What Is Design Thinking?

San Jose School Implements Forward Thinking

Have you ever thought about how nice it would be to design your best workplace, or for your children to have input into the way their classrooms are laid out and utilized? This dream could become a reality with the process known as “design thinking.”

Design thinking’s ultimate goal is putting the user first. It aims to first understand the users – and then look at what is normal for the existing space. It then identifies problems with the status quo and develops solutions to remedy those problems. Then a model is built of the developed plan and the identified solutions are tested.

This approach is being utilized in a school in San Jose, California. Alpha: Cindy Avitia High School is turning to its users (in this instance, parents and students) for input about the school’s construction. The process began by conducting an extensive series of interviews with parents and students that welcomed discussion around the problems that local high schools face, and together, brainstorming solutions.

Ultimately, what Cindy Avitia High School learned in those conversations will be pulled together to create a plan for the school that will aim to create the best educational experience for the school’s first class next year.

Design thinking is also being implemented Bay area wide in a project called “School Retool.” The goal is to help 20 schools in Northern California implement small, effective steps instead of programs that involve a massive overhaul. They are working to find solutions that can be implemented immediately and will be immediately valuable.

All in all, design thinking provides an opportunity for students and parents to have a voice in the educational options in their local community and will hopefully help improve learning across the country.

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