Building strategic capacity in education, through design methods

 

education design lab, Washington D.C.

Role: Design Researcher | Project: Education Design Lab, Washington DC (2016)

Team: Dawan Stanford, Sarah Folger, Kathleen deLaski, Gabriella Schiro and Ricardo Dutra

 

The Education Design Lab's mission is to create a next generation of higher ed institutions that serves all students equitably. They work with universities and community colleges around the United States to apply design methods in addressing their challenges. Projects may include design workshops, sprints and challenges – that are framed around issues such as how to develop peer-learning, how to create flexible school curricula, how to develop 21st century skills in parallel to academic training, how to better use student data to drive learning experiences, and so on. The core part of my work with them has been to give a unified narrative and design strategy clarity to the work they have been doing. I conducted interviews with the team and shadowed them to understand individual needs and perspective in the larger design-led innovation strategy. I also brought in perspectives from different approaches to design thinking and innovation, helping the team to understand where their approach sits in comparison to the larger ecosystem. As a result, we co-created a tool kit for the internal facilitators to guide their approach while dealing with universities and colleges around the country. We also re-imagined their working space, as a part of an effort to re-think office culture as being studio-based and employee-centered.

The Facilitator's Guide brought together the design methods and overall strategy of the Lab in addressing higher ed challenges. It also served as a "cultural probe" as it allowed the team to agree and disagree – hence, debate their core understandings and propositions around design for higher education.

The Facilitator's Guide brought together the design methods and overall strategy of the Lab in addressing higher ed challenges. It also served as a "cultural probe" as it allowed the team to agree and disagree – hence, debate their core understandings and propositions around design for higher education.

Positioning the Lab's design strategy in the light of the larger design ecosystem helped the team discuss and understand what they wish to develop further and what is already unique about their work.

Positioning the Lab's design strategy in the light of the larger design ecosystem helped the team discuss and understand what they wish to develop further and what is already unique about their work.