Mumbai: An internet entrepreneur and investor-turned-educator, George Kembel co-founded the d.school at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California in the early 2000s. The school’s start-up design programme has had a remarkably global impact in terms of its intellectual, pedagogical and tangible reach. While most design programmes admit students with an art or design background, the Stanford d.school’s gospel is more secular. Its courses are offered to students from any of Stanford’s graduate schools, including those of management, medicine and education, as well as to executive education students.
Kembel’s current mission is to look beyond the Stanford campus. With Silicon Valley-style evangelism, he aspires to put together “a global fund to unlock creativity, to fundamentally transform how we educate our children, how we lead our organizations, and how we tackle some of the most significant challenges of our time”.
Speaking on the sidelines of the SingularityU India Summit, a conference on exponential technologies held in Mumbai recently, in association with ideas-and-conversation platform INK, Kembel shared his views on why design thinking promises a brighter future for all of us. Edited excerpts from an interview:
What is design thinking to you?
It is an invitation to a broader group of people to tap into their creativity, not just the people who thought they were creative. Somehow, I think, culturally, we’ve over-associated creativity with the arts. That’s a huge and important part of creativity. But for us everything is a creative act. Hiring is a creative act, designing a business model is a creative act, designing better ways for farmers to irrigate their land is a creative act, as is figuring out a fourth-grade curriculum, or a hospital space. Every one of those things has constraints, has humans involved, has technical issues, has business issues, and if you are trying to make things better, or create new value, you have to find unexpected ways for it.