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Design & Creativity

Empathize and Prototype: A Hands On Dive into the Key Tools of Design Thinking

Course Description

Move beyond theory and dive into hands-on practice in the art of innovation. Tackle innovation challenges from start to finish and gain an in-depth understanding of these key tenets of design thinking and how to incorporate them into your work. Empathize with your customer, synthesize your learnings, and rapidly prototype and test your new ideas. Master techniques for gaining empathy with customers and immediately put them to use in a series of hands on exercises that guide you from synthesis to prototyping and testing.

Enrollment: Application and Fee Apply

Learn How To


  • Perry Klebahn, Consulting Associate Professor and Executive Director of Executive Education, Stanford, Stanford University
  • Jeremy Utley, Lecturer and Director of Executive Education, Stanford, Stanford University

Physics-based Sound Synthesis for Games and Interactive Systems (Rolling Enrollment)

About the Course

This course introduces the basics of Digital Signal Processing and computational acoustics, motivated by the vibrational physics of real-world objects and systems. We will build from a simple mass-spring and pendulum to demonstrate oscillation, learn how to simulate those systems in the computer, and also prove that these simple oscillations behave as a sine wave. From that we move to plucked strings and struck bars, showing both solutions as combined traveling waves and combined sine wave harmonics. We continue to build and simulate more complex systems containing many vibrating objects and resonators (stringed instruments, drum, plate), and also learn how to simulate echos and room reverberation. Through this process, we will learn about digital signals, filters, oscillators, harmonics, spectral analysis, linear and non-linear systems, particle models, and all the necessary building blocks to synthesize essentially any sound. The free open-source software provided will make it possible for anyone to use physical models in their art-making, game or movie sound, or any other application.

Price: Free and Subscription Option

What you need to take this course:

    • Materials:
    • Equipment:
    • Software: ChucK (also optionally STK, PeRColate for Max/MSP, Processing, GL/Glut)
    • Recommended (highly) Textbook:

    Real Sound Synthesis for Interactive Applications (Kadenze discount available in Course Resources when course begins: Free Users=20%, Premium=50%).

    • Familiarity with ChucK programming language

    Introduction to Programming for Musicians and Digital Artists (Kadenze ChucK course)

    Programming for Musicians and Digital Artists (ChucK book, Kadenze Discount available in Course Resources when course begins)

    • Operating system: Mac OS X, Windows, or Linux (Planet CCRMA recommended)
    • Desired: familiarity with algebra. no calculus required.
    • Helpful to have: some personal sound-making things: a guitar or other stringed instrument, a drum, a kitchen pan, a prayer bowl, glasses, bowls, voice...


Perry Cook

    Perry R. Cook is Emeritus Professor of Computer Science (also Music) at Princeton University, founding advisor/consultant to social music company SMule, and consulting professor at CalArts, Stanford CCRMA. With Dan Trueman, he co-founded the Princeton Laptop Orchestra, which received a MacArthur Digital Learning Initiative Grant in 2005. With Ge Wang, Cook is co-author of the ChucK Programming Language. His newest book is “Programming for Digital Musicians and Artists,” with Ajay Kapur, Spencer Salazar, and Ge Wang. The recipient of a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship, Cook is (still) working on a new book, "La Bella Voce e La Macchina (the Beautiful Voice and the Machine), A History of Technology and the Expressive Voice." Perry is also co-founder of Kadenze.

    Julius Smith

      Julius O. Smith normally teaches a music signal-processing course sequence and supervises related research at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). He is formally a professor of music and (by courtesy) electrical engineering. In 1975, he received his BS/EE degree from Rice University, where he got started in the field of digital signal processing and modeling for control. In 1983, he received the PhD/EE degree from Stanford University, specializing in techniques for digital filter design and system identification, with application to violin modeling. His work history includes the Signal Processing Department at Electromagnetic Systems Laboratories, Inc., working on systems for digital communications, the Adaptive Systems Department at Systems Control Technology, Inc., working on research problems in adaptive filtering and spectral estimation, and NeXT Computer, Inc., where he was responsible for sound, music, and signal processing software for the NeXT computer workstation. Prof. Smith is a Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society and the Acoustical Society of America. He is the author of four online books and numerous research publications in his field.

      Sound Synthesis

      The Art of Designing and Delivering Engaging Presentations

      Monday, April 3, 2017

      Course Description: 

      Presentations are ubiquitous. From board rooms to chat rooms, we all need to present our ideas and ourselves frequently. Estimates suggest that there are 40 million presentations a day in the United States. Yet many presenters feel uneasy about speaking in front of others. Additionally, speakers can struggle with making their presentations authentic, engaging, and memorable. This online course will provide a hands-on, practical introduction to immediately applicable techniques that will help you prepare and deliver engaging, participative, and impactful in-person and online presentations. Through a combination of lectures, discussions, group activities, and speechmaking, you will learn techniques to confidently deliver presentations, create content that invites engagement, and facilitate speaker/audience interactions that invite collaboration without losing control. Students will develop, deliver, and evaluate a presentation that is meaningful for them. With these presenting skills, you will be able to authentically deliver a compelling presentation tailored to your audience’s needs. 

      Matt Abrahams, Lecturer, Stanford Graduate School of Business

      Matt Abrahams is an educator and coach who has published research articles on cognitive planning, persuasion, and interpersonal communication. He is the author of Speaking Up Without Freaking Out, and a co-founder and principal at Bold Echo Communication Solutions. He received an MA in communication from UC Davis.

      Textbooks for this course:

      (Required) Matthew Abrahams, Speaking up without Freaking Out, 3rd edition (ISBN 978-1465290472)

      DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)

      The Power of Stories to Fuel Innovation

      Course Description

      A big idea is not enough. You need people to create it and people to buy into it. Your big idea needs a story. Stories fuel innovation. They hold the power to transform listeners; to take listeners on a journey that changes how they think, feel or act. This interactive online course covers the variety of roles a narrative can play, and its potential to transform an organization or new venture. Explore why story is at the heart of effective innovation and how story can be used to transform culture.

      Learn How To


      • Jennifer Aaker, Professor of Marketing, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University

      Online Jamming and Concert Technology-Spring 2017

      Saturday, April 15, 2017

      Course Description

      Today's vast amount of streaming and video conferencing on the Internet lacks one aspect of musical fun and that's what this course is about: high-quality, near-synchronous musical collaboration. Under the right conditions, the Internet can be used for ultra-low-latency, uncompressed sound transmission. The course teaches open-source (free) techniques for setting up city-to-city studio-to-studio audio links. Distributed rehearsing, production and split ensemble concerts are the goal. Setting up such links and debugging them requires knowledge of network protocols, network audio issues and some ear training.


      Session 1: Overview
      Overview of Online Jamming and Concert Technology

      Session 2: Basics And Setup
      Basics: Network protocols, audio signals + soundcards and network audio.

      Session 3: Jacktrip Application + Connection
      Things that go wrong with Jacktrip: Network & Audio. P2P Sessions and Multi-site setups.

      Session 4: Debugging
      Debug examples of typical problems.

      Session 5: Polish And Practice
      Polish techniques and spawn more practice sessions.

      Session 6: Future
      Future of the art and practice of network audio, alternative platforms for network audio.


      Chris Chafe, Professor of Music and Director of CCRMA

        Chris Chafe is a composer, improviser, and cellist, developing much of his music alongside computer-based research. He is Director of Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). At IRCAM (Paris) and The Banff Centre (Alberta), he pursued methods for digital synthesis, music performance, and real-time internet collaboration. CCRMA's SoundWIRE project involves live concertizing with musicians the world over. Online collaboration software including jacktrip and research into latency factors continue to evolve. An active performer either on the net or physically present, his music reaches audiences in dozens of countries and sometimes at novel venues. A simultaneous five-country concert was hosted at the United Nations in 2009. Chafe's works are available from Centaur Records and various online media. Gallery and museum music installations are into their second decade with "musifications" resulting from collaborations with artists, scientists and MD's. Recent work includes the Brain Stethoscope project, PolarTide for the 2013 Venice Biennale, Tomato Quintet for the transLife:media Festival at the National Art Museum of China and Sun Shot played by the horns of large ships in the port of St. Johns, Newfoundland.


        Equipment: Computer (running Linux, OS X, or Windows) with installation privileges
        Software: JackTrip (plus Jack) and Audacity
        Wired Internet: at least 5Mbps download and upload

        Demand Creation: The Secrets of Driving Growth

        Friday, February 24, 2017

        Course Overview

        The company that has the most paying customers wins. But how do you get the word out, drive demand for your products and services, and generate sales? Today good marketing involves a clear strategy to reach the target audience, execute appropriate tactics, and measure results. In this course, you will master the fundamentals of outbound and inbound marketing and explore the myriad of options available in today’s world of traditional and social media. Learn how to apply your skills to create a robust and innovative marketing strategy for a new product or a new company.

        Learn How To

        • Combine traditional, social and mobile media to drive viral demand
          • Virality does not just happen, though it may look that way. It generally takes months or years of careful planning and experimentation. Learn how to use product design, outbound and inbound marketing to drive viral demand for a business-to-consumer product. Learn how marketing today requires a thorough understanding of the target market and a multitude of traditional, social and innovative marketing programs.
        • Leverage outbound demand generation
          • Outbound marketing is what most people think of when they think of marketing. It is the act of “:buying” a prospects attention or seeking them out. Learn how marketers provide air cover through effective PR and Buzz marketing as well as the basics of driving action that results in people buying something.
        • Tap inbound demand
          • Learn what inbound marketing is all about, how it got started, and what is fundamentally different from the more traditional world of outbound. Explore the new tools marketers now have in hand and are learning how to use every day.
        • Use core demand generation principles and guidelines
          • Create and use a messaging platform for optimal public relations and buzz marketing.



        Please contact us at 650.741.1630 or


        • $995 per online course
        • $75 one-time document fee 
        Demand Creation

        Design Your Future: Design Innovation for Global Teams

        Monday, April 3, 2017 to Friday, June 9, 2017

        Registration opens February 27th.


        In these times of rapid change, successful design innovation is distributed, global, and highly collaborative. This course provides you the mindset, solutions, and tools—along with cases and stories drawn from around the world—to build a team that can work across cultures to solve problems. We will focus on the ways that leading design innovators pull together partners, customers, and their own team members across the entire development process, from vision formation through the test and validation of new business opportunities. The course also notably draws on the time-tested methods and rich case history of “ME310: Product-Based Engineering Design, Innovation, and Development,” which has been offered at Stanford for more than fifty years. In ME310, students work across globally distributed teams, using a proven set of principles and tools, to help them move beyond traditional design thinking in order to deliver full-functioning, award-winning products and services.

        For part of the course, you will work in small groups to solve problems that major international organizations have posed to the ME310 course in previous years. In the development of solutions, you’ll learn techniques in global teamwork, creativity, and design. Through the combination of short videos, readings, demonstrations, field work, and open forums with faculty, plus personal feedback, you will gain fast practice in understanding design innovation in a globally distributed environment. 


        • Course sizes are limited.
          You won't have 5,000 classmates. This course's enrollment is capped at 45 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 is the second 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 will design 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.

        This course may not be taken for a Letter Grade.

        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.

        Larry Leifer, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford

        Larry Leifer is the founding director of the Center for Design Research at Stanford. He has been a member of the Stanford faculty since 1976, and he has taught the Stanford design innovation course ME310 for over 20 years. He received a PhD in biomedical engineering from Stanford.

        William Cockayne, Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering–Design, Stanford

        William Cockayne has led teams in incubation, research, product development, and manufacturing as an executive and an entrepreneur. He has shipped over twenty successful products at companies large (Eastman Kodak, Daimler, Apple) and small (Scout Electromedia, Handstand, Nota Reader). At Stanford, he teaches the award-winning “ME410: Foresight and Technological Innovation,” a mainstay of innovation teaching and research on campus. He received a PhD in mechanical engineering from Stanford.

        Textbooks for this course:

        No required textbooks

        DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)

        Design Your Future

        Cultivating an Entrepreneurial Mindset


        What are the key ingredients that drive success in entrepreneurial companies? How do entrepreneurs capitalize on new ideas and bring them to market? In this course, you will gain valuable insight into how entrepreneurs start companies and probe the unique mindset that often accompanies a successful venture. Through engaging lectures and hands-on projects, you will discover the best practices of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and venture capitalists and get to test and implement your own startup ideas.

        Learn how to:

        • Successfully position and sell your idea
          • Learn the primary reasons and benefits to creating a business plan and the key risks—technology, market, team and financial.
        • Think like a technology entrepreneur
          • Learn about the value of “staged financing” for both entrepreneurs and venture capitalists along with some essential formulas and information regarding venture finance.
        • Transfer technology ideas to market
          • Create and grow high-potential ventures using several strategy and entrepreneurship frameworks, including the concepts of disruptive innovations, business model canvas and lean startups.
        • Use the fundamentals of resource development, including talent and capital
          • Examine critical human resource issues for new ventures and the key actions that a founder or CEO should manage.


        • Tom Byers ProfessorManagement Science and Engineering



        Please contact


        • $995 per course
        • $75 one-time document fee
        Cultivating Mindset

        Prototyping: Fast and Frequent Testing of New Ideas


        Too often we think of prototypes as things we use to test an idea. But in d.thinking, we use the verb prototyping: building to think, acting almost before you are ready. In this session, your team will learn powerful tools with which you can bring your ideas to life. Perry and Jeremy will take you step-by-step through exercises that teach you how to implement a process of discovery for your projects. You and your team learn how to create a wide variety of low-resolution prototypes-from role playing activities to storyboards, from a wall of post-its to a gadget made of materials you can find at your desk.

        Why prototype?

        • To communicate, start a conversation with users
        • To fail quickly and cheaply
        • To test possibilities
        • To manage the solution-building process by breaking down a large problem into testable chunks

        If your team has taken the Ideation workshop, this Prototyping workshop will expand on the techniques you learned and help you test the ideas you generated.

        To Participate in this Workshop:

        Request info on the "Innovation at Work Workshop."

        Fee Applies.


        The Science of Willpower and Change

        Monday, January 23, 2017 to Friday, March 3, 2017

        Course Description:

        Physical health, emotional well-being, social relationships, and professional success all require the ability to regulate our thoughts, emotions, and actions. Advances in psychology, neuroscience, medicine, and mind-body research are beginning to paint a new picture of what willpower is, why it matters, and how to develop it. Is willpower in the mind or in the body? Is it possible to run out of willpower, and how do you build a bigger reserve? What motivates people to change? Why do we talk ourselves out of things we really want or need to do? How much control over our thoughts and feelings do we really have, and what are the healthiest ways to regulate them? This course will address those questions through lectures, readings, and discussions and will give students the opportunity to apply the ideas of the course toward making an important change or pursuing a major goal in their lives. 

        Enrollment: Fee Applies.

        Course Instructor

        Kelly McGonigal, Senior Teacher, Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE), Stanford

        Kelly McGonigal teaches for a wide range of programs at Stanford, including the School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Business. In collaboration with CCARE, she has conducted scientific research on the benefits of compassion training. She has received the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching at Stanford. She is the author of The Upside of Stress and The Willpower Instinct. McGonigal received a PhD in psychology from Stanford.

        Textbooks for this course:

        (Recommended) McGonigal, The Willpower Instinct (ISBN 978-1583334386)

        DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)

        Science of Willpower and Change


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