadership worked to reimagine how to educate budding designers, engineers, and entrepreneurs.

I found a place on the team by piloting ways to help students take leaps from the classroom into the real world. In 2017, in collaboration with David Kelley and Bill Burnett, we launched an experimental class called Design Summer.

The Idea Began to Work

It took a lot of support from the and Experience Institute teams, but Design Summer eventually became a favorite among students. Even though it was just a 1-credit independent study, the class was oversubscribed every time enrollment opened — sometimes within minutes of registration opening. It was clear we were meeting a real need for students.

A New Chapter

Recently, the launched their first-ever full degree program — a huge feat and the beginning of an exciting new era. Now, thanks to the trust and ongoing collaboration of leadership, I'm thrilled to share that the Design Summer course will become a core, required class of the new degree!

From Design Summer to Design Formation

The class will be rebranded to Design Formation and remain a 1-credit, 4-session experience. Now, every junior will have the space and support to explore their values & beliefs, learn to tell their stories, connect with employers, design leaps into various roles and industries, and then prepare for their final capstone of the degree. We'll begin this fall.

A Few Reflections

If you’ve been following Experience Institute’s journey, you know we began by working in Higher Ed. And though today we’re focused on supporting learning in the workplace, this work at Stanford remains connected to our values and our mission to ignite purpose and motivation through leaps.

Beyond that, the people at the have become dear friends — they are kind souls, and brilliant teammates. Together, we’re learning, growing, and amplifying our impact with soul.

If you work at a company that might be interested in supporting this class by opening your doors to students, stay tuned for opportunities later this year.

For now, whatever leaps you're taking, start with tests, invite others into the work, and remain patient along the way.

Change at any level is hard, but that’s not all it is.

Happy Wednesday,


Special thanks to: Dustin Liu, Sophia Dew, Renee Chao, Andrea Brand-Sanchez, Ellie Chen, Diane Dwyer, Carissa Carter, Kelly Schmutte, Megan Stariha, Joe Mellin, David Kelley, Bill Burnett, Perry Klebahn, Seamus Harte, Bre Przestrzelski, Erik Olesund, Scott Doorley, the Ei Team, and the remarkable students, faculty, and alumni community around the Great things ahead!

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