New year, new team, new venture.
The past two years in the Innovation Diploma I have been a part of a lot of projects driven by students observations that lead to ventures. For example the Co-Venture to re-design our iStudio space and last year’s ReSpIn team working on creating a recycling system in the middle school.
This year I’m moving into the world of Design Briefs.
In its inaugural year, iDiploma was incredibly successful in “consultivation” work (consult + innovation) where we invited members from the Mount Vernon community to bring a problem or opportunity to be workshopped in a 90 minute design thinking session. The partners we had for those sessions left with plausible and implementable solutions, and our learners became much more comfortable with their design thinking muscles. This year, we committed to incorporate even bigger and longer term projects via “Design Briefs” that anyone in the community can generate. Essentially, we’re creating a pool of potential projects that are not out of a textbook or dreamed up by a teacher, but instead projects that are generated out of need in the community.- MVIFI.org
Last year a team of ID cohort members worked on a Design Brief with Jeff Garrison, from S.J. Collins Enterprise, to design a pocket park in a new Whole Foods development which they named: Peachtree Station. Last year’s Design Brief was so successful that this year, after a mini-internal Design Brief for practice, we have jumped right into 4 different Design Briefs scheduled to conclude around January at the latest.
I am a member of team PB;J which stands for Public Buggy Jam team. We are working with the mayor of Sandy Springs to reduce traffic in the city by a hopeful 10%. To start, we are
using Mount Vernon Presbyterian School (MVPS) as a test group because it is a controlled environment. Our goal is to create a traffic reduction plan for MVPS that could serve as an example for other schools in the area as well. The hypothesis is that if enough schools work on reducing their traffic, we will impact the overall Sandy Springs traffic problems as well.
This team was assembled almost two weeks ago now, and so far we have made great progress crafting team norms, goals, timelines, and essential questions.
Currently we have been working on:
- planning out our time line and learning to use Trello as a task management tool
- researching what a professional Traffic Reduction Plan looks like and outlining what type of information we will need to provide
- learning how to use Raspberry Pi to gain experimental data where we count the number of cars entering and leaving MVPS and time-stamping each car
- reaching out to MVPS admin to see what data already exists in terms of demographic questions we’ve had
- set up some norms:the first 15 minutes on Monday’s we will discuss goals and duties for the week
- the last 30 minutes on Monday we will spend with the entire ID cohort to make sure we keep everyone in the loop and have some community amongst the full team
- PB;J team will write one blog post a week updating our progress and we will rotate who does the weekly blog (I was this week), and all of our posts will be archived on the Innovation Diploma website run by us high schoolers
- and we decided to use the phrase “let’s tune in” if we notice that some of us are getting distracted and need to focus back in on our work
For only almost two weeks of school, I’m pretty happy with where we have come as a team and am excited to see where this venture goes.