Discovering and Striving for Impact

A lot happened today. Specifically a lot of design thinking activities.

Today we started by doing a little research about sustainable features that we would like to incorporate into our big projects. Then everyone picked one of the 5 sustainable features that they chose, and one of the 5 biomimicry features that we came up with earlier in the week. I decided on incorporating the Fibonacci sequence and also a green wall (a vertical wall indoors with vegetation growing on it that naturally cleans the air), both of these features also require making a building with lots of natural light which I will also mess around with.

From here we were randomly placed into pairs with one group of 3 (that’s my group). The groups will be creating buildings that incorporate all 4, or 6 in my case, features. This requires some interesting thinking, so we did another “yes and” activity where we made a story for our building.

My group will be designing a tree house home for a family of 5 living in the woods of California. Eventually I will post more about this as the project goes on, but besides some random features and brainstorming, that is as far as we are.

For our evening activity we did a design thinking challenge with the Futures students. First we got 7 minutes at a time (we got one and then were told the 2nd later) to answer these 2 questions:

How long is 10,000 years?

How can we make something last for 10,00 years?


(My team’s brainstorm.)

Then there were 3 challenge questions that were distributed amongst the groups that each had to do with the initial 2 questions.

My group got this question: What can we build to encourage thinking and responsibility for the next 10,000 years?

Truthfully, we were stuck for a long time. We had some brainstorms, and I really found it interesting to work on a design thinking challenge with people who probably barely ever do them; I do them a lot. I definitely felt some tension in the group especially with the 15 minute time crunch, and there was never a time of establishing group norms like “all ideas are good ideas”. This through me off on my thinking a little bit because I have become so use to working with people that do these challenges all of the time.

How might we establish a quick way to make it not matter how many design thinking challenges you have done? (Not my best worded question, but the idea is there.)

We also had 2 different skypes today. The first was with one of the region presidents of AIS (I think thats the name) which is a non-profit organization that is specifically about architecture, but you don’t have to be an architect to participate in the service activities and the design conferences that they do. Interestingly, we discovered that the program  has things for high schoolers to do as well, so I plan on looking into that more.

This guy isn’t even an architect, but he is fascinated by design thinking and specifically loves the mentoring part of his job. He also really pushed the idea of how fun conferences are, and I can imagine based off of things I’ve heard about DT conferences. (I want to go!)

The second guy we talked to tonight works with a group designing an interactive clock that is meant to last for 10,000 years underground in the Bay area. This is another big design thinking challenge that is going on in the world, and he talked to us about the process and progress of his work.

I noticed today how much design thinking has become apart of my life. It is everywhere, and it’s weird to me that some people are just discovering it. I also noticed how many opportunities there are for people that work with design thinking, and they all sounded like so much fun, and impactful. The AIS guy today said, “People now a days don’t want to just do things as a job, they want to make an impact.”

It’s true, I want to make an impact. I can’t wait to look into these things more and see what opportunities there are.


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