Why It Matters

“If the United States truly wants to secure its global leadership in technology innovation, we must, as a nation, commit to a strategy for innovation excellence.”

- Bill Gates, former Chief Executive of Microsoft

A critical driver of any economy is the strength of its ability to foster innovation – the process of transforming ideas into new and improved systems, services or products that enhance the value of existing resources or create new ones. Innovators identify opportunities and use them to drive change. One of the primary ingredients of successful innovation is an environment that promotes innovative thinking and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills. While the demand for an innovative STEM-skilled workforce has risen, the pipeline to fulfill that demand, from elementary school through advanced degree, has grown weaker. Compared to other developed countries, the US currently ranks 17th in science education and 25th in math education. The goal of the TIF program is to change these trends through a scalable train-the-trainer model focused on increasing the capacity of high school educators to teach through applied projects.

Applied project curriculum that focuses on teaching students problem-solving through real-world challenges provides a method of inspiring students and teaching STEM and 21st century skills such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. When educators use applied project based learning to tie design thinking, technology and STEM skills to real-world problem-solving activities, students benefit tremendously. They see the creative application of their work and the potential to have a positive impact on their communities. In turn, communities reap the rewards of student ingenuity. To the outside observer, innovative curricular models often seem complex and difficult to scale. However, ASU has created and implemented a successful program that helps students to develop STEM and 21st century skills through hands-on applied projects. ASU is committed to sharing best practices with K12 educators and working with teachers to rethink and remake the high school classroom experience through the TIF program.


August 21

Innovation through Design Thinking Program application deadline. Apply here.

September 24-27

Innovation through Design Thinking Fall Institute

May 15

Last Day to register for the ASU Summer Innovation Institute and receive the 25% Early Bird Discount

July 12-15

ASU Summer Innovation Institute for Educators