Showing posts with label IDEO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IDEO. Show all posts

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Creating Spaces for Design in Schools

As more schools add "Design" to their art and technology programs, classrooms will need to be rethought to accommodate the needs of the design curriculum. Some new considerations include:

1. An Ideation Lab (right) - plenty of space for white boards, foam core, post-it notes, and markers for teams to collaboratively generate and clarify design problems.
2. A Visualization Lab - spaces to brainstorm, draw, post, share and discuss possible solutions to design problems. Drawing tables, computers, tracing paper, places to pin works up for group discussion and revision.
3. A Fab Lab - workshop spaces to make prototypes by cutting foam with hot-wire cutters, sawing wood, building structures, making architectural models, etc.
4. A Presentation Room - a boardroom-like space to present and critique ideas for discussion, evaluation and implementation with interactive white boards, projectors, presentation easels, etc.

Make Space : How to Set the Stage for Creative Collaboration (left) by Scott Doorley & Scott Witthoft, is a new book based on the work at the Stanford University and its Environments Collaborative Initiative. The book explains how space can be intentionally manipulated to fuel the creative process and then offers over 120 specific strategies that can be employed in endless combination to foster collaboration, creativity and innovation.

Click below to see a video of the creation of the cover for the book.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Getting Serious About Being Playful in School Design

Fast Company's online site Co Design (left) has an article about What Schools Can Learn From Google, IDEO, and Pixar.

The article points out that the country's strongest innovators in business embrace creativity, play, and collaboration -- values that also inform their physical spaces. When we are about to build or rehab a school, however, we create checklists of best practices, looks for furniture that matches the school mascot, and order shiny new lockers to line the corridors.

According to the article, what makes the Googles of the world exceptional begins in the childhood classroom -- an embrace of creativity, play, and collaboration. 1,500 CEOs identified creativity as the number-one leadership competency in the global marketplace.

The article maintains, "We can no longer afford to teach our kids or design their schoolhouses the way we used to if we’re to maintain a competitive edge. In looking at various exemplary workplaces such as IDEO, Google, and Pixar, we can glean valuable lessons about effective educational approaches and the spaces that support them."

"What would it mean for schools to have a culture centered on design thinking and interdisciplinary projects instead of siloed subjects? What if the process of education were as intentionally crafted as the products of education (i.e., we always think about the book report or the final project, but not the path to get there). What if teachers were treated as designers?" There are some schools out there that are doing just that, including High Tech High in Southern California, and the Blue Valley Schools Center for Advanced Professional Studies (BVCAPS).

The article also points out that "Pixar, arguably the greatest digital storyteller of our time, is an easy source of school-environment inspiration: Its studio is a place where magic results from a potent blend of art and science, work and play, digital and analog."

The giant technological company Google realizes that valuable innovations are born from serious play, deep teamwork, and a holistically engaged (and cared for) staff. A playful strain runs through Google’s office culture.

We are challenged to imagine what might happen if students had the same power to edit and make their own spaces within the school environment as employees do in "serious" players in global economic markets.

The article maintains "There is much to learn from our innovative corporate giants, and some schools are already taking note. But ironically, the true genius of these work spaces is how they’ve been inspired by lessons from children. (The ability of top executives to incorporate playfulness and internal strategy has even become a topic of discussion for major corporations.) Yes, school designers and leaders should make learning environments that reflect dynamic workplaces. But school leaders would be remiss if they didn’t critically re-examine (and support) the power of play and creative arts that these leaders have gleaned from them."

The writers of the article, Steven Turckes, leads Perkins+Will's global K–12 design practice and is the director of the K–12 Education Group for the Chicago office, and Melanie Kahl is an educational design researcher in Perkins+Will's global K–12 Practice.

Click on the heading above to see the whole article.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Design Thinking Toolkit for Educators Available Online

A Design Thinking Toolkit for Educators is available as a free download online. Click on the heading above to go to the website.

This toolkit was developed by the award-winning global design firm IDEO in cooperation with the Riverdale Country School, an independent Pre-K through 12 school in New York City.

The Toolkit is designed to help schools create solutions for everyday challenges by equipping them with the processes and methods of design. It uses a broad definition of design built on the idea that we are all designers and we design everyday much in the same way that we are all authors, mathematicians, scientists, doctors, carpenters, musicians and dancers. There is no expectation that people are able to design images, objects, spaces, or experiences so that anyone can feel comfortable in saying they are a Design Thinker. Design Thinking is a mindset.

The Toolkit includes: What is Design Thinking?; The Design Process; and several Case Studies. The Design Process includes:
Discovery - How to approach a challenge
Interpretation - How to interpret what you learn
Ideation - Seeing an opportunity, what do you create?
Experimentation - Having an idea, how do you build it?
Evolution - Having something new, how do you evolve it?

This toolkit is an excellent framework for anyone interested in expanding the limited curriculum in schools to include problem-solving, collaboration, ideation, visualization, prototyping, and visual presentation skills.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Designers Are Beginning to Think Bigger

Rather than designing the next useless gadget, designers are trying to think bigger and solve large real-world problems by switching their mindset from "designing" to "design thinking". This is an approach that moves designers from designing products to designing systems. It moves people from being consumers to being participants.

Tim Brown (right) is the CEO of innovation and design firm IDEO, taking an approach to design that digs deeper than the surface. Having taken over from founder David E. Kelley, Tim Brown carries forward the firm's mission of fusing design, business and social studies to come up with deeply researched, deeply understood designs and ideas - IDEO calls it "design thinking."

IDEO is the kind of firm that companies turn to when they want a top-down rethink of a business or product -- from fast food conglomerates to high-tech startups, hospitals to universities.

IDEO has designed and prototyped everything from a life-saving portable defibrillator to the defining details at the groundbreaking Prada shop in Manhattan to corporate processes.

Click on the heading above to hear Tim Brown discuss the idea of thinking bigger at a TED conference.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Prince Charles and His Interest in Architecture

When most people think about Prince Charles (the Prince of Wales and future King of England) they probably think about his divorce from Princess Diana, her tragic death, and his second marriage to his mistress Camilla Bowles. The design world also knows that Prince Charles is an afficionado of architecture and an outspoken critic of the Modernist style.

Most recently making the news, Prince Charles is fighting to stop a controversial modern development in London designed by the architect, Lord Richard Rogers, with whom he famously clashed 25 years ago. In 1984, Charles publicly attacked the architect’s proposed extension to London’s National Gallery as ‘a monstrous carbuncle’.

Now he is attacking a proposed design by Rogers for living units on the Chelsea Barracks site in London. The Prince has written to the Emir of Qatar (the developer) urging him to reconsider the Modernist Chelsea design and to look, instead, at a classical design by one of his favorite architects, Quinlan Terry.

Some architects object to any non-architects (Prince Charles, Brad Pitt, IDEO) being given a forum to express their public opinions about architecture just because they are well-known in some other field. For design educators, this provides an opportunity to introduce architecture and design concepts to those who might not otherwise find interest in the topics.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

David Kelley Promotes Design Thinking

We almost lost one of the world's greatest design thinkers to throat cancer last year. Fortunately, modern medicine has given us some more time to learn from one of the great design educators of our time. David Kelley is the founder of IDEO, one of the leading design firms in the world and, more recently, the, an interdisciplinary program to spread design thinking across many departments at Stanford University.

People across the world are trying to figure David Kelley out and learn how to do what he and his innovative design team does. Kelley says one of the greatest leaps for his own thinking was when he realized the task was not "designing" objects but applying "design thinking" to any challenge.

Kelley says, "We moved from thinking of ourselves as designers to thinking of ourselves as design thinkers. We have a methodology that enables us to come up with a solution that nobody has before." This is a quote from an article about Kelley by Linda Tischler in Fast Company magazine. Click on the heading above to read Tischler's excellent article in Fast Company magazine.

Design thinking is a methodology, very much like the scientific process, that can be learned and applied to creating practical innovations in products, services and any place where new ideas are necessary. As design educators, our task is to teach and apply the design thinking process as a basic skill for all students. Our challenge is to re-design K-12 education for the 21st century by applying design thinking across the curriculum and transforming the experience of schooling for all students, teachers, administrators and parents.

Share your stories about how you are applying the design thinking process in K-12 education at

Saturday, January 31, 2009

What is good design?

If you were asked to define what "good design" is what would you chose as examples? We assume "good design" has to fulfill its function efficiently. What other criteria would you use?

Tim Brown, president of the world-famous IDEO design group in San Francisco, thinks some of the best examples of good design are the Flip video camera (left) (now available in an HD model) and Microsoft's electronic book, the Kindle (right).

Have your students find examples of what they think is great design.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Design Education Topic of Davis Retreat for Art Supervisors

Art Supervisors from across the country were introduced to the concepts of Design Thinking at the Davis Retreat for Art Supervisors in October 2008 held in Palo Alto at Stanford University's (design school) and IDEO, one of the top design firms in the world (right).

Among the participants were Debora Reeves, Executive Director of the National Art Education Association (left) and John Wilson, Executive Director of the National Education Association (on right).

David Kelley, founder of IDEO and the welcomed participants and introduced them to the ideas upon which IDEO and the were founded. Over the next two days everyone participated in a "Deep Dive" to experience the design thinking process first-hand. They learned about the design thinking process including ideation, inquiry, empathy, visualization, and prototyping (far right)

This retreat coincided with the release of Davis' special issue of School Arts magazine on Design Matters. Click on the heading above or go to for more information about School Arts and Davis Publishing.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Design for Social Change

With a new focus area on innovation, The Rockefeller Foundation teamed up with the design firm, IDEO, to explore new avenues for social change. One promising area is design and how the design industry can play a larger role in the social sector. They created a How-to Guide and an accompanying Workbook written for design firms that are interested in joining in the conversation.

DESIGN PRINCIPLES -These are the guiding principles for working with social sector clients.

1. PROVIDE VALUE - Demonstrate the Value - Cause Transformational Change - Mind the Gap

2. BE FOCUSED - Stay on Target - Conserve Energy

3. SET UP FOR SUCCESS - Train Appropriately - Optimize for Impact - Know the Players - Demand Skin in the Game

Click on the heading above to read the IDEO + Rockefeller Workbook and IDEO + Rockefeller Guide

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bug List and Wow List

Noticing good design when you see it and noticing when there is a need for something to be designed better are the starting points for becoming a design thinker.

Start a "Bug List" for things that annoy you, don't work, or are poorly designed.
  • David Kelley from IDEO says that drink and snack machines that dispense the product at the level of your ankles is a good clue for the need for better design. Will vending machines be redesigned or will they be replaced by some other technology? What will it be?
  • In the future we won't walk or drive around holding a cell phone to our ears with our hands. Will cell phones be embedded in our clothing or bodies or will they become like elaborate jewelry that we wear for adornment as well as function?
  • How much time and aggravation do we endure searching for keys to everything? Some cars already have keyless entry and starting. What is the next step in security design?
Start a "Wow List" of things that are so well designed they just make you happy.
  • Apple seems to produce consistently good design and the iPhone is another example. Everyone is trying to figure out how they do good design so consistently.
  • OXO Good Grip kitchen tools were created for people with weak grips but work for everyone. What is the future of Universal Design?
  • The Segway is an ingenious personal transportation device that is fun to use. Will the future bring giant parking lots and perpetual traffic jams or will someone figure out a better system for getting around?