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Make Possibilities Happen

How to Transform Ideas into Reality

Designed by Celia Leung
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Scheme the impossible! Turn your vision into reality! Transform what if into what’s next! Discover how to make your ideas work for you with this transformative guide from Stanford University’s d.school.

“An operator’s manual to design thinking.”—John Maeda, Vice President of Design and Artificial Intelligence at Microsoft

Possibility is the ability to see something in your imagination and materialize it in real life. You already possess (almost) everything you need to make things happen—Make Possibilities Happen helps you find your way.

Discover tools and strategies for overcoming the hang-ups that prevent you from getting things done or even starting. Learn exercises for building the creative capacity of your brain. Explore ways to build on the momentum of your work so that you can keep going. Award-winning author Grace Hawthorne shares insights, ideas, and activities from the Stanford University d.school courses she teaches, as well as scientific research and entrepreneurial escapades to get you thinking productively toward making possibilities a reality.

It’s hard to begin, uncomfortable to not know, natural to question yourself, easy to be impatient, and challenging to swallow setbacks. This book addresses all of these hurdles and walks you through four main stages of turning your idea into reality: SEE (imagine what’s to come), START (just begin, this is everything), DO (show up and work), and FINISH (follow through).

You can positively alter your life—and other people’s lives—by making the inklings of your imagination real. All you need to do is pick up this book and START.
© Patrick Beaudouin
The Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, known as the d.school, was founded at Stanford University in 2005. Each year, more than a thousand students from all disciplines attend classes, workshops, and programs to learn how the thinking behind design can enrich their own work and unlock their creative potential. View titles by Stanford d.school
This is an Operator's Manual for You and Your Wits

It is your personal guide to making sh*t happen—whatever that means for you—whether you are deep in the weeds or at square one. And we all know that, while it’s really hard work, even little adjustments can completely change the velocity and trajectory of your work. This book is a blueprint for doing and mobilizing all of yourself; it will show you how working with the right tools, looking through new lenses, and cultivating a resourceful spirit will help you get it all done. Because without these things, you won’t survive the difficult moments—and trust me, there will be many. Making things happen, even while in the midst of chaos, is possibility personified. Linking ideas to action is the miraculous process of transforming a thought into reality, reminding us that our work can design a better tomorrow not only for ourselves but for others too. Take your creativity seriously! Any work that you put out there does change the world in some way. Think of this book as a workshop open house, where the tools and processes are on full display for you to borrow and enlist in service of your creations and contributions to the world.

Creativity is at the crux of our humanity. It’s enabled us, as human beings, to not only survive, but flourish!

Creativity is embodied in that awe-inspiring architectural wonder and in that exquisite bite of pasta, both of which stir us in indescribable ways. Creativity is intrinsic to that rocket launch or perfect sports play that make our hearts leap out of our chests and make our butts bound out of our chairs. Creativity fuels the innovation that helps educators teach children in the most difficult circumstances as well as the gadget that enables grandmas to connect with their families from afar. All creative outcomes—large or small, tangible or intangible—were all, once upon a time, just a possibility.

I have immersed myself in the study and practice of creativity and innovation over thirty years of making things and more than twelve years teaching design methodologies at Stanford’s d.school, all the while shaping scientific research on creative capacity building and bringing new products to market. Through this work there is one thing I know for certain: we are all creative. We already possess (almost) everything we need to make things happen. Please know, I’m not an ordained high priestess of creativity bestowing upon you the secret book on possibilities from on high. We are all human, merely being. I am writing this book because I have dedicated my life to enabling and inspiring people to be creative, to helping others discover and release their inner genie-in-a-bottle through art-meets-commerce endeavors. A book that breaks down the nuances of how to materialize your own best ideas and efforts is another way to do just that.

Educator Guide for Make Possibilities Happen

Classroom-based guides appropriate for schools and colleges provide pre-reading and classroom activities, discussion questions connected to the curriculum, further reading, and resources.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)

“Hawthorne lays out an operator’s manual to design thinking instead of the regular ‘creativity’ blah blah. She aptly frames the fact that organizations and individuals work at different speeds—and first gear definitely isn’t the only mode for everyone or every task. Make Possibilities Happen is the ten speed bicycle workout for the mind that humanity needs right now.”—John Maeda, Vice President of Design and Artificial Intelligence at Microsoft

“Buy this book. Read it. Do the exercises. What you’ll learn will pay you back a hundred-fold.”—Stefan Sagmeister, designer

Make Possibilities Happen is the boost your brain needs to transform your thoughts into action. The ideas and hacks in this book will help you sidestep invisible landmines and move from creation to completion with ease. It will be a helpful asset for anyone trying to bring new possibilities to life.”—David Kelley, founder, IDEO and the Stanford d.school
 
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About

Scheme the impossible! Turn your vision into reality! Transform what if into what’s next! Discover how to make your ideas work for you with this transformative guide from Stanford University’s d.school.

“An operator’s manual to design thinking.”—John Maeda, Vice President of Design and Artificial Intelligence at Microsoft

Possibility is the ability to see something in your imagination and materialize it in real life. You already possess (almost) everything you need to make things happen—Make Possibilities Happen helps you find your way.

Discover tools and strategies for overcoming the hang-ups that prevent you from getting things done or even starting. Learn exercises for building the creative capacity of your brain. Explore ways to build on the momentum of your work so that you can keep going. Award-winning author Grace Hawthorne shares insights, ideas, and activities from the Stanford University d.school courses she teaches, as well as scientific research and entrepreneurial escapades to get you thinking productively toward making possibilities a reality.

It’s hard to begin, uncomfortable to not know, natural to question yourself, easy to be impatient, and challenging to swallow setbacks. This book addresses all of these hurdles and walks you through four main stages of turning your idea into reality: SEE (imagine what’s to come), START (just begin, this is everything), DO (show up and work), and FINISH (follow through).

You can positively alter your life—and other people’s lives—by making the inklings of your imagination real. All you need to do is pick up this book and START.

Author

© Patrick Beaudouin
The Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, known as the d.school, was founded at Stanford University in 2005. Each year, more than a thousand students from all disciplines attend classes, workshops, and programs to learn how the thinking behind design can enrich their own work and unlock their creative potential. View titles by Stanford d.school

Excerpt

This is an Operator's Manual for You and Your Wits

It is your personal guide to making sh*t happen—whatever that means for you—whether you are deep in the weeds or at square one. And we all know that, while it’s really hard work, even little adjustments can completely change the velocity and trajectory of your work. This book is a blueprint for doing and mobilizing all of yourself; it will show you how working with the right tools, looking through new lenses, and cultivating a resourceful spirit will help you get it all done. Because without these things, you won’t survive the difficult moments—and trust me, there will be many. Making things happen, even while in the midst of chaos, is possibility personified. Linking ideas to action is the miraculous process of transforming a thought into reality, reminding us that our work can design a better tomorrow not only for ourselves but for others too. Take your creativity seriously! Any work that you put out there does change the world in some way. Think of this book as a workshop open house, where the tools and processes are on full display for you to borrow and enlist in service of your creations and contributions to the world.

Creativity is at the crux of our humanity. It’s enabled us, as human beings, to not only survive, but flourish!

Creativity is embodied in that awe-inspiring architectural wonder and in that exquisite bite of pasta, both of which stir us in indescribable ways. Creativity is intrinsic to that rocket launch or perfect sports play that make our hearts leap out of our chests and make our butts bound out of our chairs. Creativity fuels the innovation that helps educators teach children in the most difficult circumstances as well as the gadget that enables grandmas to connect with their families from afar. All creative outcomes—large or small, tangible or intangible—were all, once upon a time, just a possibility.

I have immersed myself in the study and practice of creativity and innovation over thirty years of making things and more than twelve years teaching design methodologies at Stanford’s d.school, all the while shaping scientific research on creative capacity building and bringing new products to market. Through this work there is one thing I know for certain: we are all creative. We already possess (almost) everything we need to make things happen. Please know, I’m not an ordained high priestess of creativity bestowing upon you the secret book on possibilities from on high. We are all human, merely being. I am writing this book because I have dedicated my life to enabling and inspiring people to be creative, to helping others discover and release their inner genie-in-a-bottle through art-meets-commerce endeavors. A book that breaks down the nuances of how to materialize your own best ideas and efforts is another way to do just that.

Guides

Educator Guide for Make Possibilities Happen

Classroom-based guides appropriate for schools and colleges provide pre-reading and classroom activities, discussion questions connected to the curriculum, further reading, and resources.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)

Praise

“Hawthorne lays out an operator’s manual to design thinking instead of the regular ‘creativity’ blah blah. She aptly frames the fact that organizations and individuals work at different speeds—and first gear definitely isn’t the only mode for everyone or every task. Make Possibilities Happen is the ten speed bicycle workout for the mind that humanity needs right now.”—John Maeda, Vice President of Design and Artificial Intelligence at Microsoft

“Buy this book. Read it. Do the exercises. What you’ll learn will pay you back a hundred-fold.”—Stefan Sagmeister, designer

Make Possibilities Happen is the boost your brain needs to transform your thoughts into action. The ideas and hacks in this book will help you sidestep invisible landmines and move from creation to completion with ease. It will be a helpful asset for anyone trying to bring new possibilities to life.”—David Kelley, founder, IDEO and the Stanford d.school
 

Photos

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