Hasso-Plattner-Institut für Softwaresystemtechnik

Katy Kavanaugh

After several years of searching for a graduate program in film which recognized the rich heritage of the European children’s film genre so that she could accomplish the next step of her six-phase plan, Katy Kavanaugh was introduced to the d.school at Stanford. Soon she realized that it would be the multidiscipline innovators who would understand the need she had defined and help her design for it.

Along with her MA in Learning Design and Technology from Stanford’s School of Education, Katy comes to design thinking from a career of a multidiscipline thinking in Dance Theater, Film Curation and Production. The themes she investigates in her own work fuse Art and Science through phenomena in Human Physiology and Childhood. She is the founder of Catapult Productions which produces projects that encourage greater exchange of international stories about childhood told through cinema.

Kavanaugh’s studies in Physiology and experience in Dance Theater bring several insights to group dynamics and innovation. Trust, generosity, fun, more trust.  Her frequent analogy for design thinking is a garage band or a dance company—several artists from various backgrounds, trusting themselves, their instruments and their keen senses work toward a common groove, eventually striking a sound or a kinetic force and reaction that none could have imagined making alone. What does trust feel like? Through intensive group work, one draws closer to his/her own understanding as well as a shared understanding.

Kavanaugh and her five siblings were raised by two educators in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury and rural Oregon. She has coached swimming, dance classes and filmmaking workshops and is delighted to bring her accumulated insights to the HPI D-School in Potsdam.