Bookmarked What is Design Thinking and how can teachers get started? (

This introductory guide to design thinking for educators lays the foundations for better problem solving and creative ideas.

Tom Barrett provides an introduction to Design Thinking. He addresses what it is, its purpose and how it can help in education.
Bookmarked Don’t let a crisis define the brief (

Running headlong into massive changes in your life, your organisation or in your business, on the back of this urgent, dodgy brief isn’t wise. Imagine the crisis has written a brief, with unreasonably urgent deadlines, questionable rationale and no understanding of whether we have the skills to pull off the changes it’s asking us for. You wouldn’t respond unquestioning to a brief this poor, let alone commit to “systemic changes” that will last a life-time on the back of it.

So rewrite the brief.

Ewan McIntosh says we should not be restricted by the brief we are given and instead rewrite it. This starts with researching ideas and developing a project nest. From there, look for assumptions at play and work to identify the real problem at play. For McIntosh, this is how to be proactive about defining the new normal.
Bookmarked Question Ladder (Development Impact and You)

  How do you know the right question to ask? Sometimes reaching the right answer means thinking more about the kind of questions you’re asking. It might sound simple, but focusing on what you’…

Nesta provide a graphic organiser which maps put different question combinations. Another useful resource in the search for more beautiful questions.

via Tom Barrett

Liked Set Your Design Thinking Process up for Success (

On Tuesday I co-facilitated a design thinking education event with Google in Melbourne. We worked alongside 50 teachers from Catholic schools.

It got me wondering about what it takes to get the most from a design thinking (DT) process. Although my lense is for teachers and education teams, these ideas apply to anyone using the DT process.

For each idea, I have shared some links for further articles and readings to allow you to dig deeper.

Liked The Problem-Finding Generation: “Melbourne, What’s Your Problem?” by Simon Keily (Medium)

Design Thinking is a rich vibrant space where a constructivist pedagogy comes to life. By actively synthesing Immersion data to find real problems, then ideating on solutions and building prototypes, designers build a strong familiarity with the space they are working in. For the students at Brighton Grammar, all of this dynamic activity was meshed together by rich discussions, especially when the moment of pitching ideas arrived. To improve their prototyped ideas, each team had to identify experts in the wider community who might help them with their problem. They then made telephone pitches to these experts.

Replied to Networking, PLNs and Design Thinking – Design and Play Podcast by Steve Brophy; Dean Pearman (

Where have we been? Steve begins by sharing the behind the scenes of the new University Campus at Ivanhoe. Year 9 is traditionally recognised as the year where students provide the most challenges in terms of disengagement, behaviour, and lack of direction. But is Year 8 the new Year 9? Dean and Steve talk about how their collective schools approach this challenge.

Design thinking pops up again (it does in every episode!) and Dean reflects on his human-centred approach to learning and schooling after appearing at the Leadership Exchange. Networking is a key factor in this approach and Dean and Steve talk about their respective network development journeys. The lone genius is a myth as the greatest ideas of our time have come from people bouncing off each other. Dean proposes 5 key stages of networking from his own experience.

Stages of networking

  1. Reach out
  2. Twitter – Twitter chats, hashtags, following thought leaders. LinkedIn
  3. Blog – evolve thinking
  4. Giving more – connect with people on a deeper level and work together. Reading
  5. Outside networks – bringing ideas from outside education

The Design and Play podcast began due to a desire to do deep work together. The learning that we do within our networks needs to evolve. We also jump into design inspired archetypes to help break our assumptions about schools and leadership. Do you have a bias towards actions or do you embrace ambiguity? Finally, we discuss 1:1 programs and our questions and worries about the current state of our own programs. The wicked problem – how do we best serve our students’ needs with technology? Is our current approach enough?

Great to have you back on the airwaves Dean and Steve. I thought you both might have gotten stuck down a well.

Really interesting comments about 1:1. For me, if it is not being done right or with intent, then it is worth questioning it. Also, left thinking about PLN and the way in which it changes and morphs over time. I too have gone off Twitter a little bit. Still happy to engage, just with more purpose I guess.

Something that I was left wondering about after listening was the role of the survey. I know that we can ask questions and do quizzes (something that has come up with Gonski 2.0), but I was really intrigued by Donna Lanclos’ argument against all this.

In a recent presentation, she put out the call:

Please, let’s not profile people.

When you are asking your students and staff questions, perhaps it should not be in a survey. When you are trying to figure out how to help people, why not assume that the resources you provide should be seen as available to all, not just the ones with “identifiable need?

As much as it is easy, lean, agile, what is the cost of this efficiency and quick feedback?

Replied to Using the Design Thinking Process to Write a Book (A.J. JULIANI)

Yet, there was something I wanted to do with this book that made it different. During the navigation ideas phase, I wondered what it would be like to give the book away for FREE to teachers and leaders all over. Now, folks would still have to pay for shipping, but with printing costs as low as they are, I wondered how this was possible.

I had a number of really bad experiences of sending books out to teachers free. The organization and fulfillment of this process were tough for all involved.

Thanks for sharing the process AJ.

I’ve always wondered about self-publishing, but always from a digital perspective, using Gumroad or some other platform. I had never thought of physically publishing something and giving it away. I obviously need to explore this in more detail.

Syndicated at Read Write Collect

Bookmarked Problem Finding by Tom Barrett (The Curious Creative)

I have adapted some of the Design Kit steps below and have a HMW Framing template

Based on the methods of Design Kit, Tom Barrett breaks the process of framing a problem into eight steps:

  1. Describe the problem or issue
  2. List the stakeholders
  3. Re-frame the issue as a How Might We statement
  4. Describe the impact you are attempting to have.
  5. Why needs your help the most?
  6. What are some possible solutions to your problem?
  7. Describe the context and constraints you have to your future ideas.
  8. Re-write a different version of your original HMW statement.

Here is an image I made based on the How Might We format:

I remember when I ran Genius Hour, I used HMW, however I struggled with supporting students in developing these. I think that Barrett’s steps helps with that.

Bookmarked What If? And What’s Wrong? – Sherri Spelic – Medium by Sherri Spelic (Medium)

I wonder about how we educate our students to see the design in the systems they are witnessing, experiencing, and impacted by. Seeing patterns of design requires more than 6 steps in a prescribed cycle, while looking into the past as well as the future. Design Thinking aligns well a certain kind of neoliberal enthusiasm for entrepreneurship and start-up culture. I question how well it lends itself to addressing social dilemmas fueled by historic inequality and stratification.

Sherri Spelic reflects on design thinking wonder if maybe the empahisis on what if and entrepreneurship would be better focused on what’s wrong and going from there. Definitely some food for thought.