The core ideas in the Designing Your Life class and the other Stanford classes are eight years in the making. It all started when Dave Evans asked Bill Burnett to lunch to pitch him an idea about a class to help his product design students “find jobs.” Dave hypothesized that these students, being in a very multidisciplinary and unique major, might have more trouble than most finding their first job. Dave describes the meeting this way, “I thought this was going to be a multipart discussion and that I’d have to have a couple of meetings to sell Bill on this idea. Within 15 minutes, I had the deal done!” Bill’s version is simpler, “Dave hit on need that I’d been working on for 15 years in office hours, one student at a time. When Dave suggested teaching a class together I jumped at the chance to work with him.”
After years of drawing cars and airplanes under his Grandmother’s sewing machine, Bill Burnett went off to Stanford University and discovered, much to his surprise, that there were people in the world who did this kind of thing everyday (without the sewing machine) and they were called designers. Forty-five years, five companies, and a couple of thousand students later Bill is still drawing and building things, teaching others how to do the same, and quietly enjoying the fact that no one has discovered that he is having too much fun.
Bill Burnett is also an Adjunct Professor and the Executive Director of the Life Design Lab at Stanford. He received his Bachelors of Science and Masters of Science in Product Design at Stanford and has worked in start-ups and Fortune 100 companies, including seven years at Apple designing award-winning laptops and a number of years in the toy industry designing Star Wars action toys. He holds a number of mechanical and design patents and design awards, and, in addition to his duties at Stanford and the Institute, he advises several of his students’ startup companies.
Mark is a design thinking and experience design pioneer in Singapore who believes that good design can change the world, and that creativity is the key to Singapore’s future. He passionately believes that everyone should be able to design a meaningful and purposeful life, and that a design mindset is the key.
Mark was previously the Executive Director of the Design Singapore Council from 2018-2022, where he led the Council in driving and implementing national policies on design to make Singapore an innovation-driven economy and a more loveable city. Since leaving public service, Mark has redesigning his own life into an exciting portfolio career.
Also an award winning architect and a practicing artist, Mark illustrates his view of the world around him in his own colorful and childlike style, and also still selectively practices under his firm ANNEX A. Prints of his artworks can be purchased at the National Gallery Store, and his work can also be enjoyed on his website www.markwee.sg and Instagram at @markwee