Social Innovation

How Might We Redesign a Contemporary School Library?

How Might We Redesign a Contemporary School Library? 1685 1125 Karishma Dotia

Library at Galileo Scholastic Academy of Math and Science.

Kelly, the co-founder and partner at Panorama Innovation, brought together student teams from the Observing Users class at the Institute of Design, IIT, and the Student Voice Committee at Galileo Scholastic to coach them in using the power of design thinking and innovation to reimagine a Chicago Public School library. After these students completed research and came up with some preliminary concepts, Kelly worked with the Design Thinking & Communication class at Northwestern University to build prototypes for mobile maker carts at Galileo Scholastic.

The Process for Designing the Library involved several stages of work:


To understand the problem, graduate students from Kelly’s Observing users class at the Institute of Design (ID), observed and analyzed how the librarian and students at Galileo scholastic Academy use the library.

Defining Problem

After the research, the students came up with the following How Might we Questions to  provide guidance and generate solutions for potential design directions.


In the next phase, design students from the Institute of Design collaborated with the Students from the Student Voice Committee at Galileo Scholastic Academy to brainstorm about how they could make their library environment more creative, engaging, and inviting. 

ID students also facilitated ideation sessions along with Meredith Bowden the principal and Connie Amon, the librarian at Galileo Scholastic.


A lot of the concepts from the ideation session explored the idea of KRE8 Studio – a place where creativity flourishes in many forms – from new curricula and tools to changes in the physical space and furniture.


Inspired by the possibilities inherent in KRE8 Studio Connie Amon, the librarian, envisioned a Mobile Maker Space concept. Kelly then initiated a collaboration with Design Thinking & Communication class at Northwestern University to create the mobile maker carts. Two student teams created prototypes of the mobile maker to test with teachers and students from 1st and 4th grades at Galileo Scholastic.

Through a user centric design process, the students refined prototypes of mobile maker carts. These prototypes have been taken in use at Galileo Scholastic Academy by the students and teachers to see what works and doesn’t to inform the next iteration. With the tools and methods of design thinking, innovation and most importantly, collaboration, Kelly was able to work with students from three different educational institutions to reimagine offerings of the school Library at Galileo Scholastic Academy.

A Powerful Collaboration between Rush, Design for America and Panorama Innovation to Create a More Dementia Friendly America

A Powerful Collaboration between Rush, Design for America and Panorama Innovation to Create a More Dementia Friendly America 4032 3024 proplight

The DFA Summer Studio 2017 team with their dementia empathy kits and co-coaches Kelly Costello and Nick Paredes

Design for America students spent the summer working on solving the challenge of how to make communities more friendly for dementia sufferers. The challenge arose from a collaboration between Chicago healthcare professionals from Rush Medical Center, the Design for America program at Northwestern University, and Dementia Friendly America, the sponsoring organization that seeks to foster greater dementia friendliness across the US. To help them identify, understand and solve for the needs of people throughout the dementia ecosystem, the students were coached in design thinking methods by two professional mentors.

Design for America students solve for a more Dementia Friendly America

This summer, four students at Design for America’s Summer Studio at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) sought ways to make the community more dementia-friendly. Coached by Panorama partner Kelly Costello and Nick Paredes, they spent six weeks looking in greater detail at the challenges of living with dementia. After conducting interviews with people suffering from dementia and their families, as well as learning from professionals in the field, the students landed on a solution: an empathy kit, designed to help those unaffected understand what it is like to live with dementia.

The empathy kit helps people walk in dementia sufferers’ shoes

The dementia empathy kit consists of dark glasses to simulate a dementia sufferer’s reduced vision, thick gloves that approximate their difficulties with manual dexterity, a jigsaw puzzle that doesn’t fit together properly, and a calendaring exercise to show how, once people lose certain social skills, they are at greater risk of social isolation.

Let us know if you would like to join forces!

At Panorama Innovation, we’re proud to have partnered with Dementia Friendly America to work toward creating friendly communities for people living with dementia. We believe that together, we can make a positive impact on dementia sufferers in our communities and around the nation so that those living with dementia are able to have safe and enjoyable lives in their current communities.

Are you interested in finding out how you can help create dementia friendly environments in your community? Please leave a comment below and someone from Panorama will be happy to get in touch with you.