The girl in the picture to the right is part of a growing design thinking movement in India. Although her school is in a Mumbai slum, she took part in India’s first design for social change contest. Using a simple design-thinking framework, she worked with her classmates to develop lesson plans to teach the parents of slum children how to read and write. And she just is one of the thousands of children who participated in this year’s Design for Giving contest.
The collaboration between the d.school’s K-12 Lab and the Riverside School has been an incredible source of learning and inspiration for folks who are passionate about the potential of design thinking in schools across the world. This year, we worked together on the Design for Giving Contest— a competition that challenged children across India to imagine and implement solutions to social problems that concern them. Our challenge was to develop a simple yet compelling design thinking framework that schools across India could adopt. In the end, we asked children to do three things: Feel, Imagine, and Do.
We were amazed by the flood of responses to this simple challenge—we received almost 1,500 entries in nearly a dozen languages. Now, we are thrilled to announce that the winners of India’s Design for Giving Contest have been chosen.
The winning entries came from a diversity of schools: from remote Nagaland and rural Rajasthan to major urban centers such as Hyderabad. Students took on a range of issues—from alcoholism in villages to the lack of basic teaching aids in preschools. Now that the winners are announced, we are launching the second phase of the project— building the design thinking movement in schools across India. To meet these ends, we are focusing on support, mentorship, and research.
Support: The top 100 winning entries are now eligible for challenge grants from Disney. To qualify for the grants, the students must go back into the community and gather feedback on their projects. The teams will use this feedback to redesign their projects to increase impact and sustainability.
Mentorship: Any school that participated in the contest can take part in a design mentorship program that pairs student teams with professionals from the growing design community in India. Indian design firms such as Elephant Design and Idiom have generously offered to pair up with schools to take their projects to the next level.
Research: Harvard’s GoodWork Project has taken up a research project involving the participating schools. The research focuses on the factors that drove participation: What are the qualities of schools and school leaders that took part, and how can we encourage and support these factors?
Next week, the K-12 lab’s Adam Royalty and Jim Ratcliffe will join forces with IDEO’s Sandy Speicher at Riverside School in Ahmedabad to design ways to help schools across India dive more deeply into design thinking. We welcome your thoughts, so put on your design thinking hats and get in touch!
Read descriptions of some of the winning entries here: Download.