Design Thinking for School Leaders: Five Roles and Mindsets That Ignite Positive Change

Design Thinking for School Leaders: Five Roles and Mindsets That Ignite Positive Change

Alyssa Gallagher

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Design is the rendering of intent. What if education leaders approached their work with the perspective of a designer? This new perspective of seeing the world differently is desperately needed in schools and begins with school leadership.

Alyssa Gallagher and Kami Thordarson, widely recognized experts on Design Thinking, educational leadership, and innovative strategies, call this new perspective design-inspired leadership--one of the most powerful ways to ignite positive change and address education challenges using the same design and innovation principles that have been so successful in private industry.


Design Thinking for School Leaders explores the changing landscape of leadership and offers practical ways to reframe the role of school leader using Design Thinking, one step at a time. Leaders can shift from accidental designers to design-inspired leaders, acting with greater intention and achieving greater impact. You'll learn how viewing the world through a more empathetic lens--a critical first step on the path to becoming a design-inspired leader--can raise your awareness of the uniqueness of your teachers and students and prompt you to question the ways in which they experience your school.


Gallagher and Thordarson detail five specific roles to help you identify opportunities for positively impacting students, teachers, districts, parents, and the community:


  • Opportunity Seeker. Shifts from problem solving to problem finding.
  • Experience Architect. Designs and curates learning experiences.
  • Rule Breaker. Challenges the way things are always done.
  • Producer. Gets things done and creates rapid learning cycles for teams.
  • Storyteller. Captures the hearts and minds of a community.

Full of examples of Design Thinking in action in schools across the country, Design Thinking for School Leaders can help you guide your school to the forefront of the new design + education movement, one that will move traditional education into the modern world and drive the future of learning.

Dimensions (WxH):
5.9 x 8.9
Publication Date:
May 23, 2018