One afternoon in the late 1990s, Kiran Sethi’s son, all of six years, came home disheartened and hurt because his teacher had struck out and failed his essay on “the cow.” It was his fault—he had written it in his own words, using his own imagination. Kiran was dismayed by the incident, seeing this as a sign that the word “choice” was being removed from her son’s vocabulary. This was the incident which sowed the seeds for what started and evolved into The Riverside School.


With the simple idea of making common sense a common practice in education, design thinking was used to lay the foundational bricks of Riverside. Kiran set off on the mission of creating a space and culture that would empower children through self-belief, self-reliance, and the urge to use their talents for the benefit of others.

The words “creativity” and “design” took on new significance: creativity became more than a simple activity or piece of craftwork, rather the word came to mean “enabling experiences embedded in real life contexts.”



Since its inception in 2009 the global Design for Change school contest has empowered over 2.2 million students and over 67000 teachers in 65 countries to say “I Can.” Riverside has also provided in depth training to school leaders and educators from across the globe and given them the tools to embed this methodology into the culture of their own school ecosystems.

Kiran Sethi, Founder Riverside

“At the end of the day if we don’t have people with character, people who do the right thing. Intellect in itself will destroy the world, it will not save it.”

Dr. Howard Gardner,
Harvard Graduate School of Education