Design-Based Innovation

Integrating Design for Success in Innovation


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Learning Design-Based Innovation From Our Children

by Bill Knowles

A few days ago, I was having a discussion in my office with one of our corporate attorneys. The topics we discussed varied and, at one point, I mentioned Design-Based Innovation. The usual reaction I receive is “Interesting…tell me more…I am not familiar with that topic.” Instead, he said, “Yes, my 4th grade daughter is in a Design Thinking Club at her school.”

While trying to recover from my amazement, I asked for details. In 2013, at this particular private school, the Lower School Director and the 4th grade teacher initiated a volunteer Design Thinking program for 4th and 5th grade students. The students apply a Design Thinking process to address problems they see around the school that are meaningful to them. Once an issue is identified, they practice empathy by interviewing peers, staff and faculty to obtain multiple perspectives. They prototype early and often and have already identified solutions to issues concerning the cafeteria, water fountains, laptops and locker space.

This is a superb example of a program where business leaders can really learn from their children.

Are you are aware of other such programs for children in grade schools? If so, please share your comments.

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