A framework for changing the world.

How Design for Change Works

Design for Change equips young people to transform empathy into social action using 4 steps: Feel, Imagine, Do, Share.

Educators use DFC to facilitate a design process that fosters empathy and student agency.

Students brainstorm, plan, and execute service learning projects.

Feel :: Empathize


Students listen to a podcast about a social issue. They can also engage community members to go deeper.

Imagine :: Brainstrom


Students work as a team to brainstorm solutions - in the classroom or they go into the community to get feedback.

Do :: Prototype


Teams develop an action plan to be reviewed in the classroom or they go into the community and implement it.


Teams share their story with their peers and the community to generate awareness and inspire others to act.

Who: Middle school-aged students with an adult educator (teacher, parent, youth leader, coach, etc.)
What: Students work in teams to investigate social issues, brainstorm solutions, develop action plans, and implement their ideas. “Through” this process, they develop empathy, persistence, and resilience.
How: Educators guide students using the DFC methodology and dozens of free activities. Projects can range from 4 hours to weeks long. Projects are managed using our Online Educator Platform.
When: Teams submit their projects to DFC by May 15, 2020. Each team has the opportunity to be selected to represent the United States at the annual Design for Change Global Conference, held in a different country each year.

What We Do For You

  1. 1
    We elevate the work of educators:
    Because we believe educators are designers, Design for Change equips all educators to be leaders in the design thinking process and provides them with tools, resources, training, and coaching in the DFC methodology.
  2. 2
    We support student-driven social impact:
    Educators facilitate each stage of the Feel, Imagine, Do, Share process, enabling students to respond and take action on a local issue they are passionate about.
  3. 3
    We connect you and your students to a global network:
    By participating in Design for Change, students join a coalition of young people creating social change around the world by designing solutions to address the UN Global Goals.

Why Design Thinking?

After years of experience in education and design, we know that students have the capacity to make immediate change in their communities and that design thinking provides a framework for driving that change. Through innovative and collaborative design experiences, students apply critical thinking and creative problem-solving.

The Global Connection

Every year, student teams from around the world submit their projects to Design for Change. An Ambassador Team is selected from each country to attend the DFC Global Conference. This conference brings together student teams from across the world to share and celebrate their solutions!

The conference has been held in India, China, Mexico, and Spain. In 2018, the conference was in Taipei, Taiwan. Explore the experiences of our students at the global conference in the videos below:

2018 Ambassador Team from Queens, NY
traveled to Taipei, Taiwan.
2017 Ambassador Team from Sandpoint, ID
traveled to Madrid, Spain.
2016 Ambassador Team from Raleigh, NC
traveled to Beijing, China.
2013 Ambassador Team from Pine Ridge, SD
traveled to Ahmedabad, India.

Our Online Educator Platform

Designed to help you bring Design for Change to your classroom.

  • Free activities across all stages
  • Free Design Sprint podcast episodes
  • Guided lesson plans and step by step instructions
  • Upload project worksheets, pictures and videos
  • Submit your project to be elible as an Ambassador Team to attend the annual Be The Change conference


  • Manage multiple projects across different sites / schools
  • Track progress of projects
  • Invite students and support staff to projects
  • Get expert assistance from Design for Change staff
Contact us

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