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Diane Tamblyn


Wholemindesign, MDC Director


Diane Tamblyn has been teaching and learning in the classroom with children for over 25 years. She is also co-founder and co-director of Wholemindesign in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Diane received her BA in education with a focus on integrated language and creative arts, and specialized in early childhood education at Western Michigan University. She also earned her MA in Child Development from the College of Human Ecology at Michigan State University.


In 2009 Diane and her colleague Katrin Robertson founded Wholemindesign, an organization devoted to developing people’s creative literacy no matter what kind of work they do in the world. They are passionate about empowering people to think visually and create aesthetically unique and functional solutions to any kind of challenge. They work with individuals, schools, non-profits, higher-education institutions, and businesses using tools such as design thinking, thinking routines, and STEAM powered instruction. Katrin and Diane believe that knowing how to think like a wholeminded~wholehearted designer enables one to turn ideas into action and drive positive change in people’s lives.


In 2016 Katrin and Diane joined the Michigan Design Council because they consider Michigan to be an inspiring destination for creative thinkers and designers, and believe that Michigan schools can be a stronger force that helps shape and drive our creative economy.  With “Why wait to innovate?” as a driving question for their work, Katrin and Diane think it is essential that from kindergarten to college, students are offered opportunities to learn how to think like a designer – how to make their thinking visible, effectively collaborate with others, imagine problems and their solutions from many points of view, and empathize with users to create original designs that meet their needs. They are working to disrupt slow-moving educational bureaucracies that inadvertently inhibit students’ creative development and are committed to jumping over clogged educational channels to establish direct connections to students. The Michigan Design Council’s annual Design Prize competition is the perfect opportunity to engage students from kindergarten through college as actual designers! By strengthening the creative capacity of our youth we are also helping to support a thriving culture of creative thinking across many institutions and businesses in Michigan, and highlighting what a great state Michigan is to live, create, work, and play. Katrin and Diane are excited for the opportunity to work with students, schools, policy-makers, and business leaders on behalf of Michigan’s industrial design community.