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Our Approach

HFLI provides custom-designed experiences and scalable initiatives rooted in culturally-responsive practices. Our expertise as an innovation learning leader and our empathy as a strategic ally is reflected in every touchpoint, every engagement along a continuum of immersive, hands-on learning.

Special Sauce

Deeper Learning by Doing® centers the learner and creates a space for all to succeed. With every step we attend not only to what a participant learns, but to how they learn. This powerful design and delivery approach makes learning come to life. Colleagues call it our “special sauce.”

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Deeper Learning by Doing®




culturally responsive

We believe that everyone has the power to create; what they don’t have is an equitable opportunity to gain the tools, mindsets, and skills to lead real change. 

HFLI breaks down barriers to lifelong learning and social impact by embedding cultural responsiveness in the design and delivery of every engagement. We make learning appropriate and effective for participants through inquiry, cultural knowledge, brain-based learning principles, and an understanding of systems and power dynamics. 

Our workshops for educators explicitly address culturally responsive education and help teachers connect with their students and nurture independent learners.

Wondering what we mean by design thinking at HFLI? We describe it as a collection of mindsets that enable/allow us to explore problems creatively, then reframe and act on them. A key point: it involves action, or “design doing,” as well as design thinking.

HFLI approaches design thinking in a way that:

  • Is open to and inclusive of other disciplines and methods.
  • Acknowledges the complexity involved in the process and doesn’t oversimplify.
  • Introduces essential tools and strategies in an accessible way.
  • Continually evolves and expands.


The learning experiences we create and deliver embody this philosophy.

Our innovation leadership in this area grows out of our work rooted in creating powerful/successful schools and transforming learning, teaching, and leading.

Every HFLI immersive experience embodies thoughtful and progressive high leverage practices. We create deeper learning environments that are hands-on and developmentally appropriate. Our learners address relevant social challenges, use local people and places as primary resources, and build skills forward in an appropriate way. Play becomes a way of bonding travelers on a shared journey. Time is valued. And post-session follow-up is strongly encouraged and supported.

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