During the last few months, my school’s principal and I organised a design and innovation challenge for public school students from our local region. It’s called Digital Sparks and the student showcase will be held on the 20th October in Newcastle. To date, about 180 students, well over 50 teams, have submitted design reports, which is a fantastic indicator of young people’s readiness to innovate.

As well as giving students the opportunity to design digital innovations and showcase them to the community, Digital Sparks aims to give teachers and students the tools and knowledge to take part in design thinking. As part of this, I’ve been running some small professional development sessions on RAPID Design. I created RAPID Design to be a relatively straightforward design thinking framework for teachers and students. There are several fantastic resources on design thinking available for free online but in trying to use them in a school context I found them pretty challenging to navigate. I felt there was a need for something that was more suited to student learning and more accessible for teachers.

RAPID Design is shared with a creative commons license (see page 5 of the e-book). It’s free for teachers to share and adapt. You can download the e-book as a pdf with included resources or follow along as a collection of blog posts with resources to download. I have also included an introduction below.

RAPID Design is a constant work in progress and currently in beta mode. Your feedback is indispensible in making improvements so that it might be a valuable resource for teachers and students. If you use RAPID Design, please send me your experiences, comments, bug reports or questions.

RAPID Design

Download RAPID Design v0.91b

RAPID Design is a framework to help you move rapidly from a problem to a workable solution. It aims to give students and teachers access to design thinking tools while avoiding some of the challenging jargon that is part of more corporate design thinking frameworks.

RAPID stands for
Reveal → Alternatives → Prototype → Iterate → Develop

It is a relatively fast and simple way to design something with (or without) technology.

RAPID Design consists of 5 phases with 3 short activities in each phase.


1RevealWhat is the point of design? At its most basic, it is to create a solution to a problem. So, where do we find problems worth solving?

We must reveal them!

In fact, as we walk in the shoes of others, we might find that problems will start to reveal themselves!


We are going to decide on an issue or situation that we’re passionate about! We will learn as much as we can about it by researching and talking to people. We’ll be walking in the shoes of others.


We’ve researched our context but how do we share what we know as a team? It’s easier to work with ideas, themes and concepts when we can touch them. Let’s “download” what we know onto paper!


We’re going to flip our problems into a challenge question that will guide our whole design project.

Learn more about the Reveal phase


2AlternativesWe’re going to brainstorm lots of ideas to answer our challenge question. We’ll bundle the best ones together in new ways and use our eagle eye to find the most innovate yet achievable idea to work on.


Now that we have a challenge questions as our goal, we need to come up with a solution to answer it. In fact, many alternative solutions. We are going to brainstorm as many different ideas as possible. Big, wild, far-out ideas!


We have lots of different ideas. Let’s see if there are any connections. Sometimes, two okay ideas can combine together to make one great idea!

Eagle Eye

It’s time to engage our own “eagle eye” in some critical and forward thinking. The aim is to consider our time and resources and decide what idea to take forward while leaving the rest on the drawing board.

Learn more about the Alternatives phase


3PrototypeWe’re going to draw a storyboard of how users will interact with our innovation. Then we’ll build a physical model of it or sketch its user interface.


Create a storyboard of what your innovation will do. Show how people will interact with it or how it will interact with the environment.


Create a model of your device. It doesn’t have to “work” but to allow someone to roleplay the steps of using it. Use whatever bits and pieces are available: pens, pencils, paper, cardboard, straws, tape, etc.


If your innovation is only on a screen, such as a website or mobile app, draw sketches of the pages that will be shown to the user. This part of user interface design is called wireframing.

Learn more about the Prototype phase


4IterateLet’s test our model on users and get their feedback. We’ll keep on integrating improvements into our design based on continual feedback.


We’re going to get them to use our prototype while we observe and ask them questions. This feedback will become very useful in improving our innovative design. Let’s decide what questions we will ask.


We will ask testers to give us feedback by answering our prepared questions and giving general comments and opinions.


Let’s look at our testing and the feedback we got. What went well? What didn’t? What changes are we going to make to our prototype?

Learn more about the Iterate Phase


5DevelopWe’ll plan our resources and decide on a timeline. We’re going to access tutorials and information to help us learn and start making!


We’re going to create a plan to define each team member’s roles and work out the resources we’ll be needing to complete our project.


It doesn’t matter how old you are or how much experience you have, there’s always more to learn! It’s time to decide what the team needs to learn to be able to develop this project.


Let’s make sure we know the important dates for our projects. We’ll work out times to meet and follow the progress of our development.

Learn more about the Develop phase


Download RAPID Design v0.91b

About The Author

Primary Technologies Teacher

Rob McTaggart teaches Technologies from K-6 in Newcastle, Australia. He is co-founder of the Digital Sparks regional student technology design challenge & expo. Rob is a Google for Education Certified Innovator who loves to help students to engage and create with the world using technology. He developed the RAPID Design framework to support students and teachers in these aims. Rob is a moderator for #aussieED and plays a logistics role for the team, managing the website and various channels. He is an ambassador and teacher trainer for Code Club Australia and runs a local Code Club for his students. His main gig is teaching 550 amazing kids every week which makes him a very lucky teacher!

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