Dave Evans View Profile

Adjunct Lecturer, Product Design Program at Stanford University & Co-founder of Electronic Arts

10 years ago, Dave Evans and partner Bill Burnett founded the Stanford Life Design Lab.

“We teach designing your life, designing your Stanford, designing the professional – we teach everybody. We teach about 15-20 per cent of all the students at Stanford,” he said.

“Now, these are smart people. What do they need to take this class for?”

Evans and Burnett went to a career fair to find out – and they discovered that most of these smart, cohort-leading young professionals simply had no real idea of what they wanted their lives to look like.

“Smart does not mean clear. Well-educated does not mean focused or well-intentioned. So we formed the Life Design mission, and our mission is to apply the innovation principles of design thinking to the wicked problem of designing your life,” he said.

From saving the seals to solving the energy crisis, from imagining the first computer mice to redefining software — Evans has been on a mission, including helping others to find theirs. Starting at Stanford with dreams of following Jacques Cousteau as a marine biologist, Dave realized (a bit late) that he was lousy at it and shifted to mechanical engineering with an eye on the energy problem.

After four years in alternative energy, it was clear that this idea’s time hadn’t come yet. So while en route to biomedical engineering, Dave accepted an invitation to work for Apple, where he led product marketing for the mouse team and introduced laser printing to the masses. When Dave’s boss at Apple left to start Electronic Arts, Dave joined as the company’s first VP of Talent, dedicated to making “software worthy of the minds that use it.”

Having participated in forming the corporate cultures at Apple and EA, Dave decided his best work was in helping organizations build creative environments where people could do great work and love doing it. So he went out on his own; working with start-up teams, corporate executives, non-profit leaders, and countless young adults. They were all asking the same question. “What should I do with my life?” Helping people get traction on that question finally took Dave to Cal and Stanford and continues to be his life’s work.

Dave holds a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford and a graduate diploma in Contemplative Spirituality from San Francisco Theological Seminary.

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