Design Initiatives: What's new

Design Initiatives

The Design Initiatives team collaborates with partner school districts and community organizations, as well as with Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College students, faculty and staff, to develop innovative solutions to the “wicked” problems in education. To
achieve this, we use an intentional, collaborative, open-ended design process that values local context, diverse perspectives, intrapreneurial thinking and iterative testing of solutions.

“Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.” — Herbert Simon

Design Initiatives is focused on:

  1. Developing community design labs with our school district partners. In design labs, we guide school and district teams through using a design process to address challenges they identify. This professional learning opportunity for educators builds their capacity for bringing a creative design lens to problem-solving.

  2. Working with MLFTC faculty, staff and students to use design thinking and to develop an intrapreneurial mindset for our own work to promote innovation.

Our Approach

Our approach enables districts to lead their own change and offers a professional learning opportunity for educators that builds their capacity for creative problem-solving. By learning deeply about what matters to their stakeholders, developing hypotheses,
generating ideas and synthesizing solutions, schools and communities can transform what could be into what’s happening.

We are continually scanning the horizon of design thinking theory and practice, as well as looking for inspiration in fields beyond education, to generate unique experiences for each of our partners.



Scottsdale: Coronado Success Initiative

Design Challenge: How might we support a school’s turnaround effort through collaboration and design?

Kyrene Community Design Lab

Design Challenge: How might we design a school of and for the future?

Avondale Community Design Lab

Design Challenge: How might each of the district’s schools design a unique identity for themselves?

Avondale ESD Launches “A Future Without Limits”

Madison Community Design Lab

Design Challenge: How might the district’s leadership team become more innovative in their approach to problem-solving?