In 1958, 4 months after Sputnik launched and President Eisenhower created NASA, a Stanford engineering professor named John Arnold proposed that design engineering should be human-centered.
This was a strange thing for Arnold to introduce. This was an era in which engineers were largely focused on twin Cold War driven goals: the space race and the optimization of the hydrogen bomb.
Inspired by Arnold’s work, engineering professor Bob McKim, with the help of art professor Matt Kahn, created an engineering program called Product Design. Within this program, McKim and others helped create a design thinking process that became the foundation for Stanford’s d.school, as well as the guiding framework for design-driven companies like IDEO.
Just as the space race resulted in the invention of Velcro and satellite communications, design thinking plays a large role in how we interact with computers (the mouse and notebook), how we deliver our healthcare, and how we do our banking now and in the future.