Design Suite

Develop innovative solutions to take action on your most pressing school challenges using the design thinking framework.


Learn More

Design Suite Overview

Our Design Suite of programs helps school teams use design thinking to develop solutions that prioritize student needs and tackle pressing challenges that specific student groups face. Teams may participate in any or all of the programs below.

Summer Design Program

In our Summer Design Program, you can partner with The Fund and Leadership+Design to engage in Design Studios — interactive one-day workshops that equip your team with skills to conduct empathy interviews, use design thinking-based problem-solving, and create prototypes of solutions to accelerate learning in your school.

Design Coaching to Implement

With support from experienced design thinking coaches, you can use yearlong, tailored coaching and group learning to guide implementation, support, and sustain your design solution effectively.

To measure impact and better understand how your team is evolving and developing skills, we closely monitor student outcomes associated with your project. 

Design Challenge

This annual competition promotes innovative thinking, celebrates exceptional design solutions, and encourages healthy and productive competition among you and your colleagues in other schools. Summer Design Program participants, Design Coaching to Implement participants, and teams from any other public schools in Chicago are welcome to participate. Your team will pitch your project to a panel of independent judges to compete for cash prizes of up to $10,000 to fund your design thinking initiative.

Design Webinars

These webinars educate you and your team on a specific facet of the design thinking framework and how to use it to develop a solution to a pressing challenge your students are facing. They also prepare you to pitch your solution to the judges in the Design Challenge.

Webinars will cover:

  1. Empathy Interviewing and Data Analysis
  2. Ideation and Prototyping
  3. Testing and Iterating Solutions


  • Summer Design Program: A prototype of an innovative solution to a specific challenge in your school that you can implement in the current school year.                                                                                             
  • Design Coaching to Implement: Exposure to the full cycle of the design thinking process from identifying a design opportunity to full-scale piloting.
  • Design Challenge: Funding for your innovative solution to a specific challenge in your school that you developed as part of SDP or with the assistance of our Design Webinars.                                                                                                           
  • Design Webinars: Deep knowledge of specific tenants of the design thinking framework and readiness to design and implement a solution to a pressing challenge in your school.

Who Should Apply? 

Principals, assistant principals, or teacher leaders in Chicago’s public schools who want to address pressing issues affecting their students, and who want to develop their leadership capacity through innovation.


“SDP was an opportunity for us to look up from our data charts and into the faces we serve.”

Principal Folasade Adekunle

Sayre Elementary Language Academy

Pin It on Pinterest