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Design Thinking

Design Thinking

Innovation begins with seeing opportunity in a landscape of challenge. HFLI sees an opportunity to instill a different way of teaching, a different way of learning.

Creativity and innovation can and should become an integral part of the K-12 learning experience – the growing complexity of our world requires it. Researchers, businesses, institutes of higher education, and even popular culture, have issued a call for schools to begin to address this important objective.

We’ve developed what is thought to be America’s only K-12 curriculum that pairs work in core subjects with a creative problem-solving approach called “Design Thinking” to build each student’s capacity as an innovator and develop schools as centers of their urban communities. 

The Design Thinking process provides a structured way of innovating with defined roles, techniques, environments, and tools that address real-world problems. It embodies the principles of being human-centered, having a bias towards action, and nurturing a culture of collaboration and prototyping to build new ideas. The CEO of IDEO, one organization responsible for the growing popularity of Design Thinking, has said that Design Thinking might just be the quintessential career and college skill set for this new era, central to success in every career (Brown, 2009). HFLI, working with the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University (“the d.school”), has now refined the Design Thinking process (above) for use with teachers and students in K-12 schools. We believe that learning in school is more compelling for students when their work is driven by personal interests and leverages opportunities in their immediate environment; personalized learning and engagement are possible when a school’s curriculum is organized around the process of developing potential solutions to a community-based challenge.

Design Thinking can be used by students of any age and by adults in the workplace. HFLI shares innovations in teaching and learning with the wider community in a number of ways. We offer:

Partners in our work have included: Ford Motor Company Fund, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and The Skillman Foundation, IDEO and the Stanford d.school.

View Design Thinking Resources