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  • Stanford University
  • School of Education
  • 485 Lasuen Mall
  • Stanford, CA 94305-3096

Research in Education & Design

REDlab’s mission is to conduct research to inform our understanding of design thinking in K-12, undergraduate and graduate educational settings.

Design thinking focuses on needfinding, challenging assumptions, generating a range of possibilities, and learning through targeted stages of iterative prototyping. A key component of the process is fostering the ability to not only solve problems, but to define problems. This seemingly subtle shift can energize one towards empathetic action and innovation.

REDlab History

REDlab was founded in 2009 to study the impact of design thinking in education. It grew from the Taking Design Thinking to Schools Project, which was funded by Stanford’s K-12 Initiative. It sparked a partnership between the Stanford School of Education and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design ( The goal was to partner with local schools to explore the feasibility of design thinking as a new way to teach and learn.

The work was both rewarding and complex. The teachers we worked with became excited as they saw the transformative potential of design thinking. They were interested in how they could integrate this approach into their classroom curriculum.

The results of these early experiments were inspiring to our research team and we wanted to learn more about the complex challenges and opportunities surrounding the integration of design thinking in K-12 classrooms.

A second grant from the Stanford K-12 initiative enabled us to work on assessment. It also enabled us to start disseminating what we were learning.

With new directions for research into the feasibility and power of design thinking in education came a more diversified portfolio of related projects. REDlab was established to provide a comprehensive center for imagining, discovering, and researching these impacts.