Consulting, outreach, talks

Projects in design foresight – [Link]

The archaeological imagination in human centered design – informing creative and collaborative approaches to real-world challenges and matters of common and pressing human concern.

  • Understanding how change and innovation works.
  • Deep insights into the complexity of social and cultural life.
  • Building a big picture on design, how people make and consume things.
  • Long-term big-picture perspectives on contemporary challenges such as climate change, globalization, displacement and migration.

With this foundation and outlook, over the last few years I have found myself offering workshops, bootcamps, and talks for businesses, non-profit organizations, schools and universities, and for local and national government agencies in the following areas:

Innovation Culture and change management – How to manage change in complex and unstable circumstances. How to identify and develop mindsets, techniques and skills for teams that work through innovation.

Design Thinking – Understanding design and creativity. How to deliver innovative solutions to complex messy challenges. How to design human-centered products, services, experiences.

Strategic Foresight and Scenario Planning – Using hindsight to model the future. How to be flexible, agile, ready for what the future holds.

The research base for this kind of professional connection is Stanford Foresight and Innovation – a focus for my connections with the Design Group at Stanford, and since 2015 Larry Leifer’s Center for Design Research, part of Stanford’s

Some highlights

  • Nissan Motor Corporation – scenarios for 2050
  • Nihon Unisys – Digital Commons
  • Futures Literacy – decolonizing the future [Link]
  • SAP 2015 – 2021 – Next-Generation design thinking [Link]
  • Rotterdam International Advisory Board 2008 – 2017 – planning the future of the city and port.
  • Historic Vehicle Association of America 2015 – 2017 – promoting automotive heritage.
  • Chrysler Concept Car 2009 – modeling the future of the automobile.

Innovation workshop – Port Authority Rotterdam, October 2019. With Janne Vereijken, Spring Company.

Opening NHL Stenden, University of Applied Arts, January 2018.

Design thinking – for R’damse Nieuwe – young entrepreneurs in the Netherlands.


Some feedback on courses (in Stanford Continuing Studies) about design thinking and innovation:

“Astonishingly well put together lectures, funny, articulate, wise.”

“Shanks is awesome. He needs his own show in TV or something. Major charisma and personality. Brilliant guy!”

“Amazing instructor with extraordinary knowledge and expertise! Incredible!”

“Professor Shanks’ lectures were thought-provoking, taking Design into a level normally not found in textbooks. His humorous style and well-rehearsed lectures matched well with his slide show. Although unconventional, this class taught me never to take design for granted again.”

“Brilliant! We never knew where he was going to go with a discussion. We thought in new ways. Do whatever you can to keep him around! One of the best of the Continuing Studies teachers/courses I’ve taken (approx. 15). Stimulating! Fascinating! Intriguing! Clever! Dramatic!”

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