Ashish Goel is the author of Drawing on Courage: Risks Worth Taking and Stands Worth Making. It's a part of a series of guides being published by the Stanford Ashish is a designer, an entrepreneur, and a former teaching fellow at the Stanford where he has taught classes on design thinking, digital product design, and mapmaking.


Previously, he worked as head of design at Zomato (India's DoorDash and Yelp rolled into one), and today advises companies in the art and science of product design, and is currently building Boca, a direct-to-consumer sparkling water business based in India.

We spoke in early August 2022, and I was excited to talk to Ashish because his book, Drawing on Courage, reminded me how important having courage and taking a stand are in the creative process.




In this conversation we talk about:

  • Covid, and losing his mother to Covid.
  • Being inspired by the resilience of the world during Covid.
  • Growing up wanting to be a comic book designer.
  • His experience at the, learning to be brave and creative.
  • The writing of his book, Drawing on Courage.
  • Using design thinking to deal with rejection.
  • Fear versus love as motivation.
  • Change as part of the journey of courage.
  • Using our gut to make decisions.
  • The future of higher education.
  • And the importance of beauty in decision-making.


Ashish reminds us that the creative act can be scary. That facing the blank page or the blank whiteboard does not come easily to most, and that that leap of faith is worth making, and is in fact essential in every creative endeavor.


This conversation is one of many weekly conversations we already have lined up for you with thinkers, designers, makers, authors, and entrepreneurs who are working to change our world for the better. I just received a couple of new books from the Stanford, and we're working on setting up those interviews as well โ€” they include the books, Creative Hustle, This is a Prototype, and You Need a Manifesto. So if you want to hear these, and the other episodes we've got for you, please follow this podcast on your favorite podcast app, or head over to to subscribe.


And now, let's jump right in with Ashish Goel.




[4:03] Life in the Present

[4:48] Life During COVID

[11:07] Early Childhood Driving Forces

[13:29] A Pivot to Design

[16:01] The Stanford

[19:06] Drawing on Courage

[22:33] Couraging With Design

[25:20] Taking a Tiny Risk

[29:31] Courage and Values

[32:41] The Role of Change

[34:26] The Role of Beauty

[37:20] The Future of Learning

[42:13] A Short Sermon