School of Bright Ideas

IDEO IS THE TOP DESIGN SHOP IN SILICON VALLEY. NOW A CO-FOUNDER IS ON A MISSION TO CHANGE THE WAY STUDENTS--AND BUSINESSES--THINK

"For me, it's like a religious thing," says David Kelley. "I truly believe design thinking will make your life better." Kelley, 54, a professor in the engineering department at Stanford University and the chairman of Palo Alto, Calif., design firm Ideo, is sitting in his cramped third-floor office, surrounded by a blizzard of Post-it notes and foam-cut prototypes. Talking at the speed of a guy on his third espresso, occasionally jumping up to scribble ideas on a whiteboard, Kelley outlines his credo: that practically anyone in the business and academic worlds can and should think like a designer. "It isn't just...

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