Education & Design

I am currently in preparation of my diploma thesis. It has to do with the connection between education and design. Especially design thinking in education. (You will find out more soon.) Both fields go pretty well together. In fact design is such a buzz word right now, like creativity. And education is always in a bad light. Especially right now in the USA. There is the movie Waiting for Superman, a very epic movie which visualises the need of change for the US education system. I bet you could do something similar in Germany and nobody wants to watch the movie.

But there is currently more going on in between the topics design and education. I reported about the RSA and their animations a while ago and just recently they published this great animation:

And I reported about Jeff Staple lately, he got also ‘infected’ by the movie Waiting for Superman and wants to ride on the wave as well – give something back and start a change.

You see, both are trending topics and some people want to fill the gap. But the fact that the term design is so hot right now, and the education system is basically always criticized (totally deserved, because it has been always crappy), it doesn’t mean that it is bad. Maybe there is more in design than superficially seen. And maybe you can actually change at least something with the design approach. (Maybe not.) But at least we could try instead of only criticize.

Teaching Design for Change

Maria Popova, also known as @brainpickertweeted a link to a TED talk yesterday. The phrase “Teaching Design for Change” was so interesting that I couldn’t let it pass by. I clicked on the link and watched the TED talk of Emily Pilloton, with the same name: Teaching design for change. It was outstanding. After the talk I was sitting in my chair for 30 minutes and I did nothing else than thinking. I thought about the great idea to use design (thinking) as a tool for education in schools.

Emily Pilloton founded Studio H together with Matthew Miller. They teamed up with different commited persons to realize the Project H Design.

Studio H is a high school design/build curriculum for rural community benefit.” (via

The Project H Design Mission:

Design initiatives for Humanity, Habitats, Health, and Happiness.

Project H uses the power of the design process to catalyze communities and public education from within.

We are a team of designers and builders engaging in our own backyards to improve the quality of life for all. Our six-tenet design process (There is no design without (critical) action; We design WITH, not FOR; We document, share and measure; We start locally and scale globally; We design systems, not stuff; We build) results in simple and effective design solutions that empower communities and build collective creative capital.

Our specific focus is the re-thinking of environments, products, experiences, and curricula for K-12 education institutions in the US, including design/build Studio H high school program in the Bertie County School District, North Carolina.


This is perfect. I think the idea behind the whole project is outstanding. I would suggest to watch the TED talk yourself:

If you want to get deeper into the project read the article at design mind, the design blog of frog design. And since I am home in both categories: education and design. I would like to report about it some more here on better taste than sorry. Not only because of my diploma thesis, but it is also one reason. I need focus on that thing, but I don’t want to leave this blog behind so much, so I hope you might be interested in some insights into design and education, education with design, design education, education through design thinking and such…

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Education & Design