Montana State University

Founding member of Stanford’s design school to speak Sept. 18 at MSU

September 11, 2014 -- MSU News Service

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James Patell from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and Hasso Plattner Institute of Design will speak at Montana State University Thursday, Sept. 18, at 6:30 p.m. in room 233 of the Strand Union Building. The event, hosted by MSU’s Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship, is free and open to the public. 

Patell will discuss “Building to Learn: How Design Thinking Can Help Bring Change.” The talk is expected to highlight lessons Patell has learned from creating and teaching design thinking courses for developing products and services for the world’s poor. In particular, it will address how Stanford students and entrepreneurs have developed low-cost and innovative ways to address issues ranging from crop irrigation in Myanmar and India to reducing infant mortality from low-birth weight, jaundice, asthma and pneumonia to income-generating and sustainable flooring solutions in Rwanda. 

Patell is Herbert Hoover Professor of Public and Private Management at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and one of the seven founding core faculty of Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, often referred to as the d-School. Within the d-School, he co-teaches a course on entrepreneurial design for extreme affordability. As part of the course, students from across disciplines collaboratively design product prototypes, distribution systems and business plans for entrepreneurial ventures that address poverty in developing countries. The course has been featured on CNN as well as in a documentary, “Extreme by Design,” that aired on PBS. 

Patell is also a director of D-Rev, a nonprofit technology incubator whose mission is to improve the health and incomes of people living on less than $4 per day. In addition, he has served as director of Reliant Building Products, Inc., Grove Worldwide, and the Center for the Quality of Management-West. He has also served as an adviser to the Corporate Design Foundation and to Vykor, Inc., and he was a founding director of Ignite Innovations and of the Management Institute for Environment and Business. From 1986-1988, he served as director of Stanford’s MBA program. He has also served as co-director of the Product Realization Network, a cooperative research and educational program involving the business and engineering school and industrial partners.

“We’re thrilled to have Dr. Patell in Bozeman and for the chance for students and the community to learn more on how design thinking and entrepreneurship can help solve problems in tough situations around the globe,” said Kregg Aytes, dean of the Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship. “This is a rare opportunity for our campus and community to see how real change can happen when creativity and innovation is applied to those in need.” 

Interested entrepreneurs, nonprofit staff members, faculty and students are encouraged to attend the event. More information is available at

Contact: Audrey Capp, (406) 994-7026 or