Design for Change

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Design for Change
Design for Change logo.jpg
Design for Change logo
Founded 2009
Founder Kiran Bir Sethi
Focus Children's rights, Instructional design, Design thinking, Community engagement, Education, Empowerment
Key people
Kiran Bir Sethi (CEO), Anshul Aggarwal (ex-COO, extended team-member), Parul Patel (Head of Hospitality, Logistics, Management), Pranay Desai (Head of Design and Technology), Nilufer Siganporia (Head of PR and HR), Ruchi Junnarkar (DFC Global Catalyst), Akanksha Agarwal (Research Head), Vishwa Srivastava (Social Media Catalyst), Nandini Sood (Head of Operations, India)
Slogan Every Child Can

Design for Change, is a global movement that empowers children to be the change they wish to see in this world. Founded by Kiran Bir Sethi, founder-director of The Riverside School, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, this movement has spread to over 35 countries and reaching out to 300,000 children in the past six years. Kiran started this global movement with a conviction that if children are empowered and made to feel that they can take matters into their hands, they will change the world for the better.

Based on a simplified design thinking process, this initiative asks students to FEEL any problem that bothers them, IMAGINE a way to make it better, DO an act of change and SHARE their story of change with the world.

The Beginning[edit]

In 2009, the Joy of Giving Week was launched in India with the aim of re-imagining Gandhi Jayanti (Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi) from a mere holiday into a celebration of change. A close friend of Kiran’s was the mind behind the idea. The idea was to encourage individuals and organizations of all kinds to celebrate the spirit of giving by dedicating the week to a cause of their choice. In discussing the idea with him, Kiran realized that the 'Joy of Giving' week expected a lot of charity and volunteerism from youth and adults, but very little out of children.

In response to the felt need of including children in the spirit of giving and believing in their ability to make change, Design For Change (DFC) was launched in 2009. In its first year DFC reached out to 30,000 schools in India, encouraging students to create change around them.

The DFC Process: FIDS[edit]

The Design Thinking Guide for schools, developed by Design for Change, offers a simple 4 step framework of Feel-Imagine-Do-Share to help develop the 'design mindset' in children - The purpose of the guide is to equip children with the tools to be aware of the world around them, believe that they play a role in shaping that world, and take action toward a more desirable, sustainable future. The FIDS framework cultivates the I CAN mindset that allows children to believe they are not helpless, that change is possible and they can drive it. It develops the 21st century skills and creative confidence in people empowering them to use their creative agency to design innovative solutions.[1]

Feel - This step asks students to observe the situations in their community that bother them. After drawing out a list of situations, the students choose one that they would like to change. They explore why this situation bothers them, who are the people affected by this situation and who are the people involved in creating this situation.

Imagine - This step encourages students to interact with the people of their community to identify points of intervention and possible solutions. The students create their best-case scenario and re-design this situation to make it better.

Do - The students then develop a plan of action, keeping in mind the resources, budget, time and human resources they have. They then implement this plan.

Share - The final step is to share the story of change so that other people may be able replicate their solution and also be inspired to new problems. All stories of change are shared on the DFC website. Besides this, schools and organizations host events where the young change-leaders and their stories are celebrated!


Design for Change is introduced in various schools in two formats:

1. DFC I CAN School Challenge: wherein children are encouraged to spend at least one week going through the FIDS process. At the end of this period, they submit their story of change to the DFC coordinators of their country. The submission deadline for each country varies, depending on the school schedules. Every country also has an independent jury that then nominates and rewards the Top stories of change for the year! Awards are given in various categories such as 'Most sustainable Solution', 'Quickest Impact', 'Boldest Idea' etc.[2]

2. Design for Change School Curriculum: aims at taking children deeper into the design thinking process, spending a semester on the FIDS process. Children spend an entire semester with just one problem/ issue often spending close to a month on each step of the FIDS process. The emphasis is on developing skills such as -problem-solving, design-thinking, leadership; and attitudes such as - empathy, cross-cultural understanding, generosity; in addition to academic learning.[3]

3. Be the Change Celebration: aims to bring together young change leaders from around the world to one stage to share their remarkable stories of change. The conference also is a space for celebration of the global movement that Design for Change has snowballed into and to connect the global partners working with schools in different countries. The coOver two days, it also celebrate Gandhiji's message of 'being the change one wishes to see in the world' and go back with the inspiration to continue the efforts towards developing empathy and turning it into action in schools.[4]

Usually schools begin their DFC process by participating in the School Challenge and then adopt the curriculum after experiencing benefits of the process on their students.


DFC is open to all children up to the age of 18 years. Most participating children fall between the age group of 8–15 years. The initiative is free of cost and is open to all groups of children. Though a majority of the participating groups are from schools (private and government), NGOs and other clubs of children are also welcome to participate.

All the DFC material is available online and has been translated into 15 different languages making it one of the most inclusive movements of change around the world.


Stories of change from DFC have found their way into various publications:[5]

1. DFC stories of change were converted into comic strips and featured in the popular Indian comic magazine 'Tinkle'.

2. Every year, Amar Chitra Katha, India's leading publisher of children's books, publishes an entire book called " I Can: Stories of how Children are Changing their World". This book features the Top 20 DFC stories of change from different countries!

3. The DFC School Curriculum has been included in the Longman Pearson Value-education Textbooks.

4. You Don't Need Permission To Change The World is a collection of short stories based on the real accomplishments of children across India. Balan, Yogesh, Shruti, Manjula and Vignesh show the world that no one is too young to make a change.

5. Every Child Can is a documentary on Design For Change. It consists of a collection of powerful stories of change that embody the ideas of love, compassion and forgiveness assembled together to demonstrate how children are dreaming up and leading brilliant ideas all over the world.

Knowledge Partners[edit]

In its endeavor to reach as many children and change as many lives as possible, DFC has partners among National Institute of Design, India; Fielding Nair International; CannonDesign;, Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, Stanford University, U.S.A; IDEO; KaosPilots, Denmark; and Dialoogle as part of a continually expanding network.[6]


Design for Change along with The GoodWork project and supported by DContinum conducted a research to gauge the impact of what were the attitudinal shifts and the skills inculcated through DFC.[7]

Global Awareness[edit]

In November 2009, Kiran went to TED India to share her story about empowering students to say "I CAN" instead of "Can I?" Her talk went online in January 2010, taking DFC to a global audience. Following this, all the DFC material was put online free of cost for anyone to download and start DFC in their own country. Individuals and organizations in over 35 countries have taken up the initiative since then.[8]

Countries where DFC is active (as of 2014):

  1. Australia
  2. Bangladesh
  3. Bhutan
  4. Brazil
  5. Cameroon
  6. Canada
  7. China
  8. Colombia
  9. Ecuador
  10. France
  11. Germany
  12. Greece
  13. Hong Kong
  14. India
  15. Israel
  16. Japan
  17. Korea
  18. Laos
  19. Macau
  20. Mexico
  21. Morocco
  22. Pakistan
  23. Philippines
  24. Portugal
  25. Nigeria
  26. Peru
  27. Romania
  28. Russia
  29. Singapore
  30. South Africa
  31. Spain
  32. Sweden
  33. Taiwan
  34. Thailand
  35. Turkey
  36. UAE
  37. United Kingdom
  38. United States of America


DFC is the winner of:

1. The Rockefeller Foundations' Young Innovator Award (2012)

2. INDEX: Design that Improves Life (2011)


External links[edit]