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Design for Change with Sanjli Gidwaney

Director of Design for Change USA Hosts Talk; Adds to Design-Thinking Conversations at Andover

Sanjli Gidwaney, Director of Design for Change (DFC) USA, presented on Thursday, November 12, 2015, about DFC, a curriculum and technology platform that builds character, capacity and confidence by engaging young people in social change projects. Her talk took place at the Tang Institute, in collaboration with Raj Mundra, Assistant Dean of Students and Instructor in Biology. She followed on a recent string of events on design thinking at Andover, including a talk with Michael Maness, Innovator in Residence at Harvard Business School, and the debut of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library’s new Makerspace.

DFC is the largest global movement of children driving change in their own communities. Four simple steps (Feel, Imagine, Do, Share) have changed 22 million lives.Through Design for Change, young people and adults are learning that “I Can” are the two most powerful words a person can believe. Young people across the nation and the world are paving the way to a new future.

DFC helps mentors working with any group of young people, from after-school clubs and extracurricular groups to classrooms and home-schoolers, provide the guidance for young people to develop and apply their strengths. To read DFC stories from the USA and around the world, please visit:

Design-Thinking at Andover

In its simplest form, design thinking is a process—applicable to all walks of life—of creating new and innovative ideas and solving problems. The approach presents great value from a teaching and learning standpoint. Many PA faculty members use human-centered design in some form in their classrooms and projects. Others have expressed an interest in learning more about the framework and its potential application to a variety of activities. The approach aligns with the institutional goals set forth in Andover’s strategic pillars of empathy, creativity, and innovation. It also offers an exciting opportunity to engage teachers and students in learning and applying a framework—and developing a skillset—that they can use and carry with them across diverse disciplines and activities, both at PA and beyond. Given its broad applicability, design thinking could be an important catalyst to realize these strategic goals.


One example of how PA students are involved in design-thinking is through the Niswarth Program, a Learning in the World summer service-learning program in India led by Program Director and Instructor in Biology Raj Mundra. In 2015, together with the Institute, Mundra welcomed educator and innovator Kiran Sethi to campus during the Design For Change Conference. Sethi is the founder of the Riverside School in Ahmedabad, India, and the visionary behind Design for Change. Every year, Niswarth student participants visit Sethi’s Riverside School, which functions as both a school and vibrant research center for cutting-edge education and teaching methods. Most recently, Andover and Exeter students collaborated with Riverside students to complete a Design for Change project. Together, they visited local schools, identifying strengths and weaknesses of each institution.

About Sanjli Gidwaney
Sanjli recently graduated from Harvard Graduate School of Education, with a focus on curriculum design and non-profit management. As Co-Director of Design for Change USA, she manages a national team of designers, educators, and technologists. Under her leadership, DFC has forged partnerships with notable organizations such as Teach for America, Strong Women Strong Girls, Ashoka, Harvard’s Good Work Team, and Stanford Design School. Sanjli has also collaborated with research groups at MIT’s Media Lab, industrial design firms and various NGOs to develop and conduct several hands on creativity workshops for children around the world including India, Kenya and the Dominican Republic. She believes in a pedagogy embedded in experiential learning and cross-curricular approaches.

design for change usaDiscover Design for Change USA

  • Who: Any group of young people (K-8) with an adult mentor e.g., teacher, parent, youth leader, coach.
  • How: Teams dream up and lead social change projects in their own schools/communities using DFC curriculum and training, along with the web portal and other resources.
  • What: Teams are expected to fully implement, present and submit their social change project to DFC USA by the deadline: May 15, 2016.
  • And Then: Each team is evaluated by an expert panel of judges, and is considered for the DFC Global Conference.
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