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Navigating Ambiguity: Unlocking Creativity in a World of Unknowns

June 7, 2022 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


“The future has never been more uncertain,” said everyone everyday.

Feeling lost at sea? Floating in a fog? You are not alone! We face the unknown all the time in creative work, whether you’re a writer working on your latest screenplay or a designer working with a tricky client. In this 1 hour workshop, you will learn what ambiguity even is, why we react to it the way we do, how you think of ambiguity, plus some tools for thriving in the unknown.

This is an interactive FieldTrip, but no design experience is required.


✔️ An understanding of what ambiguity is and why we react the way we do to the unknown

✔️An activity that looks at your relationship with ambiguity — and reveals clues about your attitude towards the unknown

✔️An understanding of the fluid relationship we have with ambiguity

✔️ How to begin to build your own navigating ambiguity toolbox, with a peek at tools that help you balance a variety of lenses/levers

✔️ Personal stories of navigating ambiguity from your hosts

✔️ And… the unexpected, of course! (This is a session about ambiguity, folks)



Kelly Schmutte is a designer, educator, and entrepreneur currently working on evolving and reimagining Stanford’s design degree programs. Kelly teaches core design classes at the and in Stanford’s Product Design program. Her start-up, PerfectFit Pointe, is on a mission to save the toes of ballet dancers around the world.

PerfectFit Pointe

Andrea Small is design strategist, educator, and writer working at the intersection of advanced technology, inclusive design, and design thinking. She’s currently Creative Lead at Samsung Research America on their Advanced R&D Innovation Team. She also teaches Innovations in Inclusive Design at Stanford’s

Andrea Small


Navigating Ambiguity co-authored by Andrea Small and Kelly Schmutte – The pandemic made ambiguity an inevitable part of work and life. In this insightful book, Small and Schutte, both educators and designers, conclude that ambiguity should be embraced rather than overcome. Using humor and luscious, cut-paper illustrations, it presents guidelines to help you tap into uncertainty by being adaptable, curious, and unbiased.

Navigating Ambiguity is part of the Stanford’s collection of books on creativity and design. It is one of ten single-topic creativity and design guides, each highlighting ways of thinking or useful tools that cultivate resourcefulness and inventiveness and encourage a creative and engaged citizenry.


June 7, 2022
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Event Category:


Creative Mornings
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