Before investing heavily, start with a simple design challenge

[X-posted at LinkedIn here]

Much ink has been spilled about how to innovate in the education space to better align schools with real world demands. Even at some of the best K12 schools, students are simply not being exposed to the skills, mindsets, and experiences the adult world will require of them shortly, be that in a company or freelance context. …

How might we provide meaningful opportunities for students and professionals to collaborate to solve real problems?

[shorter version X-posted on Avenues OPEN Blog]

This was the question that launched Design 4 Impact, a student-run startup bringing real-world problem solving to K12 education, on our NYC campus in 2015. …

an experimental semester elective from Jan-May 2014

Internships are a uniquely valuable learning experience for young people, so why not bring the experience to our Upper School* students? That was the basic premise behind Social Innovation Live (SI Live), a design elective I taught from January through the end of April.

Ninth and tenth graders were taught the basics of the design thinking process and then matched, in teams, with companies for ten weeks, with a major project as the final deliverable. The goal was to adapt the experience and lessons of a longer internship into a (short) class format, supplementing experience with appropriate tools and content.

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Before the students even met their partners, lest they be distracted, we began with an introduction to design thinking.


innovator, educator, creative, facilitator, strategist, frisbee player, dreamer, doer, daddy, husby.

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