What is Life Design?

Life Design was originally introduced by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans at Stanford University’s d.school. It became widespread with the publication of their book, ‘Designing Your Life‘.

You can use design thinking to create a life that is meaningful, joyful, and fulfilling. It doesn’t matter who you are or were – you can use the same thinking that created the most amazing technology, products, and spaces to design your career and your life.

Life Design harnesses design thinking methods to tackle key questions and major decisions surrounding key facets of a person’s life including education, career, and overall life’s ambitions and purpose.

When you see pictures of the life design process (like the one above), it’s often presented in a linear form. However, the founders of life design, as well as design thinkers, know that the stages can be done ‘out of order’.
Photo Credit: Distributed by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans under the Creative Commons License

Not only have individuals adopted life design, but also organizations. For example, my current organization has adopted Life Design to help students navigate their collegiate experience and post-graduate plans.

My colleagues and I have varying official positions in our organization, but most of us consider ourselves Life Design Educators.

So what do Life Design Educators do?

As Life Design Educators, our goal is to provide opportunities that will help students experience curricular and co-curricular learning, reflect on intersections of their skills and interests, and make informed steps toward their desired career field.

We do this in a variety of ways, such as workshops, career-related programming, and building alumni connections.

Also, in helping students design their own lives, Life Design Educators in my organization have the freedom and flexibility to shape their role and spend some of their time taking on projects that are meaningful to them. In my case, I enjoy research and I continue to lead and publish interdisciplinary archaeological pursuits.