Design Thinking Applications in Primary Schools – Unleash

Design Thinking Applications in Primary Schools

Sandy Speicher


Sandy Speicher
, Managing Director Education Practice and Partner, IDEO, shared the Innova School project in Peru. IDEO’s brief was to design quality and affordable learning experience for the rapidly growing middle class in Peru.  She believes all people are capable of receiving a high-quality education, and it is important to show “a different future is possible.” The Innova School was designed from its physical environment to human interactions and mindset, based on four anchors:
  1. Blended Learning Approach: Teachers will learn while teaching progressively.
  2. Solo Learning Approach: Children can work on their passion with great support – using technology and other resources.
  3. Teacher Resource Centre: It is a space for teachers to share learning & grow together collaboratively.
  4. Innovation Program: Children take up community design challenges to create great learning and enhance the surroundings around them through design.
Empathizing is a major process in design thinking, as demonstrated in the case study shared by Alex Makosz, Group Director, Curriculum, Assessment & Learning of Chiway Education Group. Before reviewing the curriculum, he spent two and a half months to understand the stakeholders and their problem space, creating rapport and support from various stakeholder groups, including the parent-teacher association. It also led to a positive impact on teacher retention. Alex emphasizes the importance of transparency and collaboration in the process. And it is not just about “changing curriculum structure but changing the culture as well”.
Alex Makosz


Siu Ting
, School Head, the Mission Covenant Church Holm Glad No.2 Primary School, shared the experience of her school in the last four years motivating and encouraging children to be self-driven and to chase their dreams. Teachers play the role of being observers and facilitators, enabling students to learn on their own and work on their passion. The school is grateful for the support of the Learning by Doing programme sponsored by the Hong Kong Jockey Club and also Dreamstarter where children’s projects come true through the support of raising awareness, mentoring and crowdfunding.
Siu Ting
The panelists shared how Hong Kong could kick start the change. Sandy suggested picking an easy problem first and gradually move forward. Alex highlighted the importance of seeing the big picture. “See the forest instead of the trees,” he said. Siu believes that Hong Kong should apply design thinking to redesign education curriculums. The involvement of teachers and parents is very important. Every parent has to learn and understand how their children are learning, it is a relationship. On the other hand, schools should create structures to engage parents in the change process, proactively reaching out to parents and work collaboratively with them in raising our future leaders.

Siu closed the session by echoing a key message of the opening panel. “Children genuinely want to make a positive change to the society and are enthused by the feeling that they can make a difference.” Educators should empower children to be change makers.