What sticky questions are big enough that we need to really empathize with more than our own viewpoint?  How can we work together to make that idea grow into possibilities that can lead to increased value in our schools, our classrooms, and our communities?

If you’ve ever asked,  “How can I…..,” check out the potential of design thinking.  Ready. Set. Go. We can solve this…together.



We had a great discussion at the FIRST design thinking chat, held on 4/20/2016.  Take a group of educators that combined high-poverty schools, teachers from NY, FL, IA, and CO, and a Guest who was observing and start asking questions.  Here’s what happened.  Special thanks to Josef, Tina, Ryan, Lori, Marcia, and Molly for their bravery on this first round.

Starting Point:  What is design thinking and how is it used?

IDEO and Stanford design school are parallel organizations, started by two brothers
Different backgrounds matter.  We don’t care about titles, diverse groups, etc.
Design thinking is a process for creative problem-solving
We all can be creative in some way

Gut check:  Are you uncreative or creative?

Book plug:   Creative Confidence by the Kelley Bros
Creative Confidence Book


Lori—Creative and the arts become synonymous and make me feel I am not creative
Marcia—Creative people aren’t afraid to fail
Ryan-Creative people are relentlessly curious
Tina–I feel like I am pretty creative.   I teach middle school so I have to think fast on my feel. I play was in the band for years
Marcia– I let my inhibitions get in the way sometime

Setting the Mashup:  How can we mash-up HOSPITAL experiences and HOTEL experience

Guest : I’ve crashed a marketing course….
Yes, Guest.! The design thinking is about marketing the process of education and connecting people to the ideas of school connections 
From Guest : My only thought about the two… often/usually the guest doesn’t want to be at one… sometimes either.
@Guest – no worries! No need to apologize! We WANT it know what you think!
From Marcia Powell : So are we designing with kids, with colleagues, with administrators, with our communities? 
From Lori : @Marcia – yes to all!

Lessons learned From a mashup (Questions and relationships)

From Ryan Kinser : How did they start their questions?
Blowing up the current model and starting from a new perspective—Josef.
How might we make the school environment more comfortable?
How might we get more parent involvement?
How might we get more parent  involvement?
How might these two things be related?
How might we make our school alignment stronger
How might we deal with vertical alignment and teacher turnover gaps that arise?
How can we wait for distribute the skill sets between admin and teacherpowered
How can we make the online school experience better?
How might we get more buy-in from staff on trying new things?
How might we connect between buildings?
How do we make connections among stakeholders and not live in a bubble?
From Lori : Hey Tina – I started my career in Miami at NMB High school and then Myrtle Grove Elementary.
From Tina : I am wayy down south at Mays Conservatory of the Arts
From Lori : Nice!!! Is that a relatively new school? I haven’t been there in 10 years so don’t recognize the name.
Hi Tiffany!
From Lori : Glad you could make it!!!

The role of empathy

To have more empathy, you need to change the format of traditional meetings.  Everyone is coming in with a mindset, often those are obstacles to accomplishment. (Josef)
Ryan—I don’t always know what the problems are,  or who the problems are being experienced by in the room.  We know sit and get is ineffective.
Real issues and the ability to speak matters.
Ryan’s first challenge:  how can we make our online school more helpful
Tina:  You have to know your students, and build relationships.   It’s about content second, finding out about them first. 
What are tools to break down the barriers?   Giving students a glimpse into who I am, sharing the authentic self, sharing stories
Being willing to listen to the students, and to look for resources.
Thank you, Tina! Please share that tip in our TPS lab. We need to know more about how to share our stories and get students to share theirs.
Tina:  Teachers make the assumption we are superhero, and really we just need to be human.  It’s a process
This idea that when we show kids we are human, it makes a difference and strengthens the bond.  Seeing the kids through their own lens is critical.

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