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Getting Smart Podcast

Jan 3, 2018

Today’s topic is design thinking. Design thinking is everywhere in education right now — or, at least it should be. It’s on a ton of Getting Smart’s blogs and they even use it internally to help their partners reach their goals — whether it be designing a new school, helping to turn around an existing school, or working on resources for educators and school leaders. But what is design thinking?’, ‘How does it play into the work of school design and leadership?’, and ‘How does someone get started?'.


The Getting Smart Team’s Director of Advocacy, Emily, and Director of Coaching, Adam, get together in this episode to discuss all aspects of design thinking. A lot of educators are just now getting familiar with design thinking, so Emily and Adam dive into the topic to explain what exactly it is, how it can improve their practice, and to rethink how they facilitate learning. Adam has been using the design thinking approach for years and has lots to share, so tune in to this week’s episode to join the conversation.


Key Takeaways:

[1:00] Emily explains why they want to discuss design thinking and welcomes Adam to the podcast.

[1:37] What is design thinking and why is it coming to be a really hot topic in education today?

[3:48] Some fun examples Adam has seen throughout the years.

[4:26] The many different ways that design thinking can be applied.

[5:38] How Adam has seen design thinking used in his years of leading schools.

[10:50] The element of empathy in solution-based learning and design thinking.

[12:00] The importance of having seen the world through a design-based lense.

[15:10] The design thinking Adam has seen in his kids’ games that encompass collaboration, creating, and iterating as they go.

[16:46] Where Adam recommends getting started with design thinking.

[21:15] Adam’s favorite resources when it comes to finding design thinking inspiration.

[22:45] How purpose is key in engaging in design thinking.


Mentioned in This Episode:

Stanford D.School

One Stone
Seth Godin

Poke the Box: When Was the Last Time You Did Something for the First Time? by Seth Godin

Daniel Pink

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel Pink


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Is There Somebody You’ve Been Wanting to Learn From or a Topic You’d Like Covered?

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Twitter-Specific Quotes:


[Design thinking] is one of those ‘simply-complex’ concepts that there are lots of iterations of.”



Design thinking itself can be applied in PBL classrooms or … in a playspace setting — There are lots of different ways it can be used.” — Emily


[Design thinking] almost becomes this foundation for how you see the world.” — Adam


I would definitely establish a sense of ‘why’ [in design thinking].” — Adam


Our team embraces the idea that we’re constantly learning.” — Adam