Projects - Written by on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 11:16 - 1 Comment

Design Thinking at BGU

In this post WE want to share with you what WE did last week in our video workshop at BGU. For us, the WE-team, the entire process was great fun, making 4 intense days in the middle of the dessert very productive. So WE hope you´ll enjoy our little documentation focussing on this creative process:

First of all WE used one of the oldest “design thinking processes” described in “The Universal Traveler” from 1973. WE adapted this process to our needs by changing the “implementation” into the “prototyping” phase to emphasize experiment and hands-on.

This 1st phase is often skipped and people rush to the “more creative” phases of ideation and prototyping. But as Einstein said: “If I only had an hour to solve a problem and my life would depend on it, I’d devote the first 55 minutes to figuring out the right question to answer.” That´s what WE did in our workshop. We were trying to achieve a common understanding of the “open apartment program” by asking the following questions:
•    How is the program embedded in the university?
•    How is it supported by the university?
•    What motivates the students to take part in the program?
•    What are the benefits for the students? For the university? For the community?

Our define process started with the central assumption: “Social skills are as important as scientific skills to become a ‘complete‘ human being.” For 1.5 days WE were working in multiple feedback loops breaking this assumption down into an easy to understand key message. Shifting between small working groups and all participants WE defined and decided upon the video´s core message: “Community involvement teaches you what they don´t teach in classrooms! The university of life is out there!” This message became the guideline for all our further activities.

This phase was all about creating a pool of fresh and surprising ideas. Each and every idea was welcome! WE asked for ‘unlimited‘ imagination. Our goal: transform the text based core message into lively pics, sounds and audio. At this point everybody became excited. Finally all the student´s ideas were unleashed:
•    What would the intro look like?
•    Whom to shoot?
•    Which neighborhoods to show?
•    Which music to use?
•    Which slogans to integrate?
•    Which wording to include?
Each single picture, audio, text devoted to understand the video´s core message.

Next step: select the best ideas and create a storyboard out of them. To visualize the storyboard we provided a timeline including 3 different layers: written text, picture and audio (spoken word/ music/ sounds). The students developed in 2 teams the very first drafts. All together – wisdom of the crowd – WE decided with which draft to go on and optimized it. At the end of the day we had a complete storyboard laid out in 3 layers (written text, picture and audio). This marked also a milestone within the process: the students imagined for the very first time how the video might look like.

Prototyping in our case meant preparing and going out to film. Day 3: Noone of the students had ever done anything like this before. But this day they scouted the locations, organized the equipment and found other students to get involved. They directed professors and students in their classrooms over and over again until the scene was to their satisfaction. Two of them even took the camera home and filmed their adopted Arab family while cooking and eating.

The “crew” after WE shot at an urban gardening project of the students.

The final evaluation phase will happen here virtualy and in the editor´s suite in Berlin/ Germany.
WE will create a first roughcut that will be screened and evaluated by the students – right here on the platform.
The feedback will be taken into account when finalizing the video in the editor’s suite.

WE hope and feel that the spark of “WE”, of collaboration and co-creation was ignited at BGU. In our opinion Design Thinking can be a strong tool to facilitate this experience.
What do you think about “Design Thinking”? WE´d love to read more about here in the comments.

1 Comment

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anne berkeley
Sep 21, 2011 14:03

although I had some experience with this sort of methodology ( in marketing) the multi-layered approach of mixing and prioritising different communication vehicles was new and fun. First thing I did afterwards was pass on to my own kids this method and suggested that they try it out!

I also want to share something with you all that simply highlights all that we talked about why classroom study is only one part of higher education. The following is directly from a letter written today by a BGU student who receives a scholarship and is required in turn to do a certain number of hours volunteering in the community. He chose from a list of projects and wrote the following in thanks to the donor –

(As part of the Scholarship, we are required to volunteer in the community. I decided to do my volunteering at a place called “Be’er Sova”, which runs two types of activities:

The first activity is a restaurant for the needy that provides daily hot lunches to those in need for a token fee of 1NIS. I took part in this venture, and we hosted needy families every week on a regular basis. They received hot meals and their kids then participated in activities, led by students from the departments of psychology and sociology.

The second activity is running a youth clubhouse, for kids from low socio-economic backgrounds, during the after school hours, and until late afternoon. At the clubhouse, the kids get a hot lunch, receive help with their homework and take part in a wide range of educational and enrichment activities.

I’ve received a great opportunity to give back and help others. It’s exciting and very satisfying on a personal level. The connection I’ve formed with the families ( at the restaurant) and the teenagers (at the clubhouse) is so intense that I find myself coming back to volunteer at Be’er Sova even though I’ve already completed my required hours of service.

Thank you for enabling me to give to others. Without your scholarship, I probably would have had to spend all my free time (and maybe even some of my study time) working, so that I could cover my tuition and living expenses.

On a personal level, I feel like I’ve benefitted in two areas: I have less financial worries and I get great satisfaction from helping others. )

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