This past week we’ve been in week two of our Design Sprint to redesign the Innovation Diploma space, which hasn’t been meeting the needs of the iD Cohort. For the start of the week, I was hyper-focused on having them flare ideas. It seemed to me that most of the group wanted to latch onto one of the initial ideas rather than testing new ideas. To help them increase the volume of ideas, I ran a few exercises that encouraged them to think differently, and to think beyond the possible. As the week came to a close, we began the process of narrowing, and started to build. Here’s a little recap:
- We shifted teams into expert groups, so that each group could focus on one aspect of the space we are designing: Walls, storage, and furniture.
- I facilitated a rapid-fire storming session where I gave them constraints and reframed our challenge, and each team took a few minutes to throw ideas up on post-its relating to the new challenge. Some I used were: “you need this design to cost less than 25 cents; your design should be circus themed; iD won the lottery; and you can only use recycled materials”
- After rapid fire storming with new frames and constraints, they went to work to find actual design inspirations online. They went on a search to find what exists for their particular focus – but the catch was that they had to use exhaustive Google search strings…again, going for volume. We talked about searching not just “chair” but using the words that came out of the storming session and search something like “circus chair” or “repurposing furniture.” From here, they built their own pinterest boards.
- We were lucky enough to have an experienced interior designer and business owner Cristi Holcombe, the former HGTV Production Designer on Elbow Room, walk us through Sketchup. She shared tips with us, and showed us how to use the Sketchup tool to build designs by having the Cohort work with one of her current projects. It was an incredibly rich experience for the Cohort to learn that the process we’re using is one that designers are using to create value in the real world (Cristi also has some pretty sweet designs featured on her website, so check it out!)
- Next, groups had to narrow. Using a range finder, we asked “what’s possible now in these designs?” and “what is something for us to consider in the future.”
- After narrowing, the entire Cohort was tasked with building three scaled mock-ups of their final ideas.
- Monday, we’ll walk through the designs, provide feedback for each design, and begin the process of narrowing to one final design. From here, we need the Cohort to refine their models, and create their pitch, so that we can move forward and head into implementation mode.
This has been a fruitful experience for iD, and I am thrilled to have been able to work with them on such precise design work. I particularly love that students are continuing to see how traditional course content can be leveraged simultaneously with MV mindsets, and innovator skills. If we broke down the learning goals for these past two weeks, it might look something like this:
Geometry: Proportionality and Measurement
English: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
MV Mindsets: Collaborator, Solution Seeker
Innovator’s DNA: Experiment
Imagine if we approached all school this way…through a design challenge that mattered to the students and one that would have real impact? Imagine if the design challenge wasn’t just created by the teacher, but it was one that came up through student observation and questioning? Imagine if teachers worked harder to respond to their student’s immediate needs, passions, curiosities, and goals rather than working to meet content standards or curricular plans?