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

Quarter: Summer
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jun 25—Aug 31
Drop Deadline: Jun 28
Units: 2
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $595
Instructor(s): Michael Shanks, Tamara Carleton
Limit: 55
Status: Closed
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is 6/28 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is 7/3 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Jun 25—Aug 31
10 weeks
Drop By
Jun 28
2 Units
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Michael Shanks, Tamara Carleton
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is 6/28 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is 7/3 at 5:00 pm (PT).
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.

Grade restriction: No letter grade

Michael Shanks, Professor of Classics; Professor of Archaeology, Stanford

Michael Shanks is an archaeologist and specialist in long-term humanistic views of design and innovation. He is a senior faculty member in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric, Science, Technology and Society, Urban Studies, and the Center for Design Research at Stanford. He has directed the 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 AG, and SAP, on developing cultures of innovation.

Tamara Carleton, CEO and Founder, Innovation Leadership Group

Tamara Carleton helps organizations and teams worldwide with long-range planning, disruptive innovation, and innovative learning models. She oversees Stanford’s Silicon Valley Innovation Academy summer program, collaborates with Stanford’s Foresight and Innovation lab, and works with Stanford’s mediaX program. She is also a visiting professor at Osaka Institute of Technology in Japan. She received a PhD in mechanical engineering from Stanford.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.