“The scale and urgency of that
need are indicative of how poorly
our current ways of approaching
global issues have fared in
creating balanced systems.”
Sarah’s a practitioner. She’s a writer. And she’s a teacher.
When she thinks about her work, the three elements are intertwined—but teaching allows her to ensure others have cutting-edge tools necessary to make the world a better place.
To that end, Sarah has given more than 300 talks and workshops about building great design, thinking about cultures, understanding complex organizations, and shifting how people think about design. She has also judged design competitions, taught classes, designed hackathons, and given keynote addresses.
“The scale and urgency of that need are indicative of how poorly our current ways of approaching global issues have fared in creating balanced systems.”
In 2013, she was part of a team that taught “Collaborating with the Future: Creating Interventions for Massive Change”at Stanford University’s d.school’s Change Labs. The class was led and developed by Banny Banerjee. Students worked in teams of two or three to create real-world projects, while working with sponsors, to address global issues using integrated approaches.
“The premise of the class is that the world is in dire need of largescale transformation,” she says. “The scale and urgency of that need are indicative of how poorly our current ways of approaching global issues have fared in creating balanced systems.”
And in 2014, she began work as a keynote speaker and master class teacher at Centro Diseño, a dynamic art school in Mexico City. She taught Systems Thinking and how it can propose new models of thought that help address challenges across scales from the global and institutional, to the social and personal levels. She talked about understanding complex adaptive systems—what they are, how they work, and why it is important for people wanting to address complex social, cultural, economic and ecological issues to understand them. Students worked on themes like how young children get pulled into selling drugs, how the crafts market works for artisans, and how sustainable seafood supply chains could be supported.
Sarah maintains a deep relationship with Centro, and she has returned to teach the Systems Thinking class, to keynote at their VOR Innovation Conference in 2014, and as their commencement speech for the graduate programs in 2018.
Sarah has also taught and conducted workshops at the School of Visual Arts in New York, The New School/ Parsons in New York, the City of Philadelphia, ArtCenter in Pasadena, Tipping Point T-Lab in San Francisco, Catapult Labs in San Francisco, The Lab at OPM in Washington D.C., The White House under President Barack Obama, Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, and the -ING Festival in Dubai, among others.