Recent Design Initiatives blog posts

Systems level change in education: New article

Designing the futures of STEM education

From being to becoming: Keynote by Dr. Shawn Loescher

Measuring what matters: A convening

Designing Theory: New article

Design Initiatives

Our Work

How might we… foster intrapreneurial mindsets in teacher candidates? Design a school that provides dynamic learning experiences for students? Support rural teachers in increasing student engagement?

The Design Initiatives team brings principled innovation to educational systems through collaborative, design-based problem-solving.

We believe the design process is a powerful approach to addressing challenges in education. We collaborate with partners across the education landscape to develop mindsets and cultures that value creativity and intrapreneurship--creating change and taking risks to improve an organization from within.

Our goals:

  • Work with partners to design innovative solutions to educational challenges
  • Build capacity in our partners for intrapreneurial thinking and bringing a designer’s mindset to problem-solving
  • Provide professional learning opportunities that are grounded in local contexts while encouraging a global and future-oriented vision

Our Approach

In our work, we view schools and other educational organizations as complex social systems with multiple stakeholders involved in defining their goals, functions and processes. These systems face challenges that are fraught with ambiguity and complexity and vary based on their specific contexts.

We use an intentional, collaborative, open-ended design process that starts with building relationships and learning deeply about what matters to stakeholders. This new form of professional learning for educators and leaders is an iterative process that gives control of change and innovation to those closest to the challenges. We value action guided by empathy, diverse perspectives and experimentation.

Our Partners


We work with students, staff and faculty at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and throughout ASU to bring the design process and intrapreneurial thinking into courses, programs of study, strategic planning and our daily work.

In the community

We partner with schools, school districts and community organizations to collaboratively design new approaches to challenges and build capacity for principled innovation.


How might we support staff within MLFTC to create positive change in our college?

mlftc cross staff initiative

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

Teachers discussing something around a table

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

Coronado Design Day

How might we design dynamic learning experiences for students and reinvigorate the teaching profession with newly crafted staffing structures?

Man and woman look at poster about designing an innovative school

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

Madison Leadership Team shows off their project

How might a small, rural school redesign its junior high curriculum to increase student engagement and learning?

A classroom in Miami, AZ

How might we begin to develop changemaker mindsets in first-year students at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College through an introductory college course?

First year MLFTC students

How might we foster intrapreneurial mindsets in teacher candidates?

Teacher candidates brainstorm with post-it notes on a whiteboard