Our Approach

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.

Engagements

Below are just a few of our collaborations designed to catalyze creative thinking, build confidence with practice, and take action for impact. Click on a story square to read a brief overview. Each is tailored for the participant group’s needs and the desired outcomes.

You might want to sponsor a workshop or a series that looks a lot like one of these engagements — or have us design something that looks very different. Contact us to learn more. We are here to listen, ask questions, and imagine possibilities. Together.

catalyze
creative
thinking

build
confidence
with
practice

take
action
for
impact

catalyze
creative
thinking

build
confidence
with
practice

take
action
for
impact

catalyze
creative
thinking

build
confidence
with
practice

take
action
for
impact

Introducing Amherst Central Schools (NY) educators to design thinking

Over the course of 3 days, HFLI equipped participants from Amherst Central Schools with a first-stage understanding of design thinking for deeper student learning. Participants learned to facilitate design thinking methods and tools with students and explored how design thinking can be used as an organizational problem-solving tool.

Bringing culturally responsive teaching practices to the classroom at HFA Alameda School

In the pilot of Comunidad x Design – an 8-part immersive workshop – HFLI helped educators and staff from HFA Alameda School in San Antonio, Texas explore the value and benefits of culturally responsive teaching. Most importantly, they gained a framework for developing their own approach, as well as learned practical, actionable ways to bring CRE into their classroom and school for their students, nearly all of whom are Latinx.

Developing, recruiting and retaining strong Black male educators with BMEA of Michigan

HFLI and BMEA of Michigan collaborated to develop and host extended learning programs for Black male educators — who make up only 2% of teachers in the US — with support received through The Skillman Foundation’s 2019 MBK Detroit Challenge. This immersive professional development program: nurtured educators to create deeper, more meaningful student learning; focused on building culturally responsive student connections; and activated design thinking skills and mindsets and highly effective teaching and leading practices.

Helping Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan teens take charge of their impact

HFLI and BGCSM launched Social Entrepreneurs Club Camp, an immersive program that activates the power of young people to take charge of the impact they want to create for themselves and for others. SEC was piloted at 3 sites in Detroit, serving 54 club members total. This pilot focused on the need to redesign and expand authentic learning opportunities for youth, while training youth leaders, through the lenses of entrepreneurship and design thinking.

Engaging middle school campers in entrepreneurship at Central Michigan University’s Detroit Center

In 2019, HFLI partnered with the Central Michigan University’s TRIO-Detroit program to deliver a camp-style experience for 33 Latinx middle school students. Over the course of five days, the teams used design thinking as an approach to exploring and reframing challenges. They developed and provided a “first look” presentation of early solution ideas that could be addressed through wearable technology. Campers were not only introduced to entrepreneurship but the larger ecosystem of wearable technology innovators in Detroit who shared their expertise and products with participants.

Advancing equity and economic empowerment with Michigan Hispanic Collaborative

HFLI’s strategic alliance with MiHC was born in 2020 from a shared desire to provide high school and college-age Latinx students with a meaningful challenge-based summer internship. Now in its second summer, this capstone experience has served 100 teens with an immersive program structured to include the community’s people and resources, activate participants’ power as creative leaders in the community, and prepare them for college and careers that will increase their economic opportunity.

Cultivating stakeholder empathy at NEW Leadership DELI

Since 2017, Nonprofit Enterprise at Work (NEW) has welcomed HFLI’s innovation learning leadership to its annual professional development cohort. As one of the signature experiences, HFLI’s session introduces nontraditional strategies that can help nonprofit leaders build a deeper understanding of stakeholders in their work – to better know and serve them.

Strengthening how Manhattanville College (NY) enacts its mission

​​Manhattanville College’s mission is to educate students to be ethical and socially-responsible leaders. HFLI designed and facilitated an onsite workshop for nearly three dozen faculty and staff members. Through this hands-on experience, participants: gained a grounded understanding of design thinking’s relevance to academic, social justice, and community-oriented contexts; learned, practiced and reflected upon design thinking mindsets and methods to incorporate into their work; and developed a plan to apply design thinking to an existing course or project.

Co-creating “Management 601: Design Thinking” at Walsh College

An empathetic understanding of customer needs is critical to developing a market strategy. Walsh sought out HFLI to collaborate on a required course in human-centered design that will build that capacity in its graduates. HFLI provided strategic advisory and design thinking resources, along with feedback and support for faculty who facilitate the experience for Walsh management students.

Establishing a shared understanding of design thinking at Arts and Scraps

During COVID-19, the Programs team at Arts & Scraps was forced to shift from in-person to remote delivery for their youth engagements. They needed a shared approach to address the challenge. Over two days, HFLI engaged their enthusiastic team in a virtual, hands-on workshop in which they gained design thinking tools, methodologies, and mindsets to redesign programming Arts and Scraps.

Pivoting and “Making it Possible” with Hutchinson NA Employees

After launching an employee innovation program in person, COVID-19 prompted HFLI to make a quick and effective pivot to remote delivery for the ten Hutchinson employees from different North American sites. Over months and miles, two MIP teams were immersed in a real-world mobility challenge. Through HFLI’s Deeper Learning x Doing® approach, teams gained design thinking tools, skills, and mindsets. HFLI coached the teams to develop, finalize and successfully present their human-centered solution ideas to Hutchinson leaders.

Activating Social Impact with Ford’s Thirty Under 30

Thirty Under 30 is a signature initiative introduced by Ford Motor Company chairman Bill Ford in 2015. Since then, HFLI has supported the development and implementation of this new model of employee civic leadership, which engages a new cohort of young professionals from the US, Canada and (later) Mexico each year. HFLI leads them through intentional work sessions and field experiences that use human-centered design tools and encourage the growth of design thinking mindsets to help these young leaders engage with and create Transformational and Actionable™ solutions for Ford’s nonprofit community partners.

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