Change by Design

I find myself teaching in a school where to generalise the clientele, for a variety of reasons, are difficult to teach. This contrasts deeply to where I have spent parts of my career, particularly in the private education system or else even further removed from the coal face, while working as an educator in the Museum sector.  This current work is rewarding but challenging.  At present I am finding inspiration by reading “Change by Design” (Brown & Katz, 2011).  These authors argue that the quality of insight is one of the key resources of design thinking. Where does this insight come from? It comes from connecting with the people we are observing at a fundamental level. Brown & Katz calls this ’empathy’ and declares it to be the most important distinction between academic thinking and design thinking.


The mission of design thinking is to translate observations into insights, and insights into the products and services that will improve lives. (Brown & Katz, 2011)

I am finding concepts of design thinking motivating in my teaching because the clientele I now teach think about and consume education quite differently than many other mainstream students that I have taught.  Brown & Katz discuss working with the most extreme users and how such interactions may provide “opportunities for socially engaged design”. Very importantly the authors argue that non-designers can benefit from learning how to think like designers. I am learning that design thinking is highly relevant to educators such as myself and am discovering its relevance in seeking new ways to improve our classroom practice and systems of education.


Brown, T., & Katz, B. (2011). Change by Design. Journal Of Product Innovation Management, 28(3), 381-383.

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