Consulting and speaking

The archaeological imagination in human centered design – informing creative and collaborative approaches to real-world challenges and matters of common and pressing human concern. Archaeology is one of the most interdisciplinary and collaborative of fields devoted to understanding how people have got on with things for as long as we’ve been human.

With this foundation and outlook, over the last few years I have found myself offering workshops, bootcamps, and talks for businesses, non-profit organizations, schools and universities, and for local and national government agencies in the following areas:

Innovation Culture – How does innovation work? How to identify and develop mindsets, techniques and skills for teams that work through innovation.

Design Thinking – Understanding design and creativity. How to deliver innovative solutions to complex messy challenges.

Strategic Foresight and Scenario Planning – Using hindsight to model the future. How to be flexible, agile, ready for what the future holds.

The research base for this kind of professional connection is now Stanford Systems Foresight – a focus for my connections with the Design Group at Stanford, and since 2015 Larry Leifer’s Center for Design Research, part of Stanford’s

In Silicon Valley I have worked with –

Innovation Leadership Board, Stanford Center for Professional Development, Stanford Continuing Studies

In the Netherlands –

Rotterdam Partners, Spring Company. I have been a member of the International Advisory Board, Rotterdam since 2008.

Over the last two years I have also worked with Thales, Michelin, Shell, SAP, Airbus, Chrysler, through many links with the automobile and transport industry, with agencies in cultural resource management, with schools and colleges.

Contact – michaelshanks@me . com

logo-75-4 logo-75-5 logo-75-6 logo-75-8 RP_Logo_1logo-75-10 logo-75-11 logo-75-12 logo-75-1Boijmans-logo logo-75-2 logo-75-3logo-75-21Foresight-logologo-75-20SAP-logo

Design thinking – for R’damse Nieuwe – young entrepreneurs in the Netherlands


Planning the future of education – with Castilleja School, Palo Alto


On the future of mobility – for Emerce Eday – Amsterdam

Some feedback on a course (in Stanford Continuing Studies) (Nov 2014) about design thinking and innovation:

“Astonishingly well put together lectures, funny, articulate, wise.”

“Shanks is awesome. He needs his own show in TV or something. Major charisma and personality. Brilliant guy!”

“Amazing instructor with extraordinary knowledge and expertise! Incredible!”

“Professor Shanks’ lectures were thought-provoking, taking Design into a level normally not found in textbooks. His humorous style and well-rehearsed lectures matched well with his slide show. Although unconventional, this class taught me never to take design for granted again.”

“Brilliant! We never knew where he was going to go with a discussion. We thought in new ways. Do whatever you can to keep him around! One of the best of the Continuing Studies teachers/courses I’ve taken (approx. 15). Stimulating! Fascinating! Intriguing! Clever! Dramatic!”

Feel free to get in touch –

Download PDF