Blog task 3 -Design Brief – Entrance of a School


Background Information: The main entrance area of the school includes the administration, staff area and Library buildings. There is minimal gardens and seating area. It fronts the only car park and bus bay area. All the administration, staff area and Library buildings are scheduled for redevelopment over the next two years. We are not limited in the manner of which the original buildings are used or not used and the position of the buildings is up for rearrangement – new concepts for the purpose and design of this area can and should be considered, there is an opportunity to do something different.

Constraints: Surrounding classroom buildings, existing car park, bus bay requirements and limited monetary funds (as determined by management).

Challenge: To redesign the entrance of the school and create an environment that provides a connection point to home, a welcoming environment and a social meeting place for students (and staff).

POV (Point of View): In meeting this challenge we need to take a human-centred approach, and consider how students and staff interact with each other out of class time (and during lessons).

Pillars of the design: These project pillars are the focus points for this design (Kuratko, Goldsworthy, & Hornsby, 2012) –

Welcoming and inviting Social spaces Student to student/student to staff/ staff to staff relations Flourishing and Friendly community Supervision and safety


For this new entrance area, “How Might We (HMW)….” (D.School, 2012)

Amp up the good: HMW develop an area like the Library is well used in its existing form by students before school to meet, complete school work, gain assistance by the staff, print, and have access to free tutoring before and after school. A Library that allows for these behaviours needs to be included in this educational space. As staff walk past the waiting area near the car park, they can be aware of how many students are still waiting for their parents to come and pick them up.

Remove the bad: HMW increase limited seating areas outside the buildings. The existing seating is also cold in the cooler months, with the wind moving freely through it. There is not enough room for storage of bags. Students also have limited undercover areas to wait for the buses and parents at pick-up. The Library where many students congregate before and after school is not right near the car park.

Explore the opposite: HMW design this area could be a meeting area where students and staff greet each other, choose to sit and prepare for the day ahead or debrief after the day. It has spaces for people to sit. It is seen as the place to be. Parents can find their children easily and everyone feels welcome. Staff are there as resources.

Explore the assumption; HMW know what students want to meet at the front of the school? What do they want to do there? What sort of resources are we going to provide? How is the connection to home life made?

Go after adjectives: HMW make the area welcoming, social, sheltering, warm, resourceful, motivating, good for learning and safe.

ID unexpected resources: HMW create a space where students can be easily supervised, after school activities can be facilitated and more interactions between the staff and greater community can take place. The students can form an ownership of the space.

Create an analogy from the need of context: HMW form a space that makes all students feel like it’s a second home or an environment where they feel supported to learn and get ready to spread their wings into the wider world.

POV versus the challenge: HMW encourage the adolescent students to use this space and interact with each other. What does the space need to make it seem welcoming, social but still focused on encouraging learning.

Challenge the status quo: HMW engage adolescent students who don’t initiate positive interactions with staff and make them want to socialise in the school environment.

Breaking the POV into pieces: HMW provide enough room for the students who need to wait for parents and get onto buses. HMW connect the Library, Admin, staff and transport areas..


  • Both the Library and Admin buildings can be refurbished or rebuilt where they are, more undercover areas could be built to house student before and after school.
  • The Library could be shifted to the front near the car park and good signage will guide the community to the admin building. The Library will be the gateway to the school. A large undercover area will be out the front. More seating will surround this main community area.
  • Extend the Library and build its role as a community hub (place it at the front of the school), connect it to the staff areas.
  • Build a large undercover area including a community café, wellness centre including chaplain, senior hub

References:, Stanford University, How might we?… Method Card: Accessed March 1, 2014

Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration : transforming organizational thinking. (pp.103-123). Boston : Pearson.


I have made a comment on these other design briefs





Design Brief Beginnings – feel free to add your thoughts

I have begun writing (have been thinking up to now) my Design brief for  the entrance area to my workplace as described in

blog task 2 sketch 2

Based on my immersion notes these are the questions I have been asking  about the people using the space and the physical space it self:

*What should be the first type of environment students and staff come to – should it be the same for both students and staff?

*How can we make the staff or arrival time of the day a positive experience?

*How do students and staff want to meet and greet each other in the mornings ( and after school hours)?

*What sort of interactions do we want the students to have in the morning?

* Why do the students who congregate closer to the Library engage more with staff – assuming this good for all ? How do we encourage this?

*How can the entry of the school facilitate a positive school community?

Now to answer these problems…..

Pillars of my design

welcoming & inviting             social spaces           shelter             student/staff relations          flourishing and friendly community

Considering that both the admin building and Library building are up for redevelopment, the options are open.  They don’t have to stay in the same positions.Here is some intial thoughts…

*The building at the front of the building needs to have outside undercover areas, gardens and an inside supervised area (ie.Library). There needs to be space for staff too

*Signage – effective, attractive and more of it

*Access after and before school – the ‘connecting’ environment between home and school.


Blog Task 2 – another experience

blog task 2 coffeeI am including this observation because it was a spontaneous decision that turned out to be a very pleasant customer experience,because the people running this coffee shop did things a bit differently.At the end of the short experience I left happier. I also saw  the whole scenario with different eyes now that I am participating in this course – I did notice that the space in the coffee shop was being used in a slightly unusual way.

I was on the way to pick up my child from school after  a PD course in a different area of Brisbane than I am usually in. I chose to stop in a busy little shopping strip where I could see multiple coffee shops. I chose this coffee shop because it was closest to my car and a nice friendly lady met me at the doorway. I asked if they were making  take-away coffee, she replied yes, asked me what I would like, wrote the order and my name down and requested another staff member make it. I still had not entered the shop and was standing at the doorway on the path because the cash register was just at the doorway. Whilst waiting for the coffee I was given a free bottle of water and asked if I wanted a loyalty card. One other customer came and too was met at the door. They wanted to sit down, so was shown personally to a table.  I was also given a free little biscuit with my coffee too – all this for $4.00. Some people who were walking by the shop looked at me , maybe wondering  what I was doing loitering in the door way – it did feel different but I was amongst the outdoor air and took the opportunity to have a look around at the unknown streetscape.

As I left the shop though I felt as a customer that I had received very good value for money and the service staff had interacted in a very positive and friendly manner. It was a bit fun too not going through the same more common process of working my way through a coffee shop and waiting in a line.

PS. About a week later, whilst sitting in a meeting at my Principal’s office, I noticed she had a few water bottles with this shop’s labels on her desk. Interesting!



Blog task 2

blog task 2 sketch 2The area of my daily routine is my morning walk from the school car park through to the Library. It takes place at 8am as the school community is beginning to arrive at school. The Administration and Library are both up for redevelopment in the next 18 months. It is the main entry area to the school. I think how students and staff cross paths, greet each other and congregate in the mornings can have a big impact on the day.

Staff wave to each other whilst driving in the car park. They say hi to each other, some choose to have a conversation whilst walking through the car park. I don’t go into the staff room; I walk straight towards the Library .Most students don’t acknowledge staff whilst in their cars or saying goodbye to parents, in the bus bay area. A few students wait for their friends out the front. Once inside the school grounds most students say “morning” or “morning sir/miss” as they pass on the pathway. Some students congregate under the classroom verandas – they are not allowed to do this (they are meant to be in the common areas) and are roused on by the teachers to move away from this area.

The students who sit in the undercover area (most are there regularly) engage in a longer conversation with me. They have longer conversations with a group of friends, asking how each other is, they say ‘Have a good day”. I will walk through the middle of the undercover seating area. It is cold in this concrete area; it seems to bother some students.

As I approach the main entrance of the Library and its undercover area where the bag racks are there are students who regularly come to the Library early to work or read. They interact with me in more complex conversations; they may even wait and open the door for me.  The temperature in the Library is warmer (it is air-conditioned), the people are warmer to each other too. A couple of students are usually printing quietly and concentrating on getting their assignments sorted for the day.  There is already a quiet hum of some students helping each other with homework, talking to the other Library staff or catching up with a friend.

The students want a place to meet friends in the morning. Some of them don’t want to be right where the teachers are. At this time of year people want to be out of the cold in the morning.

The extended leadership team have begun discussions about this area as the connection between home and school (in the morning and afternoons). We are asking the questions “Is this main entry area giving a good first impression or setting up the right sort of interactions?” and “Would it be better to have a common learning/social area like a Library plus undercover area right next to the car park?”

Comments shared on other Blogs

Jame’s (Jim’s)



Change a space, share the love- 1.1

The space I decided to change quickly was one of our large, freestanding noticeboards in the Library.

We were trying to think of a interactive activity/display for ‘Catholic Week’ where the school community recognises and celebrates what is special about learning and working in a Catholic School.  I liked the displays I had seen of people’s ideas or responses to discussions collated and displayed on sticky notes.

The board previously had some posters on it (which hadn’t been changed for at least twelve months and it was standing along side an underused wall (see Blog task 1). We shifted the noticeboard near the entry of the Library facing out to the main seating area. We then created a large heart , instructions and promoted the activity and display through an email to staff and students, announcements and informal conversations in the Library. We asked the community to write on a sticky note “what they loved about being in a catholic school’ and stick it on the heart. We got responses like a great sense of community, lots of friends, being cared for etc.

IMAG0512                             IMAG0513                IMAG0514


Did the change in the space encourage learning or increase engagement?  – Yes, I think so. It definitely received more attention than when it was sitting by a wall with posters on it.  A lot of staff said they really liked the idea and it was a conversation starter for both staff and students. The school community were hesitant to contribute to the display. I have found though that the school community is generally hesitant to collaborate or display their ideas in many situations. I would try it again though, the more often we do these kind of displays the better they will get at sharing, I am sure.


Blog Task #1 INF 536

a)      In the reading lounge of the Secondary College Library where I work, there is a small wall  that currently has a large map drawer, a poster holder, an information board (which has had the same posters on it for years) and some old photographs.  The adjacent wall has laptop benches and chargers and on the other side is the circulation desk. The maps and their containers are not used a lot and they are big, heavy and not very attractive – only teachers use them rarely, not students.  The space should be used for encouraging a reading culture not housing unused posters.


b)       Technology developments are driving a change in the way that Library services are being delivered to our learning communities. These changes are providing new choices for reading communities and the need for innovative ideas. Good design in this space could speed up the innovation process in our services- this is a continuing goal (Kurato, Goldsworthy, & Hornsby, 2012).  Following Tim Brown’s (2009) recommendations to start the designing process by focusing on the needs of humans alerts me to the fact that this space is not matching the behaviour of the humans in our school community. The culture and context of our school is changing and becoming more digital, participatory and client driven. This space is in the reading lounge, it could be used to connect the reading community to our recently added digital Library.  The digital library provides over $60,000 worth of books (it is shared with all the 120 schools in our district).The students have access via the school portal but it is still an underused but excellent resource.  The inspiration to alter the design of this area is influenced by the opportunity of access to the digital library that we want to seize; it makes a lot of financial sense (we don’t have to pay for it) and for a large part of our community access to digital resources is desirable.

c)       To create a space that increases the school communities access the digital library we will need to provide technology that allows the student a straight and simple connection to this digital space. The interface of the Digital Library lends itself to a being a permanent fixture on a screen. The user can browse the Library completely and then just log in when they want to borrow a book. The books will be downloaded into their account which they can access from their own device later.  All this could be done on a large touch screen that would be very attractive to the students.  All the map and poster storage could be shifted to another less used space in the Library. We have the funds to put in a simple high bench for the students to stand at and use the screen.  Instructions could be placed on the wall behind to guide students and teachers in using the Digital Library.


Brown, T. (2009). Designers – think big. Retrieved 2014, from TED:

Kurato, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in Innovation accerlation: transforming organisational thinking. Boston: Pearson.


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My Design Brief for a new Library

Here is the design brief I created for the our first meeting with the architect. My very creative and visual Library Assistant drew up a plan to accompany it ( will scan and upload with permission later). It was my second ever design brief I had written. I kept it short ( one page) . I found Kurato, Goldsworthy and Hornsby’s(2012) The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration : transforming organizational thinking very helpful and I tried to put their theories in use.

******** Library Design Brief – Introductory and First


To build a Library that provides a central learning and social space, as well as an information and technology services hub for the whole school community. It needs to offer an environment that is different to the classroom.

The people in our community;

Need to want to come to the Library, feel motivated to learn and be creative in the environment and have the flexibility to learn collaboratively and/or independently. The Library and Tech teams want to provide the best service we can to all the school community and have a dynamic and functional working environment.

Pillars of our design brief

Attractive, light filled and modern environment Service and Access Collaborative and creative learning Fun Flexibility Workspace Choice for people



The Library needs to have the capacity to seat up to 400 people in total. There will be a “café vibe” to the environment and a high technology presence.

The main area of the Library will be able to house up to 200 students in a seating area that’s flexibility encourages collaborative behaviours and yet caters for differing learning styles. This main area that will be highly used before and after school and at lunchtime needing to allow for good visibility and be a light filled space. Presentation booths, fish tank spaces (10?)and some quiet “cubby hole spaces” need to included. The fish tank spaces could be used for Makerspaces and gaming on different occasions or student and staff meetings. During class times multiple classes would come in and allow their students to work in a way that encourages their own learning style and choices.  Books will be housed on wall shelving (mostly). A lot of display spaces for front-facing books and promotion will be included. The main level will also include a café near the entrance incorporating a reading/magazine lounge.

Workspaces and the Service centre will also be included on this main level. Along the length of the building there would be a tech team workroom, library team workroom, shared tea/kitchen room and staff toilets. These workrooms will have one way glass overlooking two long service/ circulation desks.

There needs to be a performance, large group seating space (Year level) or piazza/forum space. This could be in the form of an oversized staircase that acts as a transition between the different levels of the Library and would be used as an informal seating area at other times.

On the upper level of the Library there will be a senior hub, more ‘quiet space seating’, production and presentation spaces and additional fish tank spaces with a link to the admin building.

Would love to hear your feedback!


Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration : transforming organizational thinking. (pp.103-123). Boston : Pearson.


Transforming organisational thinking – a practical application

This week involved the first formal meeting to plan for a new Library at the school I work at as the teacher-librarian. Over the last month the major stakeholders had collated images collaboratively using  a Flickr album and have had many informal discussions. I knew my learning in this subject was going to help with this designing project and I was really glad to start putting the theory into practice.

After reading Kurato, Goldsworthy and Hornsby’s (2012) The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration: transforming organizational thinking, I summarised the important points and put them in an email to the other staff . Part of the reason what to digest and synthesise my thinking and also to explain my strategies in thinking about our design. Here’s what I wrote

Hello All,

I have attached some reading about The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration: transforming organisational thinking (after a discussion with ****** and ****** today ). It is very relevant, I think to the designing and planning we are currently involved in ( and hopefully will continue to do so as educators and managers of learning spaces). It made me think about how we can approach the design process. The main points I took away were (pg 104 – 115):
*designing a product or service that is worthwhile will drive innovation, the more innovation we generate, the more entrepreneurial we can be.
*the importance to apply creativity and be proactive
*we need to use our constraints as a source of inspiration
In developing our design brief
*we need to be inspired by a problem to solve or an opportunity to seize 
*focus on the main idea we have  – a Library that provides tech and information services and offers an environment that is different to the classrooms  (?!!), not ourselves.
*in a collaborative approach to designing the space look for consistent answers and insights.
*develop a clear vision and then identify the project pillars that hold up that vision (especially in a design brief).
This presentation by IDEO’s Tim Brown was also an interesting description of how design thinking is different to design.
His focus was
*less on the object and more on the design thinking as an approach to solving problems
*start with the humans
*the dramatic changes happening in technology (and education) are providing opportunities for new choices and existing solutions are becoming obsolete.
*the question that we are trying to answer or the solution we are seeking needs to be used to create the design brief.
 So, before our meeting on Thursday and throughout our designing and planning of these new learning and work spaces I am going to take these points into consideration and use them as guidelines. I hope this all makes some sense. I am still trying to synthesize all this information, and it probably isn’t all new to you but I think it will help us.
It was quietly but positively received. I find in educational settings in the busyness of the tasks teachers and leadership complete all day they don’t always pay attention to these big ideas and need time set aside  to discuss and learn about the thinking that will transform our learning and teaching.
Brown,T. (2009). Designers- think big TED
 Accessed  18.7.14
Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration : transforming organizational thinking. (pp.103-123). Boston : Pearson.