Design Thinking in Bangladesh and @Hamlin

Extreme_Poster_11x17_HR_032113_2On Sunday May 3rd, a committed group of Hamlin parents and students came together to watch the inspiring and thought-provoking documentary Extreme by Design, then participate in their own design workshop led by Head of School, Wanda Holland Greene.  The film delves into the life of the Institute of Design at Stanford, demonstrating how creative, collaborative thinking can, and does, change the world.  Among other global locations, the film traces the design process through Stanford students working in Bangladesh to build a cost efficient breathing device to help prevent infant pneumonia deaths.  After the film, participants were able to converse with the Director Ralph King Jr..  King Jr. shared astute observations about making the film, and was particularly engaging with Hamlin students.  He encouraged the students to think profoundly about their role in the world and their potential to change lives globally.

In the second half of the session, Ms. Holland Greene guided participants through the first three phases of a design thinking workshop.  The challenge put forth was to redesign the school wide “Back to School Picnic” for next fall.  Using Stanford-inspired design-thinking, participants began with “Empathize.”  This first phase was dedicated to exploring the emotions and feelings surrounding the picnic.  Participants shared a wide array of mental states, everything from “excited” to “curious”, to “self-conscious.”  The second phase was “Define,” exploring what people felt the event needed.  From this phase words like “inclusive,” “belonging”, and “smaller groups” emerged as needs.  In the last phase, audience members worked together to “Ideate,” and create an outline for an initial plan.  From this third creative designing phase, people came up with a myriad of ideas, including participating in service work projects by grade level, as a component of the picnic day.  All this wonderful thinking was recorded and will be taken into consideration during the forthcoming “Prototype” phase.  The film and workshop provided a thoughtful blend of inspiration, and practical, hands on, idea making.

Special thanks to Meghan Schwartz and Melissa Buckley for coordinating this engaging event.

To watch the trailer for Extreme by Design visit:

To learn more about design thinking from Stanford visit:


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