Reflections from iDiploma on Design for Healthy Living Module | I wonder


What an incredible week! Part of the work of an Innovation Diploma member is that they take more ownership over their learning by writing weekly reflections to capture their thinking and their growth. This week, I wanted to share some excerpts that might give others a window into their journey. Essentially, I see each of these excerpts as beginning to build a set of design thinking principles based on their current understandings and experiences.

Principle 1: Design thinking is a human-centered process.

One of the things I’ve always found fascinating about design thinking is how much an interview can change the way you think about something. You go from observing one problem to being indirectly told another. And sometimes you end up with a nice neat little package at the end that solves all of the problems and you get to feel good about it, but sometimes you don’t. Sometimes that underlying itch of “I solved one thing, but not the other” is left. And I think that itch is what keeps people designing and rethinking and solving. There will always be some problem in the world. And as long as there are problems, someone out there will keep solving them. Kat’s full post

Principle 2: Making mistakes, even failing at first, is okay – it’s part of the learning journey.

Through this process of collecting feedback, figuring out functionality, and modifying our plans we forgot two very important things: To actually include the comfortable/relaxation part of the room and to actually make a decision. Maybe it was our subconscious that made us forget about actually making a mark on the wall of the room and install something, because I think we were a little afraid…a little afraid that we would make a huge mistake and that people would be disappointed in us. Catherine’s full post

But the thing that I’m taking away that goes beyond the details of this challenge is that we can get so bogged down by a process, or the concept of something being “done” that we are afraid to just get our thoughts out there for people to see. Margaret’s full post

Principle 3: We prototype to learn.

Today, Wednesday, October 14th, we did some interviews and checked up on our creation yet again. Our prototype, which now had 30 uses, was a great success, an interview with the custodial staff revealed that it wasn’t just helping solve the problem of recycling, it was helping the room be significantly cleaner. In response to this information, we asked what room was the dirtiest of all the middle school classrooms, and put the prototype to the test in there. Philip’s full post

I gained more insight and understanding about our issue by being pushed to “ship” our idea so quickly. I could have interviewed for a few more weeks to get more information, but what ended up happening is that I got the same amount of information simply by throwing my thoughts into some popsicle sticks and hot glue in hopes that people would be able to see what I was thinking.Margaret’s full post

As we developed this Design for Healthy Living Module, we built this framework to help us as facilitators keep track of what we wanted our students to be able to do by the end of the module:

Driving Questions:

  • How might we continue to use our observations as a problem-seeking tool for future ventures?
  • How might we use design thinking as a methodology for problem-solving?

Enduring Understandings:

  • Richer observations require deeper questioning and many voices.
  • Design thinking is a human-centered approach to solving problems.


  • Creativity – Idea Generation (EL21)
  • Creativity – Openness and Courage to Explore (EL21)
  • Creativity – Creative Production and Innovation (EL21)
  • Communication – Listening (EL21)
  • Critical Thinking – Information and Discovery (EL21)
  • Critical Thinking – Problem Solving/Solution Finding (E21)

*Innovation Diploma uses EdLeader21 4 C’s as the standards as our target learning skills.

Knowing that this is what we’re working toward, I look at each of the excerpts from the posts above as just one part of our method to measure the growth against these standards. And this measurement, while it’s not as neat looking as a 92 or an 84, begins to paint a clearer picture of growth toward proficiency as a design thinker.

Reflections from iDiploma on Design for Healthy Living Module | I wonder.

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