Other Group

Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (Stanford d.School)

Location:

Stanford, CA

Type:

University Institute

Parent Organization:

Stanford University

Director:

Ulrich Weinberg

The Hasso Platner Institute of Design at Stanford University, also known as the d.School, is an academic school within Stanford University centered around “design thinking” that conducts engineering and design projects in technology, consumer goods, business processes, and more. The school was founded in 2004 by mechanical engineering professors at Stanford with funding from German businessman Hasso Plattner, co-founder of software company SAP. The school is known for classes that encourage teams of students to launch businesses and develop web and mobile applications in partnerships with governments, nonprofit organizations, and companies. [1]

While much of the work of the school is nonpolitical, the school is a member of the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence, a coalition left-of-center election nonprofits created in 2022 as an initiative of the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) that is funded by the Audacious Project. [2]

History

The Hasso Platner Institute of Design was founded by professors at Stanford University in 2005. The institute was funded with a $35 million donation from Hasso Platner, a billionaire German businessman who co-founded software company SAP. At its founding the institute was described as an effort within the engineering school to promote design thinking as part of the “evolution of design from form and style toward thinking and strategy.” [3]

David Kelley, a professor of mechanical engineering at Stanford was the founding director of the institute and among the first engineers to employ the concept of design thinking, which his biography describes as “developing solutions with iterative prototyping, and inspiring ideas for the future through storytelling.” [4]

Projects and Activity

Students of the Hasso Platner Institute of Design have launched several companies and products throughout the existence of the institute. Examples include Embrace, a sleeping bag that helps raise the body temperature of low-birth-weight infants for use in developing countries; d.light, a company that manufactures inexpensive LED lights for rural villages without electricity; and a 2009 iPhone and iPad application called Pulse News Reader. [5]

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Hasso Plattner Institute of Design has adopted left-of-center language and programs centered around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) through its “Designing for Social Systems Program.” One blog post from the program within the institute discusses the institute adopting an “equity lens” and states that challenges faced by “social systems practitioners” are “largely rooted in inequity: current and historical oppression, active and passive discrimination and bias, intentional or merely complicit structural exclusion.” [6]

U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence

While much of the work of the school is nonpolitical, the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design  is a member of the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence, a coalition left-of-center election reform nonprofits created in 2022 as an initiative of the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) that is funded by the Audacious Project. [7] The alliance includes left-of-center groups including the Center for Secure and Modern Elections, one of many organizations operated by the left-of-center group New Venture Fund which is itself operated by consulting firm Arabella Advisors; The Elections Group; and the Center for Civic Design. The Prototyping Systems Lab at the University of California, Davis is also a member of the alliance. [8]

References

  1. Roethel, Kathryn. “Stanford’s design school promotes creativity.” San Francisco Chronicle. November 26, 2010. Accessed January 11, 2023. https://www.sfgate.com/education/article/Stanford-s-design-school-promotes-creativity-3244664.php ^
  2. Gardner, Amy. “Nonprofit pledges $80 million for local election administration.” Washington Post. April 13, 2022. Accessed January 10, 2023. https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:qHmKqAm-lF4J:https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/04/12/center-for-tech-civic-life-elections-funds/+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ua ^
  3. Nussbaum, Bruce. “SAP founder gives $35 million for Stanford D-School.” Bloomberg. October 3, 2005. Accessed January 11, 2023.  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2005-10-02/sap-founder-gives-35-million-for-stanford-d-school#xj4y7vzkg ^
  4. “David Kelley.” Stanford University. Accessed January 11, 2023. https://profiles.stanford.edu/david-kelley ^
  5. Roethel, Kathryn. “Stanford’s design school promotes creativity.” San Francisco Chronicle. November 26, 2010. Accessed January 11, 2023. https://www.sfgate.com/education/article/Stanford-s-design-school-promotes-creativity-3244664.php ^
  6. Both, Thomas. “Equity Practice in Design.” April 5, 2022. Accessed January 11, 2023. https://medium.com/stanford-d-school/equity-practice-in-design-9fad1374ff5c ^
  7. Gardner, Amy. “Nonprofit pledges $80 million for local election administration.” Washington Post. April 13, 2022. Accessed January 10, 2023. https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:qHmKqAm-lF4J:https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/04/12/center-for-tech-civic-life-elections-funds/+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ua ^
  8. “Partners.” U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence. Accessed January 11, 2023. https://www.electionexcellence.org/partners ^
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Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (Stanford d.School)


Stanford, CA