The History of Design Thinking With Dr England & Dr Ladds

One of our colleagues, Trudie, was talking about the history of design thinking; she was talking about education and how schools before the industrial revolution was actually far more one-to-one based or two people working together. The environment, if you look back at the photos of the spaces, show that we’re actually going back to those kinds of teaching and learning techniques. This was on a much more personal level, in comparison to the one size fits all mass education that came about in the industrial revolution for a particular purpose. You are walking into a factory, you’re clocking in, you’re clocking off. Schooling was used to facilitate that mindset and teach you how to follow a particular routine. We’re now moving into a time where problem solving and creativity are becoming far more important and working together in a team. Therefore, the schooling and the environment that we are providing need to link with that. The big question is, there’s almost polarized parallel development here. Internationally people move on to a point where they decide and quit their thinking relatively rapidly, whereas in the UK, there seems to be a significant lag behind the need for empathy, accountability, creativity, and problem solving generated in learning habitats. However, we stick to what we know. What’s our thinking on this? I think that’s because there’s comfort. Change is not comfortable. If you can’t see the benefits, then why change? Change is a very difficult thing to bring about because it’s about mindset. So we need to take the information we have, take the evidence, and show that this will have an impact. This is quite a difficult thing to do because why change if you’re happy? Why would you change? If the education worked for you, why not do the same for your children? It’s about teaching people about looking forward rather than looking back.  We don’t train our rugby players and athletes as they trained thirty years ago because they would win nothing. So when it comes to sports, which in many ways, sports and society clubs are a bit of a beacon. You’re right on the cutting edge of many global developments. We train people looking forward. And, yet, we don’t do it in education. And is it a funding issue? People complain about the NHS. It is broken, but it’s probably the most underfunded national health service in the world so of course it’s broken as there is not much money. Is the same true for training teachers in education? It could be, but I’m going to come back to something and it probably won’t surprise you. I’m going to say it’s going to come back to the process. As a chemist, everything is about the process that you’re working through. In order to change a process, you need to prove a concept first. You actually have to sit down, look at the process, and then once you’ve got an adjustment to that process, that’s when the funding can then come in. You’ve got the information, you’ve done the research, you’ve gathered the data, so you can actually show people the impact that this will have because of x y and z. If you don’t do that, if there’s not enough people saying or showing this, then why would people change? Yeah. There’s a philosophy that says we can’t change all of them, so it demonstrates the success of a new system. So it’s essentially fighting a losing battle. So obviously, we’re a long way ahead of everybody in terms of demonstrating the impact of what we do in gathering the data. My question is now how can we lower the impact to emanate outputs so that people today understand that there is a new way of freedom out there and that people should be moving forward and buying into it. For me, it’s something that I’ve also learned this week. I’ve learned a lot this week. It’s understanding each stakeholder and the impact that the change will have on each stakeholder because that’s going to be unique. So therefore, the way in which you articulate the change of the process to that stakeholder and the impact that it will have on them is very, very different. Therefore, the teacher’s perception, the governor’s perception, the government perception, the ISI inspection perception, we are all wearing a different set of glasses. To be able to show an individual the impact of a change in the process, you must speak their language. So that for me is my takeaway from this week. It’s having a plural approach, lots of different perspectives. I also feel that now a hybrid model of leadership is required which moves forward to problem solve for the future. It does look to me as if there is a leadership development vacuum there that we should be supporting in terms of helping heads understand. You’re dealing with a particular stakeholder who is currently at the top of a particular tree or a school. The responsibilities of that person in that position vary so much depending on the school and the skill set that they need. How schools attract the right person for that role is a question. It’s not down to that one person. It’s actually about the people who are involved in that. And that all comes down to a very different style of leadership. A very different style of structure of a school. It seems to me that the most successful and adaptable Heads, those we meet and those that have had another career preceding their education role, often bring a hybrid management style. It also brings a far more collaborative approach by understanding yourself and your skill set and realising your limitations.  Part of the legacy thinking in education management is that the teacher was the sole source of knowledge in the classroom. Heads often think that they should be the sole keeper of strategic thinking and skills development in the school.  My question for you is, where can we make a start? Is it with teacher training? And how are the new teachers trained? Is it working with the groups of leaders and coaching them to change things in the schools? Is it a group of people or a stakeholder group that you would put at the top that is open-minded and could seal this information and process it. How do we change that mindset? How do we make it a profession that people are really proud to be part of and not just a profession where, oh, I get long holidays?  If you look at the data for Finland or Sweden and look at the respect that the teachers get, and then look at the quality of the education that is actually provided there. The difference is incredible.  I’m going to give you an analogy; we’ve had snow here this week. There are some people who go outside, put the grit on the paths and roads, and scrape away the snow so that everybody can go on with their day. There are other people that sit back and watch and then wonder, well, why can’t I get out? Rather than actually saying something needs doing, let’s go and do something about it. However, we all know that it’s easier to sit back than it is to actually do something. We’ve been through a constant stage and sort of nanny state governments who have done things for people so they’ve stopped thinking about them? Or have we become complacent as a nation? I know from working in Africa where there is no welfare system at all, people couldn’t afford to be complacent or anything less than successful. Yeah. It’s the expectation. It’s the expectation that someone else will do it for you. Well somebody needs to change stuff, and that’s what we do at Noble and Eaton.  We do. Because when we go to a place, we don’t just say this is what you need to do. We actually understand the place and the culture and work with the people there to bring about change with them rather than just doing an add-on. We actually look from within and support that direction of change.