David Kelley's work is dedicated to helping people gain confidence in their creative abilities. He employs a project based methodology called Design Thinking within both the Product Design Program and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design.

Design Thinking is based on building empathy for user needs, developing solutions with iterative prototyping, and inspiring ideas for the future through storytelling.

The Product Design program emphasizes the blending of engineering innovation, human values, and manufacturing concerns into a single curriculum. Kelley teaches engineering design methodology, the techniques of quick prototyping to prove feasibility, and design through understanding of user needs.

Academic Appointments

Honors & Awards

  • Chrysler Design Award, Chrysler (2000)
  • National Design Award, Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Museum (2001)
  • Sir Misha Black Medal, Royal College of Art (2005)
  • Edison Award, Edison Electric Institute (2009)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Member, National Academy of Engineering (2000 - Present)

Professional Education

  • MS, Stanford University, Product Design (1978)
  • BS, Carnegie-Mellon University, Electrical Engineering (1973)

2023-24 Courses

Stanford Advisees

All Publications

  • Reclaim Your Creative Confidence HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW Kelley, T., Kelley, D. 2012; 90 (12): 115-?


    Most people are born creative. But over time, a lot of us learn to stifle those impulses. We become warier of judgment, more cautious more analytical. The world seems to divide into "creatives" and "noncreatives," and too many people resign themselves to the latter category. And yet we know that creativity is essential to success in any discipline or industry. The good news, according to authors Tom Kelley and David Kelley of IDEO, is that we all can rediscover our creative confidence. The trick is to overcome the four big fears that hold most of us back: fear of the messy unknown, fear of judgment, fear of the first step, and fear of losing control. The authors use an approach based on the work of psychologist Albert Bandura in helping patients get over their snake phobias: You break challenges down into small steps and then build confidence by succeeding on one after another. Creativity is something you practice, say the authors, not just a talent you are born with.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000311592400045

    View details for PubMedID 23227579