Nanjing International School (NIS)

China, 2014-2015

NoTosh Team

Ewan McIntosh

Bursting the international school bubble

Future-Focused Strategy

NIS recognized the need to create a strategy for the future but wanted to avoid writing a typically soulless five-year plan that would never be read – least of all by the students themselves – and which wouldn’t contribute to the climate of innovation they were keen to create. NoTosh were appointed to start a new strategy from scratch – challenging entrenched assumptions and identifying what the school’s big objectives for the future might be.

In order to achieve this more diverse learning climate, we encouraged the school to think about replacing their traditional five-year plan with a more flexible and longer-term strategy that would inform and influence their decision-making on an ongoing basis. Together, we looked at ways to place student ‘voice and choice’ at the centre of school life and also at opportunities to build relationships outside the school and work in harmony with the local community.

With assistance from NoTosh, the school created eight projects that would assist them in achieving their goals. The whole school community was involved in this process and immediately began to build and test ideas to help push projects forwards.

The importance of creating a shared understanding across their school became hugely important to NIS and they adopted the NoTosh Design Thinking process into their everyday activities, across all classrooms and with all age groups and subjects.

NIS continues to test and build ideas to bring about inclusion and creativity across the school, working towards building further relationships with the local community and giving students access to exciting and innovative learning opportunities (such as designing new products with social conscience and then developing businesses to manufacture and sell them) as well as a greater emphasis on learning outdoors, in the wider community.

“Before, a strategy was something you were just given, expected to memorise, but it wasn’t something that was living, breathing and that you were part of. It certainly wasn’t something that became part of your culture. In this process, I certainly felt more ownership of what came about – I think everybody felt that.”

Shemo Gani, NIS Kindergarten Teacher
Notosh web cs nis 002 Notosh web cs nis 004

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