This work is a labor of love—not only mine. People like you have offered the observations, principles, ideas, and experiments that have evolved this work. They've shared their experiences with me and the world.
Please reach out! Your experiences propel this work, and I'm always glad to help in any way (firstname.lastname@example.org). Till we speak, a bit more about me and some of those amazing contributors...
Ela Ben-Ur is passionate about seeing people of all ages articulate and amplify their natural ways of making things better. She has worked and co-experimented deeply with educators and organizations interested in design thinking since 2012. Ela worked 13 prior years at renowned innovation firm IDEO. Her design practice and leadership at IDEO spanned diverse industries, geographies and sectors. She went on to coach teams, facilitate for clients and co-found IDEO’s Leadership Studio for developing project leaders. Ela has taught courses from product design to life design at pioneering Olin College since 2007. She’s led workshops at venues from MIT (her alma mater) to the National Science Teachers’ Association, AIGA, International Development Design Summit, and US Conference on AIDS. Her 5- and 7-year old daughters are her inspiration.
More at her professional site, i2iexperience.com.
Sue Borchardt is a "Research Artist" at Harvard Graduate School of Education who helps people see and use cool concepts through animated videos, and through her own active involvement in the nonprofit sector. She's used the Compass in her own life and work and to inspire others in places like the Baltimore Impact Hub, and is an inspiration in how to communicate this work.
Though these two principals are at different San Diego area schools (High Tech High and Vista Innovation and Design Academy), it seems like you always find them together, and always find them with their teachers.
Through their teaching at the High Tech High graduate school of education, Eric and Kaleb have introduced new generations of educators and administrators to the Compass—like Dawn McWilliams.
K-12 administration, San Diego, CA
Eric Chagala Bio Compass-Tweets
Kaleb Rashad Website Compass-Tweets
James' first compass experience was when he came to my mentor session at SXSWedu in 2017 and asked me to tell him about the Compass. I suggested that instead we use the 10 minutes on a challenge in his life—and we got all the way to experiments! Now he's using at strikingly different levels at the Atlanta Girls School—helping staff at both thinking about their mission—"Inspiring Girls to Lead Lives of Purpose" at both an organizational and personal level.
Erwin and I met at Otto Scharmer's programs many years back—and I was thrilled when he reached back out about using the Compass in his work to galvanize young entrepreneurs in Singapore. Erwin’s explored the Compass with high schoolers developing their entrepreneurship & design skills (e.g. improving the visitor’s experience at a Science Center). Now at Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise, raiSE), he’s incorporating the compass for or use by local social entrepreneurs.
Social & Education Entrepreneurship, Singapore
Dan has a warm and familiar way of saying anything (maybe since he was an English teacher years before his work in Design Thinking consulting). That delights the people he facilitates, and has influenced my approach with the Compass since we co-led a workshop and coaching program for 10 New York area schools a number of years ago. He has used the Compass extensively in business, ed-tech, and higher education settings.
Design Thinking/Innovation Consultant, Cambridge, MA
Michael was one of the first K-12 educators "in the sandbox." In his multiple during- and after-school Innovators for Purpose programs, we tried the compass in all kind of ways. A simple compass conversation that turned around a student's homework challenges was so loved by everyone who reviewed my Chapter that it became the featured example. He's shown here with his version of an earlier compass.
K-12 education, Cambridge, MA
Kevin might just be the soul of the compass. A history and religion teacher, he was discovering Design Thinking just as I was really digging into developing the Compass, and we helped each other grow. He gave the Compass its current name and started the hashtag.
Kevin always invites me to see how it can connect not just intellectually, but emotionally and even spiritually with people.
K-12 education, Monterey CA
Meli has worked in both startup schools and startup companies in recent years,and has Meli has found the Compass helpful in navigating their growing pains together.
Entrepreneur, New York, New York
Tim Hall's creativity knows no bounds—he's paired poets and entrepreneurs together to help one another.
He also invented the Pocket Compass folding card—which let people like Audrey O'Clair completely change the dynamic of the first workshop/meeting in which they used the Compass. And, let people like Kevin Day and Garrett Mason carry it to faraway places in Tahoe and Malawi, respectively.
College Residence, Boston, MA
@HassanTwice has been a wonderful supporter and co-experimenter. He uses a version of the Compass as a guide for 4.0 Schools' Essentials program, and to help hold together the wonderful tools it provides.
But he's also welcomed me into the 4.0 Schools fold of education innovators and entrepreneurs. I've gained so much from opportunities to learn from, and share my work with, the 4.0 family.
Education Innovation, New Orleans, LA
Michael surely inspires me more than the other way around—his work with his high school cinema & journalism students, and how he brings them on his quest for social justice through digital storytelling. He's offered the compass to them as they embark and reflect on that journey together, and as they design media for their audiences.
Karl teaches graduate Visual Communication Design in New Zealand and has used an adapted compass to turn Honours year students synthesis of their work from a written proposal to an active workshop, experiment, and exhibition of their experimental outcomes.
A former first grade teacher, Ann is a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) supporting both teachers and students with the innovative and instructional use of technology. And, she has used and shared the compass with the CUE Rockstar community—thank you Ann!
Caitrin, an anthropologist, has been an amazing co-pilot as we've experimented with the Compass together in our Olin course Engineering for Humanity for Students to design not only something that will make a difference in an older adult's life in the community, but also to design their own individual, team, and class experiences in the course. And, to begin to design their role as a designer in society. More about that course here and under Resources.
Caitrin is also using the Compass in her other classes.
College education, Needham, MA
Tara is a fireball. She's also an educator, instructional coach, author and speaker, who recently became an administrator. She passionately recognized the sensitivity of her role with those she served. She found the Compass through Audrey O'Claire, and fused it with her R.E.A.L. approach in working with individuals to see and support their personal and professional goals. Now she's sharing that combined approach in her writing and speaking.
K-12 Coach and Administrator, Lawrence, KS
Garrett has been the most-travelled compass user—bringing it to CorpsAfrica volunteers in Malawi and Morocco. He's shared it in the most diverse settings—from the Corps Africa community challenges to the National Science Teachers Association STEM education challenges, to New Orleans Public Library challenges.
He's also the person who said "This might change the world" to me back in January 2017, just when I needed to hear those words as I was diving into full investment in this work.
K-12 education and International Development, Longmont, CO
Dawn's work and impact in her Aurora, CO school, and humility about it, are simply inspiring. Dawn and I are on the phone all the time. She's always calling me just before, or just after, she's done something new with the Compass—with all combinations of students, staff, parents, specialists, and administrators. She's always pushing me for new tools (e.g. the Compass with large visual icons for her highly international parent population), and always eager to give her observations.
Caroline has used the Compass almost daily in her high school computer classes at Prospect Hill Academy charter school—more about it here. As they learned to design apps, Caroline's students used Compasses to draw on inspiration from other apps; design their app and their daily tasks on it; capture observations and feedback as they test their app with users; do their final class reflections.
K-12 education, Cambridge, MA
At the end of 2017, Hieu—then a Computer Engineering senior at Olin College, who’d taken two of my three classes—asked if he could show me something.
That something was the online Compass app—which instantly blew my mind, and filled a need many people had voiced to me. He then dedicated endless hours to testing and evolving it together.
Audrey O'Clair has seen no boundaries in her Compass passion and experimentation—from her family's major transitions, to her work coaching special education and ed-tech. I've learned so much from how she creates powerful environments and experiences for all kinds of participants by very simply introducing and using the Compass.
Erin is magical at stirring up creativity in people of all ages. It’s been an inspiration to know her. And to see her writing about working with a class to use the Compass, alongside other wonderful tools, to design their own, inclusive, culture.
Valeria has taken the Compass itself to new languages—Spanish and sketchnotes—in her passion to share it with others. That includes her local classroom as they struggled to find their own video voice and work through their hurricane Irma experience.
It also includes the larger communities that follow her as a passionately creative science teacher @GA_ScienceRodva and as sketchnoting guru @ValeriaSketches.
Dan Ryder—@WickedDecent—embodies the energy, optimism, inclusion, and relentless innovation of Design Thinking educators. He inspires K-12 educators around the country as he shares his experiences over twitter and his blog. He also brings them to tears as he interweaves humor and improv.
He was an early Compass experimenter and recently wrote a Medium piece highlighting a a project he did with his English students using the Compass that bridged English and Engineering.
A participant in my very first educational coaching program, Ari has stayed in touch and experimented with the compass in both educational and family settings—his blog about compassing school lunch is great.
K-12 administration, early & special education, school psychology, Washington, DC
So many more to thank...
Many more Compass experimenters on Twitter. And others like Artemis Akchoti, Aram Armstrong, Coeylen Barry, Linda Gerard, Sara Hendren, Jenny Jin, Michael Ninh, Kaija Peters...
Help with words and graphics: HUGE shout-out to Kara Krumpe, Daniel Koff, and Tim Sauder for their work on the latest set of compass graphics and tools! Further heartfelt thanks to Jennifer Audette, Kelly Sherman, and Amy Leventhal on the earlier language and graphics. The fonds used are Century Gothic (very common) and Mix Sonatina (the handwriting, by wonderful Mikko Sumulong).
Help with video: Gregory Mang
Help with this website Kathleen McKissack
The incredible support and community of 4.0 Schools
The light and memory of longtime friends and IDEOers Rhonda LeRocque and David Duncanson. Lost too soon to the Las Vegas mass shooting, and to cancer, respectively, I wish that this work might help us move forward on challenges like these.