Purposeful change- design thinking

Using the process of design thinking or inquiry- students identify something to improve in their own community.

Photo of Sarah Whiting
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Scoping and scanning the possibilities of what is needed and then making meaningful change to there local community by facilitating the change. 

This process would involve 3 major components-

  • Students identifying their ability to act,
  • Students identifying areas within their community that could be influenced/ developed/ changed
  • Students using a microhacking design process to make effective and important changes to their community. 

This process is aimed to be quick in order to develop possible actions and the students seeing that they can make a difference.

The first phase

Focus: To promote students understanding of their own skills and attributes as agent of change. 

Time: 1hr 

In this session, students will create a profile board by interviewing one another using the following questions as a guide:

  • What are your qualities/ skills?
  • What are you interested in?
  • What energises you?
  • What exhausts/stresses you? 

This could also be achieved by fellow students providing ideas of what they perceive in response to the above question. 

The next step would be to look at how these qualities could be used to activate change and how you could work with others who have other strengths to make that change happen more effectively. 

The second and third phase

Focus: Students using the double diamond process in a microhack to quickly  identifying areas within their community that could be influenced/ developed/ changed and then implementing that possibility

Time: Initially, this would take 2 hours but could be expanding after the initial event. 

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So, the students will work through each stage of this cycle in a speedy fashion in order to arrive at a possible change prototype quickly and effectively. 

Discover phase: General Problem

Empathising with the situation and people involved (Groups of 3 - Braindump)

  1. Question What is already happening and what needs to change? Why and how?
  • What is happening for ?
  • How do we know?

(Looking past the assumptions to the reality)

What stands out for you

 Share findings

Define phase: Specific Problem

  • Shape up a …. statement
  • We need to…
  •     Because surprising..

  • Turn the above statement into a ‘how might we’ statement

Develop phase: Ideation

  • Come up with some ideas of how this could be addressed
  • Choose 3- 1 that could be implemented straight away, one to prototype and one for further down the line

Deliver phase: Ideation

  1. Design/ Construct a prototype to address the issue

Share your specific solution

Evaluation results

1 evaluation so far


Join the conversation:

Photo of Lisa Yokana

Check out Elana's idea! I suggested you create a team and work together at building this out. https://collaborate.teachersguild.org/challenge/empathy/ideate/building-a-better-school-community-for-ourselves-and-our-peers-through-design-thinking
Let me know how I can help!

Photo of Elana Blinder

Kia Ora, Sarah! (Are you in New Zealand? I lived in Wellington for a spell.) I just checkout out your slide deck--so great! I'm working on designing and evaluating a series of workshops aimed at teaching design-thinking to upper elementary students (ages 8-11 or so). The focus is on helping students identify and address issues within their school community. Would love to collaborate with you on this.

Photo of Sarah Whiting

Kia ora Elana! I am in NZ. I live in Christchurch. I love you idea to and think it would be great to collaborate on this together.

Photo of Elana Blinder

Thanks for adding me to your team, Sarah!

Here are links to the lesson and student packet I created for my first design-thinking lesson with kids. There's also a skeleton for the remaining four lessons I intend to teach in the deck, but I haven't managed to finish them yet. I taught Lesson 1 this past Monday, but don't have time to post all my observations and insights right now unfortunately!



Photo of Sarah Whiting

These look awesome. I love how you have taken the students through the process, ready to apply it into a social setting. I would love to know how it goes and if there is anything I can do to help/ offer please let me know. :0)

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