From “masterpiece” to “chaos” in one year: What can we learn about designing for people-first?

https://ny.curbed.com/2019/8/23/20828580/long-island-city-queens-public-library-opening-date This is the story of a library in Long Island, from its opening to a little over a year later. Landmark projects carry a lot of responsibility. Visually, aesthetically they make a mark, but still need to work for the people. “I’m sure that they didn’t have kids, because as a parent, you know […]

Leading change and innovation by design: Who’s on your mini-bus?

Last week someone asked me, “How would you describe what you do?” You might think professional traveller, designer, speaker, facilitator, and there probably is plenty of reason for thinking that, and I do those things. But I’m a ‘gut instinct’ kind of person and the first thought was… “transform culture” I think about, live, breathe […]

Imagining the outside environment: For learning, social connection, health, wellbeing… and FUN!

What are your memories of the playground from school? I remember dust bowls and knee-grazing asphalt (with the scars to prove it). I can speak from experience, as I went to three primary schools and two high schools. One school playground stood out above the others, Gymea North Public School in southern Sydney.  Source: https://www.gymeanorthps.com.au/ […]

Libraries: How might we describe them today? A living room, a bedroom, a study, a playground, an office, a friendly place.

I recently attended a GLEAM forum hosted by Hayball, short talks about galleries, libraries, education, the arts or museums, as the acronym suggests. This particular one was titled A Community Living Room: The evolving role of libraries. The speakers were Kim Sherwin from the City of Sydney Libraries and Joy Suliman, from the City of […]

Designing for Purpose: Clarity around the ‘WHY’ with serious fun!

Purpose to Practice Workshop Visual Representation Like me, you have probably been in workshops and think-tank sessions designed to bring fresh ideas to the surface. Yet, the same-old processes are used and the same-old people take the floor and the same-old solutions are implemented. Senge calls this the problem-fix loop and to uncover fresh ideas […]

6 Principles to support longevity and health in co-teaching teams: Reflecting on my own experience

I commenced my teaching career unconventionally, as a teacher-librarian. ‘Literature and library skills’, that was about the extent of the briefing for the job.   Me, circa 1982, taking a ‘Library Lesson’ whatever that was? A few years later, I faced my very first class of Year 1 students. Who in their right mind would […]

The learning debate is nothing new, it goes way back: Dismbodied Universals vs Contextualised Particulars

In 1896, John and Mary Dewey opened their laboratory school, Dewey wished to ensure that learning was grounded in real-world contexts and activities rather than abstract ideas and rote learning… the educational process should mimic normal social behaviour, as opposed to the regimented kind of work he witnessed in traditional schools. Gislason, N (2009) Building Paradigms: […]

Destination Christchurch 2019: What I learnt about learning?

It’s the learners who matter, not the curriculum, not the teacher, not the timetable, the learners. This past week Christchurch-based colleague, Cheryl Doig and I facilitated a week of professional learning for Sydney-based school leaders. Sharing my reflections here: We visited school working within the NZ system and simultaneously stretching boundaries of ‘what’s possible’. These […]

Is design thinking a nice idea for the creatives-types or a strategy for transformation? 3 ways leaders create the context for transformation by design

https://hbr.org/2019/03/the-right-way-to-lead-design-thinking Leading change today requires a set of skills that is responsive to the collaborative and empathic culture that many organisations now value. In times past, leadership was transactional, aimed at efficiencies and relationships, negotiated within a hierarchical structure. Sustaining a culture that is built on empathy and collaboration, requires an approach that values people […]

Collaboration – where do you begin? Six steps for your design team to get collaborative

A couple of days ago I concluded the three day Design for the Long Haul workshop with the team of teachers from an elementary school in Toronto. The ideas around learning design-thinking, collaboration and empathy mapping were relatively new to most of them. But they were up for the challenge. As a methodology, design-thinking is […]