Day 1 with the Green Echo Squad


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Another rocking day at fuse15!!!!!!!!!! I’m worn out from all of the great work, but I still can’t wait for tomorrow!

To start the day some of us student coaches lead a spark with everyone which is always fun, and that went well which is always nice! Then I had an awesome time meeting with my team for the first time and getting right to work trying to uncover the needs of our users for the green team.

My team was full of great listeners which was really helpful because everyone was really working to understand the process even when we pushed them out of their comfort zones, and the team was great and catching insights and accepting feedback which is pretty tricky to do. I think these behaviors will really help going into tomorrow when we keep iterating and preparing for that final pitch before DEEPed where we will have an un-conference around what the recruits want to know about design thinking in the classroom.

However, my team did suffer a little from the team dynamic where we are missing that decision making person. Trying to help push the team through decision making was definitely a coaching struggle for me today because that is the part of the process where I also struggle most, so like always it was a learning moment.

Our team was pretty good at flaring “what if” questions and identified a ton of HMWs, but then as we tried to narrow we got into that design cliff low moment of the process. This is typical of any design team, you often go through your really high moments where you are filled with creative energy, and then later you have a low moment where you just have no idea what you are doing or where to go next. Luckily Ms. Cureton came over and helped to reassure the team that where we were at was perfectly ok and suggested for us to just use the “safe bet” “long shot” dot sticker technique where everyone puts a dot by what they think is the more easily solvable HMW and then another by the one they think would be awesome but potentially harder to solve for.

Through out that next hour or so there was still a lot of reminding of, “We aren’t quite at the same step as others, but that’s ok because design thinking is a process and it is not linear so groups will often be at different stages at different times and that’s expected.” If every group was always moving at the exact same pace during a design thinking challenge, then the participants probably weren’t getting the most out of the experience, and I’d bet the ideas/solutions wouldn’t be as awesome, user centered, and applicable which would kind of take away the point of the process in the first place.

The dot voting helped us narrow to 2 HMWs, but we still couldn’t narrow to one, so instead we divided and ideating using a tool from our DEEP Playbook we call 6 Sketchy Circles. The tool is pretty straight forward: there are 6 circles and you sketch (not write, actually sketch!) one idea in each circle usually while on a quick time limit.

We still couldn’t narrow…

This is where sometimes the time crunch and mindset of “keep moving forward” really can come in handy. We were being pushed by our d.team commander to start prototyping, so we just made a quick decision to go with a very early idea and just start prototyping to see where it would go.

I found this very ironic because in my MoVe Talk last night I talked about how even when you won’t feel ready to take action, sometimes the best thing to do is just start prototyping. Well today my point was proven.

We started prototyping and I must admit I was definitely not really hooked on our solution just because I tend to stay away from the awareness like solutions. However, being a coach, I ran with it and and helped out where I could.

Then possibly the biggest win moment for me today was when our users came over to give us feedback and told us how much they really loved our idea! (Short version: We designed a logo for the collaborative group as well as some merchandize they could sell that ties to their believes around recycling and organic goods.)

After the feedback we got after round one of prototyping, we realized that we needed to go back and work on our story more. While we have tangible products that would eventually be sold, our prototype is almost experientially with the logo and name because it is serving as a connection between the 3 different organizations and helping to spread their believes into the public community.

The cool thing was that our ideas really came full circle during this new iteration because we realized that there was a whole separate layer to our prototype that actually solved for the need we observed with our 2nd HMW. The second HMW was more focused on the individual users of the organizations rather than the organizations themselves, and we realized we were helping another need because creating the products would offer a wide variety of job opportunities. (Remember back when we couldn’t decide on a HMW? Well we accidentally solved both which is just another cool part about design thinking! It’s all circular thinking not linear!!!!)

A general observation I also noted today was about how far those of us that are coaches have come with our storytelling/pitching skills to be able to give quality feedback to recruits. With my work on creating our collab-course for AP Lang I’ve been working a ton with the hero’s journey and seeing it applied EVERYWHERE, and with a good pitch really it’s all about having a good story. You have to have a good story to make people realize why your product/solution is needed and why this is one of the best solutions out there.

I know we will focus more on how to give a good pitch tomorrow, so I’m curious how the presentations for some groups will change after that more intensive work on that area of the challenge. Personally I think the pitch is one of the most important parts because you could have a great idea but not be able to communicate it so nothing happens to it while an ify idea with a really convincing pitch could go somewhere. I honestly wish we spent more time during school practicing story telling/presenting skills because it’s just as important to be able to communicate your ideas with people well verbally as it is to be able to write them.

Overall today was a great day of design thinking and I’ve particularly been so happy with how accepting recruits have been to the process because it can be pretty uncomfortable as a first timer for some, especially when teaming with people you may have just met. As tomorrow comes I’m excited to ideas come to life further and for DEEPed where some burning questions about design thinking in the class room will hopefully be answered.

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