A new report by WISE and IDEO asks “How do the processes and mindsets of design thinking help to answer questions about how schools are designed, how educators can work together, and how students might contribute and benefit?”
In the foreword to “Thinking & Acting Like a Designer: How design thinking supports innovation in K-12 education,” Stavros N. Yannouka, CEO of WISE, proposes “With the education environment, in all its elements, poised at an inflection point, design thinking brings flexibility and pragmatism to the process of responding to local, even individual needs and goals.”
“The WISE IDEO report shows how the design thinking mindset can expand our notions of schools and school systems beyond entrenched models. Design thinking can encourage a culture of teacher collaboration that can be leveraged for improved outcomes across subjects and learning environments. As students’ experiences dramatically expand, they face new dynamics and emerging realities that require new skills to navigate for success. These include the capacity to reflect on one’s own learning process, and, with the support of peers, teachers, and parents, to explore unique ways forward. We know that when students are more involved in designing their learning environments and discovering their own priorities, they are more engaged, motivated, and ultimately successful.”
HFLI, which refined the process to explicitly develop innovators and resourceful lifelong learners and has been a pioneer in its use in urban schools, is featured in a section that explores design thinking as part of the curriculum (starting on report p. 71). Today, HFLI mobilizes and partners with organizations around the world to empower learners to think creatively, work collaboratively with others, and implement innovations.
Overall, the publication highlights three key conclusions:
- Design thinking can be used to fundamentally reimagine school models and systems;
- Design thinking supports change in school culture by transforming how educators work together; and
- Design thinking encourages student development of twenty-first century skills.
“For all committed to education as empowerment, design thinking is a valuable approach, providing hopeful and exciting perspectives, and throwing open the gates to possibility,” concludes Yiannouka.
Download the report and read the authors’ five recommendations to contribute to bringing design thinking to the challenges of education, globally.