Design for Change
A simple 'stage-gate' process comprising four steps - 'Feel-Imagine-Do-Share' - which can add value to enterpreneurial learning activities and is promoted by Design for Change (DFC), a worldwide initiative aimed at giving children the opportunity to express and act on their ideas for a better world.
Purpose and process
Design for Change is aimed at encouraging students to use 'design thinking'. They observe 'users' in order to better understand and empathise with their needs before they suggest solutions to an identified problem. Students work in teams of 5 and first consider a case study of an actual school's experience of using Design for Change.
They then embark on the 4 steps:
- Feel - students locate problems/situations that bother them in their school/community and talk to the people who are affected or are part of the problem to identify what is causing the situation. They discuss their findings and then vote for one thing they would like to change.
- Imagine - they consider how to improve the situation and vote for the idea most likely to effect significant change in 1 week.
- Do - action planning and Implementation, during which students must record the change process, ready for...
- Share - they submit an account of the change implemented and continue the process through sharing their story with other schools or through the local media.
- Develop skills and attitudes for entrepreneurship, especially observation, communication, negotiation, empathy and creativity
- Understand and practise the design thinking process
- Express their own ideas for a better world
- Effect real and lasting change in their school or community
Curricular or thematic relevance
Can be used as a standalone enterprise activity or linked to a subject such as Citizenship or PSHE
How to organise:
Can take place either during timetabled lessons or as an extra-curricular activity, possibly after school, but the challenge itself should last at least one week
Assessment and evaluation approaches
Completion of the challenge process and level of success in solving the defined problem or changing the situation for the better are evaluated during and after the project
Teachers act as facilitators and mentors to the groups but do not suggest ideas for change as these must come from the students themselves
Profile of the tool and method
Smart and versatile approach on how to engage the youngest learners to be active, openly express their ideas, wishes and find ways to achieve them. It surely gives students the strength to look for solutions to things that bother them and to share their achievements with others.
The strength of this approach is that Children have to DO - to complete their projects. They have to take an active part in the problem-solving (entrepreneurship). Motivation for this should be strong as it is their own identified problems they are working with.This 4-step process is easily understood and quite easy to work with for both teachers and student.
This simple and easy-to-use approach to problem-solving empowers students with the autonomy to find creative solutions to real life problems and with the ability to put these ideas into practice.
Pupils are often complaining about different things that are wrong in their schools but they don´t do anything to change things. This method is absolutely perfect to show pupils that there are ways to solve the problems and they are able to get involved and change things.
Design thinking is a very versatile and useful method especially when it comes to the educational system. It is a good tool to ensure personal commitment to the learning process, creativity and enactment.