Creating Infectious Action, ME 228 + MSE 288
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Teaching Team

Michael Dearing Michael Dearing
Course Instructor
Associate Consulting Professor, Stanford University

Michael has spent more than six years at eBay. While there, he has led the development of many of the features and services of the site including Buy It Now, eBay Stores, ProStores, and Want It Now. He also designed and built the company's first onsite, direct, and product marketing teams to leverage the world's largest database of online consumer activity. Most recently, Michael was SVP & General Merchandise Manager of eBay North America, responsible for more than $1.7 bil in annual revenues and nearly $20 bil in gross merchandise sales across thousands of merchandise categories.

Prior to eBay, Michael held leadership positions at Industrial Shoe Warehouse, The Walt Disney Company and Bain & Co. He graduated from Brown University, where he earned an AB in Economics, and from the Harvard Business School, where he earned an MBA with Distinction. When he's not working, Michael likes to spend time with his dogs, Graycie and Clifford, to paint and to write.

michael dot dearing at gmail dot com

Debra Dunn Debra Dunn
Course Instructor
Associate Consulting Professor, Stanford University

Debra left HP in June of 2005 after 22 years to catch her breath and then increase her focus on the challenges of economic development, poverty alleviation, environmental and social sustainability and the bridge building between sectors that is necessary to tackle them.

For the last 3 years of her career at HP Debra was Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Global Citizenship. In that role she had leadership responsibility for HP’s global citizenship efforts. These include corporate social and environmental responsibility, government and public affairs, corporate philanthropy and HP initiatives aimed at providing appropriate, technology based services and solutions to emerging markets and underserved populations.  Through the efforts of Debra’s team, HP received widespread recognition and numerous awards globally for leadership in Global Corporate Citizenship.

Previously, as vice president of strategy and corporate operations, Dunn was responsible for corporate-wide functions, including corporate strategy, corporate development, corporate communications and brand management, corporate philanthropy and government affairs.

Dunn was elected an HP vice president in November 1999. She was named general manager of HP’s executive committee in 1998 and led the Agilent spin off process as well as HP’s new business creation function. Dunn was named general manager of HP’s Video Communication Division in 1996 after assuming the role of marketing manager in 1993 and manufacturing manager in 1992.

Between 1986 and 1992, she held a wide range of development and manufacturing management positions. Dunn joined HP in 1983 as an executive development manager in the Corporate Training division in Palo Alto, California.

Dunn holds a bachelor’s degree in comparative economics from Brown University in Providence, R.I., and a master’s degree in business from Harvard School of Business in Cambridge, Mass.

She serves on the Board of the Skoll Foundation.

dunn dot debra at gmail dot com

Perry Klebahn   Perry Klebahn
Industry Coach

Perry is an entrepreneur to the core. He received his Masters from Stanford in the Product Design program in 1991 and has taught there periodically since 1996. Perry left Stanford with his master’s thesis in hand; a single high performance snowshoe, yes ‘snowshoe’. Perry was hell bent on starting his own business and left Stanford with the expectation that the world would beat a path to his door to get his modern snowshoe. That didn’t happen, at least not right away. Perry had new product idea, without an established market, requiring him to build an entire sport around snowshoeing. This experience engaged disciplines well beyond engineering. Perry ultimately built his master project into a business, Atlas Snowshoe Company that still manufactures and markets the best snowshoes in the category it created. Through this experience he learned two things: you can’t do anything significant on your own, you need a team; and engineering something is not nearly as much fun as marketing what you have engineered.

In 2000, Perry decided it was time for a change. He sold his snowshoe business and moved to Southern California to run Sales and Marketing for Patagonia, an outdoor clothing brand. There, Perry got a chance to market on an entirely new scale globally. The challenge of balancing the need to drive sales while building a brand with very important commitments and a sustainability message which Patagonia has radiated since its’ inception was exhilarating. The trick, if there is one, is to stay close to the customer, understand the enthusiast and their experience, while staying aligned with the company’s commitments to build a message that resonates between the two. Perry believes marketing is as important a discipline as engineering. Communicating a great message is a noble challenge.

Perry comes to the with a keen focus on implementing the learning. (Perry can regularly be heard telling students in the classes that he has taught, “Get out there where the answers are.”) A rule he has for one of the product design project class he teaches is that any student who gets a legitimate purchase order for their product aces the class. The classroom is not reality, and to implement you need to get real. Perry measures his success in these classes by the number of projects that get to market. The offers the opportunity to coordinate the full range of disciplines needed to approach any opportunity, and to go for it. When not at work on the next thing, Perry can usually be found away from land in the ocean surfing the waves at Ocean Beach, or swimming in the Bay.

perryk at stanford dot edu

Diego Rodriguez
Diego Rodriguez
Course Instructor
Associate Consulting Professor, Stanford University

Diego has led the conceptualization, design, and implementation of a broad array of innovative services, products, and ventures. From doing R&D at HP to pioneering web-based tools at Intuit to forging new links between design and business at IDEO, he has worked across multiple industries to bring market-pacing offerings to life. His work has been recognized with awards for excellence in design, and he holds several patents.

Diego is also a Consulting Associate Professor at Stanford's Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (a.k.a the ""), where he teaches graduate classes on design process and business prototyping. He sits on the school's strategy board. He and Bob have been working on the Creating Infectious Action, Kindling Gregarious Behavior course for almost a year now, so he¹s really happy to see it lifting off.

He has an MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business School. He did his undergraduate studies at Stanford, earning bachelor's degrees in engineering and humanities.

Diego is an influential voice in the world of innovation. He writes a column for BusinessWeek Online, and Fast Company calls his blog Metacool "... a must-read for anyone who wants to incorporate design thinking into their work."

diegor at stanford dot edu


Bob Sutton Bob Sutton
Guest Course Instructor
Professor, Stanford University

Bob Sutton is a Stanford Engineering School Professor who is trained as an organizational psychologist. Bob is happiest when he is helping to start something new or at the edge of something old. Bob loves the Stanford Engineering School (at least most of the time) because it is so easy to start new things. The Engineering School helped Steve Barley and Bob Sutton start the Center for Work, Technology and Organizations in 1996, where researchers use behavioral science methods to study everything from what engineers do to distributed teams to high-end contract workers. The Engineering School was just as supportive about launching the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. Bob helped hire Professor STVP's primary founder Tom Byers, co-taught with the first Mayfield Fellows Program with Tom, and served as STVP's first Research Director. He continues to be actively involved in both WTO and STVP, although he has moved to the edge of each of these spirited and successful groups.

Bob's work weaves the rigors of academic research with the realities of running a business. Bob struggles to bring together these worlds in classes he teaches to students and executives, companies he studies and works with, and his books and articles. He fails a lot along the way, but sees progress too. Bob's books include Weird Ideas That Work and The Knowing-Doing Gap (co-authored with Jeff Pfeffer). Bob and Jeff are currently finishing a book on the truths and lies that managers are told about how to run a company (and how they can tell the difference between truths, lies, and half-truths), which will be published by the Harvard Business School Press in 2005. Bob has strong opinions, even if they aren't especially consistent. The thing that he believes most strongly - and most consistently - is that life is too short to spend time with pompous jerks. Bob strives to work and hang out in places where "no asshole rules" are enforced. You can read about this rule in the Harvard Business Review, where, to Bob's amazement, this proper magazine published his uncensored essay in January 2004.

bobsut at stanford dot edu


Brian Witlin   Brian Witlin
Industry Coach

Brian Witlin eats, sleeps, and breathes innovation. He loves to spread his "can-do" enthusiasm at the through executive education programs and student coaching. As founder of many startup ventures, Brian tries to bring his real world experiences as an entrepreneur to the classroom.

Since graduating from Stanford with a Master of Science in Engineering and Design, Brian has focused on new product innovation and disruptive design thinking through his co-founded company RootPhi, Llc. Averaging a new patent filed every one to two months, RootPhi, has developed a range of products including: new sustainable materials, sports equipment, office products, and several others. Brian's company has collaborated with other product firms, licensed product ideas, and is currently working on launching a whole new product category that will revolutionize footwear.

Before co-founding RootPhi, LLC, Brian founded and ran operations at an internet startup Leverworks which he sold two years after its inception to Leo Media (now Quasar Strategies).

Brian, a Chicago native, enjoys the mild winters and intellectually stimulating atmosphere that Silicon Valley has provided for him. Brian is a classically trained artist/draftsman with a BS. in Business and Economics from Lehigh University . He draws upon his diverse background, in particular his Stanford design and engineering training, to continually innovate with an eye on the commercial and social value of what he creates.

bwitlin at rootphi dot com


Kris Woyzbun Kris Woyzbun
Course Assistant
MS Engineering Candidate - Product Design

Hailing from Toronto, Canada, Kris came to Stanford to not only enjoy the warmer weather of Northern California, but to take her Masters in the Product Design program.

After spending most of her life in the suburbs of Toronto, Kris left for Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she went on to get her B.Eng in Bioengineering - robotics and machine design. At the same time, she continued competing in Track & Field for Dalhousie University where she juggled varsity training with long engineering problem sets. This experience proved to be well worth it for Kris, because she not only competed successfully for her team, but also learned how to be a great multi tasker.

Even though Kris enjoyed solving problems, she missed working with creative people. She went on to the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto working on a project for a new area titled "Weston Family Innovation Centre". The mission of this area was to promote creativity and innovation to teens and young adults. Kris worked with a small team of great people to develop experiences, the spaces, and content. The Weston Family Innovation Centre opened in July 2006.

Kris is also a veteran student. She has taken most of the courses offered, and has loved every experience. She enjoys working with a multi disciplinary group of people to solve big problems. She is thrilled to be working as a Course Assistant at the because it gives her a new point of view on what it takes to be successful on a project. Also, everyone at the is a lot of fun. The experiences she has had with the are some of her most memorable at Stanford. She looks forward to moving forward in her career as a better innovator and design thinker.

kwoyzbun at gmail dot com