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Catalyst Schools

Empowering Schools Towards Inclusive Innovation


I have already recommended Catalyst Schools to some principal colleagues. It is a fantastic opportunity to listen to other professionals, share ideas and be guided along the journey of innovative thinking that can improve learning in schools for students, especially some students farthest from opportunity.

Dominic Clarke, Principal, St. Patrick’s Grammar School

What is Catalyst Schools?

How might we ensure that the next generation of innovators, including those furthest from opportunity, are prepared for the future of work, learning, and civic life?

Catalyst Schools’ mission is to nurture a collaborative ecosystem that empowers school leaders, teachers, and businesses to approach the complex challenges they face today with a human-centred mindset and lens of educational equity.

We build and nurture relationships among school leaders, teachers, school pupils, the business community, families and Catalyst. We create space and time for schools to explore their own unique school culture, define key challenges, and identify areas ripe for small steps toward inclusive innovation.

Why Catalyst Schools?

In a rapidly changing world, it is becoming increasingly complex to prepare all young people for the world of work and civic life. School communities lead this work, but the broader community can play a key role.

Catalyst Schools supports school communities in fostering a culture of inclusive innovation and learning, using their existing resources.

Catalyst Schools Programme

Catalyst Schools supports school communities through three key interlinked elements/initiatives


Two leaders from each school will participate in four 1-day workshops over 12 weeks, take action back at school, and receive online coaching.

Over the course of four days, participants will:

  • meet and learn from other school leaders
  • explore their unique school culture
  • identify areas ripe for innovation
  • put design thinking principles into action while learning how to hack towards a culture of inclusive innovation,
  • learn how to bring staff teams on a journey toward inclusive innovation

Places are available for 10 schools in the 22/23 academic school year and are open to teams of two from each school (principals and vice principals).


Deep dives will provide an opportunity for the Catalyst Schools community to go deeper, keep up their momentum toward resolving the most relevant challenges they face in supporting a culture of inclusive innovation in school.


We bring schools and businesses together to co-design new prototypes that explore innovative ways to work together as equals in support of the next generation of innovators.

Catalyst Schools Community

Meet the Catalyst Schools Team

Peter Worth

Catalyst Schools Lead

Peter Worth is an educator and learning designer working at the intersection of design thinking, leadership, professional learning, and school culture change. As a member of the design team and former co-director of the School Retool professional learning fellowship—a project of the Stanford d.school’s K12 Lab and IDEO—he helped school leaders apply their hacking mindset to build toward an equitable school culture of deeper learning, preparing all students for post-secondary education, career, and civic life.

Now based in Northern Ireland, Peter consults locally and globally, working with and coaching clients in business, university, and schools, including leading Catalyst’s two school leaders’ fellowships in Belfast and the Northwest.

A career educator, Peter has been director of learning design and senior instructional designer for a professional learning edtech company, a senior research associate with an educational research organization, and a public school teacher in Los Angeles County. Peter holds a Master’s degree in education (Learning, Design, & Technology) from Stanford University and a Bachelor’s degree in theater arts from UC Santa Cruz.

Patricia Flanagan

Catalyst Schools Lead

Patricia’s core passion is for how Design Thinking and Creative Problem solving can be used inclusively across society. This passion was sparked by a study visit to the d-school, Stanford California over 10 years ago.

Since then Patricia has been focused on developing creative problem solving approaches to stimulate innovation with client companies and in education, where she introduce students from primary school through to PhD to the skills, tools and techniques which will help them to thrive as innovative thinkers in a complex, globalised world.

As a specialist facilitator Patricia has designed and delivered a wide range of design thinking programmes and workshops for strategy setting, team building, uncovering insights, innovation in the private and third sector and strengthening social enterprises. Patricia has a BSc Computer Science and a Masters in Business Administration, both from the University of Ulster.

Michelle Dolan

Catalyst Schools Programme Manager

Michelle is passionate about understanding people and culture. As an anthropologist and creative facilitator, she utilises methods from social science, creative problem solving and design thinking to enable individuals and organisations to connect creatively, to gain new perspectives and approaches to problem solving, to uncover the insights which drive innovation and to stimulate ideation. It was during her time as a teacher that a love and flair emerged for the design and development of human-centred tools which facilitate change and growth. Michelle continues this work today with client companies and within education in Northern Ireland. Michelle holds a Masters degree in Social Anthropology from Queen’s University Belfast and a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Communication from Limerick School of Art and Design.

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