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IDEO Design Thinking Ambassadors Program

Empowering young people by offering them skills and opportunities to practice Design Thinking will cultivate creative confidence. This program sends Design Thinking Ambassadors to local schools to foster a new generation of creative problem-solvers.

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Empowering young people by offering them skills and opportunities to practice Design Thinking will cultivate creative confidence. While creativity is often perceived as residing in the Arts, Design Thinking can cultivate creativity in young people who are interested in Math, Science, Engineering, Social Studies, Writing, AND the Arts. The IDEO Design Thinking Ambassadors Program will send Design Thinkers to local schools to help teach young people the art of Design Thinking while fostering a new generation of creative problem-solvers. Local and regional design challenges will form the basis of this curricular unit that can be incorporated into Math, Science, Engineering, Social Studies and Arts.



A fellowship program sponsored by IDEO to send Ambassadors of Design Thinking out into schools and communities across the world to engage young people in the art of creative problem solving, and in doing so, cultivate their creative confidence while sparking social change.

The Ambassadors deploy to schools and bring a 4 week curriculum module to fit into either a class or curricular unit. Over the course of the program students are introduced to the core concepts of design thinking and learn to tackle problems using the tools of this process (Discovery, Interpretation, Ideation, Experimentation, Evolution).

Ambassadors work with the students to identify a problem or issue within their community that they would like to tackle.

While in residence in the school, the Ambassador also trains the teachers, and staff in Design Thinking for Educators and utilizes the Toolkit developed by IDEO. This important step allows for this process to be more than a one-time exercise.



The Ambassadors program connects motivated and gifted Design Thinkers with young people to encourage the next generation of creative problem solvers.


Though the program is run it is a national (and hopefully international) program. Ambassadors are trained at and sent across the country to schools and communities.


1. Ambassadors apply, are selected, and receive training from

2. School Districts, Individual Schools, or Communities contact and request an Ambassador come to work with them.

3. Once deployed Ambassadors work with students to identify a problem that they want to address.

4. Students take a leadership role in the entire process. The goal is to foster a sense of ownership and empowerment to tackle issues in their community whether large or small.

5. Kids become the “expert” on the topic and (through the design process) develop design solutions.

6. Solutions are presented in a forum that may be similar to a symposium. Ideas a taken seriously and shared with professionals or other“ experts” on the topic.

7. Ideas may be submitted to for sponsorship or other assistance to help implement.


How might you envision your idea spreading across geographies or cultures so that it inspires young people around the world to cultivate their creative confidence?

Ambassadors of Design Thinking can be recruited and trained from anywhere in the world and dispatched to schools and communities everywhere.

What skills, input or guidance would you like to receive from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea further?

Financial Cost guidance Feasibility of such a program working within state and private curricular systems and standards. Existing State and Local policy

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