I believe in the creative power of students to enhance their learning environments.
For the last eight years, I’ve been working on various initiatives to empower youth through design thinking processes and experiential learning activities. Throughout this journey, I’ve always been amazed by students’ capacity to inspire possibility by creating opportunities for leadership and learning in their classrooms, schools and communities.
Whether it’s been developing annual student-led leadership conferences, community engagement initiatives or planning school assemblies, design thinking has always been an amazing tool for student leadership and every educator, activity coordinator and youth facilitator would greatly benefit from learning how to facilitate this process.
But, what is design thinking for student leadership?
I define it as a creative process that allows students to explore leadership and experience learning through design and to effect a positive impact in their surroundings.
About a year ago, I worked with a group of middle school students to design new parent engagement tools - their designs ranged from informational videos to completely reconfiguring parent nights. Their products were astonishing, but their creative process was the real magic. After concluding this leadership lab, a teacher approached me with one question that hasn't left my mind since then: "When are you going to write a book about design thinking for student leadership?"
Almost a year later, here I am, without a book in hand, but committed to begin the process.
As I complete my first e-book on the topic, I will be posting brief previews to offer ideas, activities and other resources for how to use design thinking for student leadership.
Above all, my biggest motivation for completing this project is what a student told me after engaging in the design thinking process:
“I never knew my dreams to improve my school could be designed into reality. I never thought this was leadership.”
To which I answered:
“Yes, it is possible. Yes, it is leadership.”
Let’s begin designing!