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DSN 113 W — Design Your Future: Design Innovation for Personal Growth

Quarter: Summer
Course Format: Online course (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jun 26—Sep 1
Drop Deadline: Jul 4
Units: 2
Tuition: $540
Instructor(s): Michael Shanks, Tamara Carleton
Limit: 55
Jun 26—Sep 1
10 weeks
Drop By
Jul 4
2 Units
Michael Shanks, Tamara Carleton

The concept of design innovation applies as much to our own personal growth and leadership as to anything else in our lives. This course teaches how each of us can become more aware of design innovation in our lives, how design innovation works, and most importantly, how it applies to all of us. It explores such questions as: Where is our place in the world, what is my personal vision of change, and how do I safely test incarnations of myself along the way? As the course progresses, we will learn how to take control and (re-) design our own lives through innovative measures. Design can truly be at the heart of refashioning our future lives in a chaotic world and, as importantly, of finding well-being and reclaiming a rich human experience.

Using a combination of tools from the Foresight Framework and Stanford’s design community, this course will provide a learning laboratory for your own self-reflection and experimentation in a group setting. Through a combination of short videos, readings, demonstrations, field work, and open forums with faculty, plus personal feedback, you will gain fast practice in understanding yourself as a design innovation.


  • Course sizes are limited.
    You won't have 5,000 classmates. This course's enrollment is capped at 55 participants.

  • Frequent interaction with the instructor.
    You aren't expected to work through the material alone. Instructors will answer questions and interact with students on the discussion board and through weekly video meetings.

  • Study with a vibrant peer group.
    Stanford Continuing Studies courses attract thoughtful and engaged students who take courses for the love of learning. Students in each course will exchange ideas with one another through easy-to-use message boards as well as optional weekly real-time video conferences.

  • Direct feedback from the instructor.
    Instructors will review and offer feedback on assignment submissions. Students are not required to turn in assignments, but for those who do, their work is graded by the instructor.

  • Courses offer the flexibility to participate on your own schedule.
    Course work is completed on a weekly basis when you have the time. You can log in and participate in the class whenever it's convenient for you. If you can’t attend the weekly video meetings, the sessions are always recorded for you and your instructor is just an email away.

  • This course is offered through Stanford Continuing Studies.
    To learn more about the program, visit our About Us page. For more information on the online format, please visit the FAQ page.

This course may not be taken for a Letter Grade.

This is the third in a sequence of three courses on design innovation. In the Fall, students explored designing future solutions within a business context; in the Spring, students designed solutions in the context of global teams; and in the Summer, students will focus on design innovation in the context of personal leadership and growth. While these courses build upon one another, each course can be taken independently as well.

Michael Shanks, Professor of Classics; Professor of Archaeology; Senior Faculty, Program in Writing and Rhetoric, Science, Technology and Society, Urban Studies, and the Center for Design Research, School of Engineering, Stanford

Michael Shanks is an archaeologist and specialist in long-term humanistic views of design and innovation. He has directed Stanford Humanities Lab and the Revs Program, connecting automotive heritage with contemporary car design. While he pursues fieldwork into the Roman borders of the Netherlands, he also serves on the Mayor of Rotterdam’s Advisory Board and works with many companies, including Airbus, Severstal, Thales Group, Michelin, Daimler Chrysler, and SAP, on developing cultures of innovation.

Tamara Carleton, CEO and Founder, Innovation Leadership Board

Tamara Carleton helps organizations to create vision-led, radical innovations. She works closely with the Foresight and Innovation program at Stanford, where she explores how the world’s most innovative companies create technology visions and take action. She received a PhD in mechanical engineering from Stanford.