We each experience our world with a unique perspective. If we can tap into how to communicate and learn about the experiences of others, we have the gift to look beyond what we originally see. It is in that space that new connections, ideas and potential solutions live.
Community-driven design can bring us closer to innovating in spaces that have embraced the status quo. It’s a framework that encourages us to listen, look and trust in the power of collective insight and creativity, increasing the opportunity for multiple stakeholders to be shared visionaries and decision makers in their communities. It can transform school districts, organizations, and municipalities in an impactful way.
There’s not one definition of Design Thinking and there are many interpretations of a Design Process. For me, Design Thinking is creative problem solving that begins with an awareness of people, power and equity. From there we learn as much as we can about the experiences of others in order to identify collective “north stars”. Standing in a better place of understanding, we begin to brainstorm potential ideas to try in the greater community. After gathering feedback, we improve on our original ideas and continue to reflect on the process as a whole.
This process is strengthen by the following Community Considerations:
Being open to giving and getting from collective creativity.
Being open to discomfort as a catalyst for shared insight.
Being open to a co-constructed understanding of design thinking and community-driven design.
“I have seen my fair share of ‘innovations’…however, I can honestly say that I have never felt as optimistic about the future as I do now.”
“I feel empowered…I am grateful to Angie for providing the space, support and structure that allows educators, community members and scholars to connect and create positive and effective change in our small and large worlds.”
“Innovation is at the forefront of this experience…but the spirit of collegiality of the community has supported me to keep going.”
“This has been a unique opportunity to look at challenges with a new and positive lens…the time, space and coaching has been instrumental in helping to build our team’s skill sets as collaborators and designers.”
“One year into its existence, it is influencing the culture of our school district. At the same time that we seek to institutionalize equity, rigor, and joyful learning, the dLab provides strategies for avoiding rigidity and stagnation. Just as we want our students to become lifelong learners, our organization is learning what it means to be learning.”
“So, now we’re all in this together. We keep taking on our design challenges and shifting our roles and culture. We’re turning to each other to bravely face and reframe our problems and play with the possibilities in a ‘space’ that’s bigger than we ever imagined.”
Angie UyHam is committed to creating opportunities with communities to invent novel solutions and to leverage partnerships in a powerful new way. Angie received her M.B.A. from Babson College, M.Ed. from Boston University, and B.A. from the University of Michigan. For the past two decades, she has worked deeply with a variety of communities. Angie is passionate about the intersection of education, innovation and social change and is working on how communities can change the way problems are addressed as a new model for collective design. She believes that we’re all innovators when given the time, space, and opportunity to do so.
If you are interested in working with Angie as a co-designer, facilitator, consultant or coach, you can learn more about her work at:
Specialties include: human-centered design, equity-centered design, community-driven design, entrepreneurship, building partnerships, fostering collaborations, strategy, leadership and learning.