Design thinking is a unique and fundamental form of human intelligence that is most often expressed in the way students formulate problems, generate solutions and utilize the design process. At St. Andrew’s, it is our goal that all of our students be able to map needs, ideas and stories in the imaginative, empathetic and practical solutions they design for their own problems as well as the problems faced by others. Investigating and understanding complicated ideas in order to generate innovative solutions necessarily evolves around a curious, prepared, resilient and optimistic attitude willing to experiment, prototype, try, fail, and succeed. Design Thinking and Innovation develops the human capacity to plan and produce desired outcomes in any field and across every discipline. It is a form of leadership, service and social entrepreneurship.

How does your child’s school make this happen?

So much of school is educating about the known, not the new. There is a thousand years of the known at our backs and a planet full of novel opportunity before us. Originality is difficult and fragile. To venture in the threshold of originality means to sometimes step into uncertainty and away from generative exercises that merely produce work that has been done before. Working on the “high wire” of uncertainty is what creative confidence is all about. It requires us to position a student’s confidence between acquired knowledge and skills, and the new unknown. Isn’t the ultimate goal of education for students to think beyond the mere duplication of ideas and to invent new ones?

Imagine a student who has been given the opportunity to fail in front of their peers, then has the support structure, confidence and skills to pick themselves up and make it work. Empowering, isn’t it? Now imagine that student one day heading out into the work world… 

There is a magic that happens when a student is deeply immersed in solving a problem that matters to them. Great schools create these opportunities for their students.

But the goal of Design Thinking and Innovation is not simply to get students to solve problems; Design Thinking and Innovation is a process for defining what the problems are in the first place. St. Andrew’s challenges students to imagine the future, the problems, the solutions, the possibilities — and in those moments we discover the original thinkers.

For more information, including details of workshops on design thinking and other topics, visit the website of the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning,