Project Description

An Interview with Peak To Peak High School Teacher Kristie Letter

Innovation and Design Thinking teacher

Kristie Letter

Peak To Peak High School

Lafayette, CO

The Interview…

What relevant subject do you teach?

I teach the Innovation and Design Thinking

What grades do you teach this subject to?

Ninth Grade

What attracted you to this contest?

I loved that the Blue Ocean competition prioritizes innovation, encouraging students to make it new in order to move from the red ocean full of sharks to the calm, uncrowded waters of a truly innovative product.

What did you hope to accomplish or have the students learn?

By learning to use the Blue Ocean terms, they contextualized the knowledge and design thinking process they have been learning all year into a more business context. This transition showed them how these skills can be applied in the workplace.

Why this contest and not another one?

The openness for their ideas was great (they could pursue an area of passion) but the curricular materials were also quite helpful.

How did you integrate this into your curriculum?

We watched several of the videos and then used the ideas to combine useful products in unusual ways.

Did you use any of the materials provided by the competition?

Yes – the charts and the videos.

Did the students form teams or work independently?

The students worked in teams of two of three.

How did you (or did you) work together with your students on this?  Who did what?

I gave the assignments, set the deadlines and answered questions. Students had to take the lead on everything else.

What was hard?

They struggled to put their ideas into some of the Blue Ocean forms and charts, even though I tried to make them copies, provide exemplars, etc.

What was easy?

They were very open to the idea of creating wild combinations.

Were the students excited to participate?


Were the students more interested in developing their ideas or in having the school win the prize for participation?

They were interested in developing their ideas.

Did you get any positive comments from students?  Examples?

The best comment was one from a student who simply tilted his head and said, “This makes sense.” So often when asking people to think outside the box, invent new things and come up with what doesn’t exist, students get whiny or resistant. The Blue Ocean context made WHY they needed to be innovative make sense.

Do you know if the students used the content on our website?

I made it available on Google Classroom.

Do you use or teach the Blue Ocean concepts in your class room?

Yes! We went over the general concept, and how to consider each of the forms.

Will they be graded (on participation, on the pitches…)?

They were graded on having the requisite parts of the pitches.

Did your school help in any way?


Was there value to your school in your entering or will there be in winning?


What advice do you have for other teachers thinking about using the Blue Ocean Competition in their classes?

I wish I had dedicated a bit more time to using the Blue Ocean concepts before we began. It felt a bit rushed.

What benefits did you derive from your students participating in the competition?

They feel comfortable developing a “Blue Ocean” idea and completing a pitch.