Barbara Karanian

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Contact Information

  • School of Engineering
    Mechanical Engineering Design Group
    Bldg. 550, Room 157
    Stanford, CA 94305-2206


Barbara A. Karanian, Ph.D., is the founder of The Design Entrepreneuring Studio, and a Lecturer/previously visiting Professor, in Stanford University’s School of Engineering, in the Department of Mechanical Engineering Design Group. She is the author of, “Working Connection: The Relational Art of Leadership;” and “Entrepreneurial Leadership: A Balancing Act in Engineering and Science. Co-authored papers with graduate students include: “Tell/Make/Engage-Actions for Innovation,” “Designing for Social Participation in the Virtual Universe;” and “The Power of First Moments in Entrepreneurial Storytelling.”

Barbara helps teams discover yet-to-be satisfied customer needs by using and teaching validated applied psychology, leadership, and design thinking methods, that she has developed and refined over the past few decades. In addition to helping teams in industry uncover this information, the teams she has worked with eventually can say that they have ownership of an easily deployable took kit that they can use again and again on future projects. She also teaches some of these methods to graduate students from diverse backgrounds in ME 378 Tell/Make/Engage - action stories for entrepreneuring and ME 236 Tales to Design Cars By. Factors of imagination, motivation, perception, cognition, social dynamics, and mood are considered with an active storytelling and self reflective observation focus. Students learn to define story and narrative in many different ways: to make sense of their personal, research, and project experiences; to replay memories; to examine the tangibles and intangibles of engagement; to understand user interviews; to inspire insights through another person's point of view; and to start a new creation. Barbara likes to paint pictures.

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