George Lucas Educational Foundation

Week Two: Discovery and Interpretation

This week we kick off our main design challenge and go through the first two steps of the Design Thinking process.

June 12, 2012

Design Challenge

Every design process begins with a specific and intentional problem to address -- we call this a Design Challenge. One of the hardest parts of the design process is framing a challenge that is approachable, understandable and actionable. It shouldn’t be too big, and it shouldn’t be too small. It shouldn’t be too vague, but it shouldn’t be too simple. For this course, we have framed your first challenge so you can focus on experiencing the tools and methods of design and give you the opportunity to work together and learn from each other. After collaborating on this first challenge, you’ll have a chance to choose your own!

Week Two Overview

  • Read: the overview & watch the videos on this page. This week, we'll go through the first two phases of a new design challenge.

  • Note: The Design Thinking for Educators collaboration space is no longer active, but please feel free to use the resources available here.

  • Keep: An open mind

  • Have: FUN!

Your Challenge

Times are changing, and changing fast. Technology has put immense amount of information at our fingertips, media has changed the way we connect with knowledge, and the social layers of our digital experiences have taught us that participation and collective dialog are the norm. It’s changing the way that we all interact today –- and, of course, influencing the study habits of today’s students. To keep up with changes in education, studying, collaborating, and learning, schools are looking to re-imagine the role and structure of libraries to best support today’s learner. For the next few weeks, your challenge is to understand the behaviors, needs, interests, and motivations of students so that you can help design a more ideal “library.”

How might we re-imagine the library for today’s learner?

Your first step is to learn more about this challenge. To understand the people you are designing for – their needs, interests and desires. Here, we’ll also seek inspiration beyond the library and the student to consider new ideas we hadn’t imagined before.

Phase One: Discovery

Discovery builds a solid foundation for your ideas. Creating meaningful solutions for students, parents, teachers, colleagues and administrators begins with a deep understanding for their needs. Discovery means opening up to new opportunities, and getting inspired to create new ideas.

After completing your discovery activities, you’ll be asked to interpret your observations.

Phase Two: Interpretation

Interpretation transforms your stories into meaningful insights. Finding meaning in your inspiration is how you create actionable opportunities for design. It involves storytelling, as well as sorting and condensing thoughts until you’ve found a compelling point of view and clear direction for the third phase, Ideation.

IDEO Voices: How do you get inspired? How do you make sense from it all?

Week 02 IDEO from Design Thinking for Educators on Vimeo.

Teacher Voices: How do you get inspired? How do you make sense from it all?

Week 02 Teacher from Design Thinking for Educators on Vimeo.

Watch these videos to learn more about the Discovery and Interpretation phases in the Design Thinking process and then head over to Week Two: Discovery and Interpretation. Make sure you've set up an account on

See you there!


You can ask questions of experienced designers/educators via live chat in the Main Room 10-11 am Pacific (1-2 pm Eastern), Monday through Thursday. On Mondays and Wednesdays, educators from Riverdale High School will be available to answer your questions. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, designers from IDEO will be there.

The Main Room is a chat window that will show at the bottom of your screen when you join the DT for ED Project Room. Those of us from Riverdale, IDEO, and Edutopia are happy to help!

You can also post questions in the Support Q&A group on the Ning.

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