Implementing a K12 Design Thinking Curriculum in Berekuso, Ghana

Three months ago, Carl and Philip, the coordinators of the Design Lab at Ashesi University (who also happen to be my good friends), approached me with an idea they needed help bringing to life; they wanted to teach design-thinking to Junior High School (J.H.S.) students in Berekuso in the Eastern Region of Ghana. Having seen […]

via Young Creatives — the challenging process of developing a design-thinking and leadership curriculum — When She Speaks


The First Assessment – Young Creatives Initiative at Ashesi 

On 1st March the Young Creatives team held the 5th session of the program in the McNulty Foundation Design Lab on the Ashesi University College campus. For previous sessions, the team taught the students how to identify problems around them and understand the stakeholders, effects and causes of these problems. We introduced a class charter and some concepts of leadership and teamwork such as respect and core values to the students.

For the 5th Session of this program, we brought the students to the Ashesi Campus. This change of environment revealed a lot about how physical environments can greatly impact the emotions of young learners and hence motivate learning! 


We, the team for the day, surprised them with a quiz to test their understanding of problems, causes and effects of problems, and stakeholders, tackled in previous sessions. Some students expressed how this made them feel; in their own words, the experience was ‘easy’, ‘tough’, ‘uncomfortable’.

We watched a short animation movie, “Soar” – by Alyce True, and introduced the idea of observation as a form of empathy in the Design Thinking process and the essence of acknowledging the feelings of others in Leadership. This was when we truly realised that communication and verbal self-expression was a challenge for the students of Fidelity Juvenile School in Berekuso. Our newest challenge now is: “How might we enable a reluctant, unsure, maybe shy junior high school student to communicate effectively and express themselves intelligently to others?”

The day ended with a display of the arrow head marching formation that the students spent the entire day in school learning, prior to our Young Creatives session.

Teaching the K-12 Design Thinking Curriculum to JHS 1 Students – The Young Creatives Initiative

The Young Creatives Initiative is a new project that seeks to teach design thinking to JHS 1 students in Berekuso using the collection of curriculum created by the K-12 Lab at the Stanford Design School and teachers who are using design thinking in schools across the world.

This is an initiative of the Ashesi Design Lab, in partnership with NewLeaf, that seeks to foster creative confidence in young teenagers in local high schools in Ghana. To achieve this goal, young teenagers will be introduced to design thinking concepts and tools, as well as coached in developing excellent leadership and effective communication skills.

The Young Creatives project is led by Carl Agbenyega (Design Making Coordinator of the D:Lab), Philip Asare (Design Thinking Coordinator of the D:Lab) and Vanessa Amoako (co-founder of NewLeaf and Faculty Intern at Ashesi University). The leads together with student volunteers from Ashesi, run the design thinking, leadership and communication sessions with Junior High School (JHS) 1 students at the Fidelity Juvenile School, located in Berekuso of Ghana.