"Pitch Perfect Design Thinking Challenge" ~Students find a purpose and a meaning to attend higher education!

“Pitch-Perfect”DTC app identifies global problems students want to solve based on personalized skill strengths fostering life-long learning.

Photo of Wendy Wells
5 3

Written by

What is this idea about (elevator pitch)?

Instead of asking our students what they want to be when they grow up, let’s ask them, rather, what problems they want to solve. By focusing on local, community, and global pain-points, students can develop an entrepreneurial mindset to engage in personalized learning.


The Pitch Perfect Design Thinking app and curriculum will help students identify the skills and resources they need to acquire in order to solve local  or global problems that they are passionate about. As a result of engaging with the app and curriculum, students will develop an entrepreneurial mindset and broaden their range of problem-solving tools and skills as they experience and practice the design thinking process. By reframing learning as human-centered problem solving, students will be focused and motivated for post-secondary education, which they will see as an opportunity to further grow their skills and networks to solve the problems that matter to them.

How does this idea provide ongoing support to all students on their journey to and through college? Through the Pitch Perfect Design Thinking curriculum,  students refine and deepen their insights into their own interests and passions, and are given a purpose and a meaning to attend higher education or further their training and skills. This idea will assist students in selecting a college, a major, and a mission.

What is the value proposition of this idea for:


  • Students gain an understanding of what it means to build a business through entrepreneurship
  • Learn to reframe problems as opportunities for redesign
  • Personalize their learning path based on pain-points they are interested in solving
  • Identify gaps in their personal skills needed to be productive citizens in the economy
  • Local, community, and global awareness


  • Gain an understanding of what it takes to launch, build and scale a business: entrepreneurship
  • Identify current global challenges that need to be highlighted for students interest
  • Learn to facilitate Design Thinking Challenges & connect with Universities and Colleges that can help move students to the next level for their personalized learning path
  • Give purpose to preparing students to contribute to economic development


  • Grow a new teaching/facilitating model and a set of innovative teachers who are then better prepared to teach students the 21st-century skills they’ll need to thrive in today’s world. This also enriches teachers’ own problem-solving skills and tools and enables them to solve problems in their classrooms, schools and beyond.
  • Increase number of student graduates and continue on the personalized learning path
  • Community awareness of engaged, happy, focused students will emerge from the Pitch Perfect Design Thinking process


  • Assist parents in guiding students college and career path
  • Understand their child’s strengths for learning to solve problems
  • Identify their child’s weaknesses and guide them in the direction of applicable colleges to foster growth

Potential For Impact: 

Designing curriculum around an idea that changes how teachers think and students learn. This process will allow students to become advocates for their own learning and teachers to understand what it takes to run a business. Students refine and deepen their insights into their own interests and passions, and are given a purpose and a meaning to attend higher education or further their training and skills. This idea will assist students in selecting a college, a major, and a mission.

Most students do not think high school has prepared them for the future. They drop out due to boredom and never find a real purpose for continuous learning. This is not a fact taken out of context, this is my direct experience working with students: After working with over 200 high school students last weekend, I asked them the question: “How many of you think HS has prepared you for your future?” Only 2 raised their hands out of 200. In awe, I shifted the thought process by asking these students, how can you be advocates for your own learning. What experiences do you need?

How to get this idea off the ground (in progress):

Here are some ideas to get started:

For students: I used an open source game called BreakoutEDU and designed my own game “Pitch Perfect-Breakout” for 200 high school students to learn about design thinking, entrepreneurship, and passion based learning. It is a creative way for students to learn new concepts and apply them in a collaborative setting. They must work together to “Breakout” in a set amount of time by solving clues while someone facilitates the process.

For teachers and admins:

  • We would design a very similar “BreakoutEDU” game to introduce this concept to the teachers and stakeholders of implementing this process
  • A series of resources would be created to continue professional learning for educators; online self-paced content, face to face events, and an online community using something like Slack, Periscope and Blab

Needs to be developed:

  • The Pitch Perfect Design Thinking Challenge app would need to be created from the storyboard sketch.
  • The curriculum guides/resources would need to be developed
  • The online community formed
  • Design Breakoutedu game for educators & admins.

Materials to get this idea off the ground:

  • Join the Teacher Guild community & the Facebook PPDTC group
  • Access to the “Pitch-Perfect-BreakoutEDU” Student and Educator game
  • Access to the “Pitch Perfect Design Thinking Challenge” App
  • Access to online content guides/resources: Step-by-step-Pitch Perfect-Entrepreneurship, Global Challenges, & How to-Design Thinking in Education

Metrics: The idea would be to track students learning paths after graduation and match it with the challenges they chose throughout high school.

Have a doc or slides that you're collaborating in? Link it here.



Join the conversation:

Photo of Jessica Lura

Love the idea of tapping to students' passions and having them grapple with real world problems.

What do you imagine this looking like in a high school classroom?

Photo of Wendy Wells

Thanks Jessica! I would have students begin the first year learning about the design thinking process and entrepreneurship mindset. Next they would form teams to collaborate throughout their high school years to solve problems focused on broad research topics.

Photo of Avnita Bir

Hey Wendy
Making the perfect elevator pitch is not easy and your idea of building entrepreneurship skills in students through games like BreakoutEDU.com is a great way to go. Has worked well with our students. 
Perhaps  you could add our idea of using social media to get a wider reach. 

Photo of Wendy Wells

Hi Avnita! Thank you for the kind words! What is your idea about the social media? I would love to hear more. 

Photo of Avnita Bir

Our idea is based around using social media platform like Facebook to stay connected with high school students and mentor them on important skills(including entrepreneurial/career-based), provide academic support, emotional support etc. and build the apps on the platform. This would ensure high degree of engagement as the medium is almost ubiquitous and lends itself to real-time response mechanism.