Chris Flink

Academic Area: 

Teaching Statement

Chris Flink is a partner at IDEO, a Lecturer in Marketing at the Graduate School of Business, and a Consulting Associate Professor at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design ("") which he helped establish at Stanford. He has served on the's Strategy Board and leadership team since its inception, and has taught courses within the Engineering department such as Advanced Product Design (ME 216B) and Human Values in Design (ME 313) since 1999. He has also guest lectured on the strategic application of design thinking at Wharton and Columbia Business School. In 2011, he co-taught the Brands, Experience; Social Technology ("BEST") course, followed by Social Brands (MKTG 541) and Building Innovative Brands (MKTG 552) in Spring 2012, 2013 and 2014 with Professor Jennifer Aaker. In 2013 he also co-taught Designing Empathy-based Organizations ("d.ORG", GSBGEN 555). In 2014 Chris was honored to accept a post as Resident Fellow within a vibrant undergraduate live-learn community on east campus. Chris is passionate about helping students develop their own creative confidence. His teaching leverages his twenty years of experience helping organizations (and people) of all kinds innovate and grow.


Chris Flink, a partner at IDEO and consulting associate professor at Stanford University, considers innovation a team sport and dives into interdisciplinary challenges with generative optimism and a balanced, strategic perspective.
In his 16+ years with IDEO, Chris has played a variety of roles, from heading the firm’s Consumer Experience Design practice to co-founding its New York office. He’s led diverse programs in collaboration with such clients as Target, Apple, JetBlue, Citrix, Bridgewater, and P&G.
Today, he continues to thrive at the intersection of inspired design, business, and people. He leads a community of extraordinary designers and a set of key client relationships, guiding portfolios of innovation projects in retail, technology, consumer products and organizational change.
Chris teaches at Stanford University with adjunct appointments from both the Graduate School of Business and the School of Engineering – the same institutions that granted him degrees and helped inform his ever-expanding view of what it means to be a designer. Since 1999, he’s taught a range of courses on human-centered innovation and most recently co-created popular Org Design and Social Brands courses. He’s one of the founding faculty members of the, a renowned institute for design at Stanford that he helps lead. He’s also delivered guest lectures at Wharton and Columbia business schools, and presented at TEDx as well as the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Chris joined the Board of Directors of Fiserv (NASDAQ: FISV) in 2012, and then the Board of Directors of E*TRADE Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: ETFC) in 2013. He also contributes on advisory boards for Target,, and JetBlue.

Academic Degrees

  • MS in Management, Stanford GSB, 2005
  • BS in Engineering/Product Design, Stanford University, 1994

Professional Experience

  • Partner, IDEO, June 1997-present
  • Executive Director, EXPLORATORIUM- San Francisco, 2016

Awards and Honors

  • Chilton Memorial Prize for Excellence in Product Design, Stanford, School of Engineering, 1994


Other Teaching

Teaching Materials

  • Building Innovative Brands
    Building Innovative Brands is a hands-on dive into how leading brands may leverage a Design Thinking approach to become ever more participatory, experiential and experimental. Together, we explore how leading organizations stoke conversations, co-create experiences, spark stories and build engaging relationships with consumers. Inspired by provocative real-world examples and industry guests, diverse student teams employ human-centered design methods to conceive of and visualize their own creative proposals for how an organization could engage in innovative, brand-enhancing new ways. Teams ultimately pitch their experience design concepts for feedback, consideration and potential real-world implementation.

Conferences, Talks, and Speaking Engagements

Stanford University Affiliations

Greater Stanford University

In the Media