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Design Thinking Educators’ Conference

Submit a Proposal

Come share your insights from experience or research.

You may already have a topic you would like to address at the conference, or you may want to explore one of the following topics:

  • How to foster comfort with uncertainty and ambiguity, when students/participants often crave certainty?
  • How to foster DT in the virtual environment?
  • How to assess student/participant engagement, skill development and proficiency, and the quality of design outcomes/products?
  • How to ensure process facilitation is democratic and inclusive and invite and integrate marginalized perspectives?
  • How to help students/participants glean meaningful insight from research?
  • What other approaches (e.g., Agile, Behavioural Insights, Theory U) are compatible with DT and how to integrate them?
  • How to identify fitting opportunities to apply DT?
  • How to overcome barriers presented by classroom or organizational culture for longer-term integration of DT?
  • How to help students/participants better operationalize true empathy for end users and listen for insight?
  • How to more strategically apply DT to social and environmental challenges?
  • How to expand our teaching or facilitation toolkits? (frameworks, techniques, resources, technologies, etc.)
  • How to help elicit more novel and meaningful ideas and design solutions?
  • How to harness existing opportunities presented by classroom or organizational culture (norms, values, beliefs, power, structures, etc.) for longer-term and more effective integration of DT?
  • How to identify promising avenues for further research?

Facilitating a Session: Four Ways to Present

Do you have a design thinking activity, tool/technique, or research topic to share? Have you been working on something that inspires you and that you think would inspire others? Would you like to facilitate a conversation to help uncover new approaches to address a DT teaching or facilitation challenge?

Consider submitting a proposal that fits any of the following formats:

Professional Development Workshop (55 minutes)

You will facilitate participants in a hands-on engagement in a design thinking activity. Participants will leave the session with ideas for how they might lead such an activity in their own practice.

Facilitated Discussion (55 minutes)

You will facilitate discussion around an area of challenge for those who lead and teach design thinking, with the goal of unearthing multiple perspectives and developing collective insight. It is recommended that you propose a topic you are grappling with, and around which you would appreciate insight from others in the field, for example, “How can design thinking be facilitated for remote workers?” or “How to introduce design thinking into a hierarchical culture?”

Tips and Tools Presentation (20 minutes)

Share a brief “here’s what worked—or didn’t work—for me” presentation. Do you have an experience of leading or teaching design thinking about which others would benefit from knowing? Do you have an exercise that you have used in your professional or teaching practice that worked particularly well—or didn’t? Come share it with the community.  Suggested format: Maximum 10-15 minutes presentation, with 5-10 minutes Q and A. You may also choose to use your 20 minutes entirely interactively, for example, to lead participants in an activity. You are encouraged to share resources (e.g., handouts, session plans) that would help others in benefiting from your experience

Research Presentation (20 minutes)

Are you researching strategies for better fostering design thinking in the workplace or postsecondary classroom? Come share your knowledge. Suggested format: Maximum 10-15 minutes presentation, with 5-10 minutes Q and A.

Some sessions covering similar themes may run concurrently. All conference sessions will be recorded, and these recordings will be made available to all registrants.

Proposal Submission Details

Submit a brief proposal using the form provided. Your session proposal submission will answer the following questions:

  • What is your session description – approximately 200 words (will be used in the conference schedule)
  • What is the challenge or issue of concern you are addressing for design thinking educators? (maximum 100 words)
  • How will your session equip attendees with skills or knowledge to address this challenge? (maximum 100 words)
  • What are your preliminary ideas for making this session participatory? (maximum 100 words)
  • We aim to include a diversity of new and experienced design thinking educators/leaders. Could you describe your experience leading or educating for design thinking? (maximum 50 words)

Copyright and ethics: Please ensure you have permission to use any copyrighted material that you include in your submission or your session, and that any research with human participants has received ethical review request approval.

Deadline for proposal submission: October 15, 2021

Notice of acceptance of proposals and a request for a detailed session outline will be issued in the week of November 22, 2021.