Thursday, October 20, 2011

Design Thinking - Invisible Hearts Project

The Invisible Hearts Project
In this day and age it is routine to hear the daily news reports about cyberbullying and its effect on today’s youth at all ages. Perhaps, too, because it is so often in the news, the victims become another statistic in a world somewhat desensitized to hearing so much negativity. This, however, did not stop a group of Australian students from Ravenswood School for Girls and Knox Grammar to do something about it. They decided that they had had enough and collaborated to create the Invisible Hearts Project to bring awareness to this growing problem.

Without possibly realizing it, these students were engaged in the process of design thinking. They displayed empathy with the issue of cyberbullying by immersing themselves in the feelings, thoughts, and attitudes of those affected. According to Wikipedia, design thinking “is generally considered the ability to combine empathy for the context of a problem, creativity in the generation of insights and solutions, and rationality to analyze and fit solutions to the context.”

Invisible Hearts Project-Our Story
These students identified with their cause, which enabled them to figure out design opportunities to work toward ending a real-life problem by setting up goals they wanted to achieve. They used design thinking to investigate the issue, analyze it, and come up with a creative solution to make the most impact. By soliciting others to take photos making a heart with their hands to show solidarity against cyberbullying and the chance to make a difference, they actively engaged the viewer to participate in their cause. These images are the background for the website which still actively solicits participation.

Source: weheartit
The Invisible Hearts Project used the power of technology, the root cause for the spread of cyberbullying, to bring awareness of the problem to its audience using photographs, comments and videos. In addition, the project used music, blogs, surveys and social networks such as Twitter (@hearts_projects) and the Invisible Hearts Project facebook page to further mobilize its efforts. The documentation of first-hand accounts by victims of cyberbullying are powerful and heart-wrenching. The same technology behind the problem was rerouted to promote the positive use of technology to encourage peace, equality and love, the primary message of its mission. By taking a human-centered problem, they were able to use design thinking to try to come up with a solution to gain support for its cause.

Letting students pursue an idea through the design process enabled them to create a powerful vehicle for bringing attention to an issue. Design thinking, like other ideas on innovative design in education, is centered on allowing students to take an active role in their own learning to uncover a problem or need and come up with a particular goal or solution. Whether it was intended in this particular case, the students behind the Invisible Hearts Project exercised their ability as design thinkers to create a compelling message to try to effect a change.


  1. This is a wonderful discussion of what these outstanding students have done, and continue to do. Thank you for your perspective on our project, we are immensely proud of all of the students, and look forward to IHP2.0.

  2. Hi there! This is amazing! Thanks s much for doing this and spreading the word! Tahnkyou!


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