As CEO of IDEO, I’m constantly exploring the ways design can advance the world’s most complex social systems—from education to government and beyond.
Sandy Speicher is CEO of the global design firm IDEO. As a practicing designer and educator, Sandy is internationally recognized for her expertise in designing large-scale systems.
Sandy has stewarded some of IDEO’s most significant client relationships creating impact for business and society. Her iconic work in Peru designing a school system from the ground up has been lauded as a game-changing example of systems design. As of 2019, Innova Schools has grown to 43 schools, 2,000 teachers and 43,000 students in Peru. It has recently scaled to Mexico, and the model is widely cited as inspiration in other countries.
Over 10 years, Sandy built IDEO’s education practice. In addition to designing new schools, platforms, and systems, her approach has been to equip students, educators, and families as agents of change—enabling our learning environments to continuously evolve and adapt to new challenges. Drawing on these insights, she now works with businesses and governments and institutions around the world to cultivate resilience in the face of complexity and disruption through this human-centered lens.
A strong believer that design is a powerful tool in that process of perpetual renewal, Sandy collaborated with Riverside School in India to develop the Design for Change challenge, engaging middle school students in 60+ countries to create solutions for social needs in their communities. She led the creation of Design Thinking for Educators, a free downloadable toolkit that supports educators as change agents in their schools which has grown into The Teachers Guild, a community of 100,000+. Her teams have designed many innovations, including a digital platform to help first-generation college-goers thrive, a new vision for the food system in San Francisco’s schools, and a curriculum to bring more empathy into the criminal justice system. She also helped Carnegie Corporation launch 100K in 10, a networked effort of 200+ partners working to bolster STEM education in the US, which President Clinton has referred as a new model for social change.
Sandy has been widely cited in publications such as the New York Times, Quartz, and the Wall Street Journal, and has taught at the Stanford d.school, Washington University in St. Louis, and Redding Elementary School in San Francisco. She serves as a member of the Thought Leadership Council at the Khan Academy, is a strategic advisor to Pearson, and frequently speaks about the value of design thinking to designers, educators, and leaders in business and government around the world.