Tell us a bit a about you
I’m a designer. I mix strategy, product, service and UX design. I enjoy making stuff. I’m happiest when I make something that makes a worthwhile or positive difference for someone.
I co-founded Mint Digital in 2004 and left in 2016, looking for new challenges in the ‘tech for good’ space. I started creating Design Club in 2017 and ran a pilot after school club that year at my daughter’s primary school.
Why did you start a Design Club?
I just wanted to teach design thinking to kids. I wanted to nurture empathy and show kids how to turn ideas into reality. I was actually running a Code Club at the time. It was great, but I started thinking: we have enough coding clubs. We don’t all need to code.
Coding provides the tools and knowledge for how to build. Design provides tools and knowledge for what to build, why to build and who to build for.
What advice would you give to someone starting their own club?
Dive in and be brave. It’s great fun working with children and passing on your skills to the next generation. You look at your own craft from another perspective and in many ways improve what you do and how you work.
On the practical side, planning is absolutely crucial. Be prepared and be present when working with children. Give the children space to create, offer lots of positive feedback, have fun and enjoy it. It’s a club, and the best thing you can do is leave a positive lasting impression. (Tom Foster told me that and it has stuck ever since. Thanks Tom!)
What’s the best thing that happened at your club?
There are loads of best bits. Children are amazing! One Year 6 girl used the empathy scales (below) in a way I hadn’t expected. I thought children would use them to plot personality traits for one person. She plotted the personality traits of both her mum and dad on the same scales. Genius :)