Just a Little More About Us

How we can help you and why it’s important to us

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Meet Dawan Stanford

My mission is helping people solve problems demanding new ways to get results. The rewards are often hidden in uncharted territory where the rules of the game are fluid. This is where the big questions lie.

I’ve learned that I like big questions. Why?

Big questions build lasting value, transform lives, and allow us to have a lot of fun along the way. Throughout my career, I’ve helped leaders and teams tackle big questions to deliver large and small projects addressing challenges


For ed-tech leaders and the Department of Education at the White House


For business leaders at the Milken Global Conference


For senior education leaders at the Academy for Innovation in Higher Education


For people needing coaching through innovation challenges

Over 10 years ago, I founded Fluid Hive to apply design-driven innovation to big questions and help people and organizations learn and make the methods and practices their own. My passion is in supporting companies like yours with innovation problems, opportunities and challenges. As Fluid Hive’s President, I’m asking my big question:

How might we build better ways to learn, practice and apply design-driven innovation to generate the outcomes we desire?

My big question shapes my ongoing work at Elon University, where I founded and continue to develop a university-wide design thinking initiative. It fuels my conversations as the host of the Design Thinking 101 Podcast and guides how I teach and create learning experiences as the Design Studio Director at Georgetown University’s Master of Arts in Learning, Design, and Technology.

How might my big question help you find and respond to yours? 

Fluid Hive Design Stories

White House Convening on Innovation in Higher Education

Challenge — How might we create a day-long White House Convening where over 40 education innovation leaders from around the country and inside the U.S. Department of Education create new possibilities for education innovation? 

Solution — As the Design Director at the Education Design Lab, I led developing and facilitating a unique White House Convening experience where attendees worked in large and small groups to create simple models and representations of their ideas on posters and templates. By forcing participants to go beyond talking and start making, we were able to hold a deeper, richer conversation.

Impact — The participants generated new ways the government might support and develop online skills opportunities and scalable pathways to high-quality, low-cost credentials. 

Helping Senior Leaders Lead By Design

Challenge — How might we create a way for senior leaders to weave design thinking into producing better outcomes for the people they serve?

Solution — At the Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership, I taught senior university leaders how to apply design thinking and service design leadership and strategic challenges. Academy participants learned by applying a design process and methods to familiar challenges and seeing the improved results for themselves.

Impact — Georgetown and Arizona State University launched the academy to develop higher education leaders who can deliver what future students need. The design thinking curriculum, helped Academy become better able to see innovation moves that matter, lead teams using design-driven innovation methods, and apply what they learned to getting better outcomes for students.  

Transforming a University with Design Thinking

Challenge — How might we create a university-wide design thinking program serving all students, faculty and staff?

Solution — Elon University asked me to launch Elon By Design: a university-wide design thinking program. Design research and creating with stakeholders generated the basis for a new approach to design thinking tailored to Elon’s history, strategy, students, staff, and faculty. This new approach guided developing the workshops, events, grants, classroom experiences, leadership training, convenings, and projects that continue to deliver the best of design thinking to Elon students, faculty and staff.

Impact — Hundreds of people have learned about design thinking. University leaders are bringing design thinking into strategic planning and action. Faculty are bringing design thinking into classes and degree programs. In short, design thinking is becoming part of learning, teaching and serving at Elon.


Using Design Thinking to Protect Vulnerable Older People

Challenge — How might we bring leaders together from across the United States to help the White House protect our most vulnerable older people?

Solution — We needed to deliver ways to support older Americans on topics the technological divide to older workers who can’t retire. These outputs needed to be packaged to influence the White House Conference on Aging. We created a 2-day event where over 50 leaders in aging traveled to Washington DC to participate in a facilitated, hands-on event — the Forum on Aging, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Impact — We guided Forum participants through individual and team exercises designed to generate and prioritize actionable advice for the White House. We visually mapped the short- and long-term actions that would protect older Americans and who is well-placed to take those actions. The Forum report influenced policy choices and amplified the voices of millions of older Americans.

Learn and achieve with us.

You’ll love the outcomes and enjoy the journey!