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Prototyping in Track 1 @AK12DC at November Summit



  SKevin Lewis describing prototyping at AK12DC.   He's explaining that you can prototype anything.  In design thinking there are different types of prototypes:
  • physical prototypes
  • storyboard prototypes
  • experience  prototypes
  • digital prototypes
The task of the design teams is to create a prototype of the "one idea" they selected from their ideation process.  Some teams are building physical prototypes, while others are building experiential prototypes.  Each team is trying to understand how to translate their idea into a prototype that makes sense and will illustrate the challenge their team is trying to solve for.  The process is messing but allows for their creative energy to emerge.

Here is a document from the d.school at Stanford that explains the different stages of design thinking (click here).   A comprehensive overview that details each part of the design cycle.

Design team prototypes starting to take shape.  They have about 60 minutes to work on their prototype.  Afterwards, they will test their prototypes on another design team.  Lots of activity as the creative ideas emerge through conversation.  The task is simple but requires some complex thinking as they stretch their imaginations and solve for their user.
Teams continue to develop their prototypes.  It is hard to remove the teacher, analytical hat and put on the playful and imaginative hat to design a prototype that plays with and illuminates the idea.  All the teams are engaged and invested in coming up with a meaningful prototype.  The work continues as they get more and more comfortable with the messiness of design thinking.
Woodward Academy working on their prototype. 
Teams will move into the next phase of testing their prototypes with their user.  After the test, they will give feedback in the form of I like, I wish, I wonder.

AK12DC Track 2: Amazed to Realize



This year at AK12DC we are prototyping a model that includes more public schools in Track 1 and builds an advanced track (Track 2)  for schools ready to go deeper with design thinking. The schools in  Track 2 are Westminster Schools, The Lovett School, and Mountain Park Elementary.  Today, Track 2 teams are gathered together at Lovett to reflect on where they are, deepen their design thinking skills, and work on the portfolio of design challenges they've got underway. 

We have two 75 minute team-time sessions built into the day,a wonderful first hand account of how design can change lives, and a reflection on the work to date. Before we leave, teams will give one another feedback across schools and build their toolkit with more prototyping skills. Exciting day of learning and collaboration!

Deacs84 12:30pm via HootsuiteBuilding #creativeconfidence. First hand account: #designmatters. #dougdietz@stanforddschool #ak12dc #dtk12chat

Deacs84 12:14pm via HootsuiteGE Healthcare Adventure Series designer Doug Dietz: Orbiting the Giant Hairball.#ak12dc #designthinking #dtk12chatow.ly/UObDV

Deacs84 11:03am via HootsuiteTrack 2 teams engaged in debriefing whole school portfolios of #designthinkingprojects.

Deacs84 11:00am via HootsuitePersonal: A4 We are learning to put away our own biases. #ak12dc #designthinking#dtk12chat

Deacs84 10:55am via HootsuitePersonal: A3 "I wonder if..." language is powerful. #ak12dc #designthinking#dtk12chat

Deacs84 10:55am via HootsuitePersonal: A2 This is the opposite of the "get it done" model. Takes time. #ak12dc#designthinking #dtk12chat

Deacs84 10:54am via HootsuitePersonal: A1 Growth opportunity to listen without judgment. #ak12dc#designthinking #dtk12chat

Deacs84 10:54am via HootsuiteProject: A4 We jumped to problem too soon.After unpacking empathy, we needed to change direction. #ak12dc#designthinking #dtk12chat

Deacs84 10:52am via HootsuiteProject A3: Amazed to realize the number of different POV (point of view) statements we identified. #ak12dc #designthinking#dtk12chat

Deacs84 10:42am via HootsuiteProject: A3 A team w/new playground loved discovering how invested students were in the safety issues. #ak12dc#designthinking #dtk12chat

Deacs84 10:41am via HootsuiteProject: A2 We are so invested in the project we often fall in love with an idea--instead of the user. #ak12dc#designthinking #dtk12chat

Deacs84 10:23am via HootsuiteProject: A1 Amazed to realize how many different perspectives there are! #ak12dc#designthinking #dtk12chat

Deacs84 10:22am via HootsuiteProcess: A6 Prototyping for multiple grades hard. Focused on one grade- prototyped new program in a week!#ak12dc #designthinking #dtk12chat

Deacs84 10:20am via HootsuiteProcess: A5 Amazed to realize the powerful feedback that comes from asking open-ended questions, #ak12dc#designthinking #dtk12chat

Deacs84 10:19am via HootsuiteProcess: A4 Amazed to realize how big an idea empathy is. IMPACT! #ak12dc#designthinking #dtk12chat

Deacs84 10:18am via HootsuiteProcess: A3 Amazed to realize how well our team was able to delegate tasks and move forward effectively. #ak12dc#designthinking #dtk12chat

Deacs84 10:17am via HootsuiteProcess: A2 Amazed to realize how methodical #designthinking is and the amount of time invested. #ak12dc#designthinking #dtk12chat

Deacs84 10:16am via HootsuiteProcess: A1 Empathy gathering is more fluid and organic than expected. #ak12dc#designthinking #dtk12chat

Deacs84 10:14am via HootsuiteTrack 2 teams: What are you amazed to realize during this first phase of 2nd year work? Categories: Personal, Project, Process #ak12dc

Learnings @AK12DC from the morning Track 1 session



​Our six design teams from Trinity School, Cliftondale Elementary, Woodward Academy, Drew Charter School, Summit Hill Elementary and Atlanta International School shared their learnings from their process thus far.   With regard to the process, they were amazed to realize that:
  • the process of design thinking puts them in touch with their user in power ways;
  • standard questions led to deeper conversations with users;
  • the process gave our users a voice;
  • students' voices can have a great impact on the work;
  • it is powerful to listen our users and we learned so much from them; and
  • there was such a diversity of responses from our user interviews.
With regard to their project they were amazed to realize:
  • our users have similar needs;
  • our project is still evolving over time;
  • our project has fidelity for our school;
  • the progress we are making;
  • how inclusive this process is for the school; and
  • how many teachers want a consistent way to communicate student achievement.
With regard to their team, they were amazed to realize that:
  • they are looking for a deeper, lasting impact;
  • they need to invest time to make this work happen;
  • they have accomplish so much in such a short time;
  • the experience has been so positive thus far;
  • they have been so productive at their meetings using the design thinking process.

As you can see, each team is learning a great deal at Atlanta K12 Design Challenge.

Track 1 @AK12DC Building #designthinking capacity



Doug Dietz from GE Healthcare shared his story about using design thinking to change the way young children experience the MRI scanning experience in hospitals.   A process that induces fear in the hearts of young people has been dramatically changed through the efforts of Doug's team's efforts to gain empathy with children.  The result was the Adventure Series of MRI scanners produced by GE Healthcare.

We have Summit Hill Elementary, Trinity School, Drew Charter School, Woodward Academy, Cliftondale Elementary, and Atlanta International School working together to go deeper into their understanding design thinking.

At AK12DC we are learning how to use design thinking to address important school issues.  Each of the six schools at the Track 1 November Summit held at Atlanta International School has come with a design challenge they are working on.  The design teams have gained empathy with their user.  At the summit, they will look carefully at their empathy data and design point-of-view statements to guide the development of a prototype for their challenge.  

Kevin Lewis, a First Data colleague, takes the group through the design thinking wheel so they have a shared understanding of what the terms mean. 


Empathy - The Centerpiece of a Human Design Process



“To create meaningful innovations, you need to know your users and care about their lives.” 
Stanford d. School

​Now that AK12DC teams have developed draft statements for their design challenges, they are back at their schools working through a deliberate process to gain empathy.  In Design Thinking empathy is defined as a deep understanding of those for whom we are designing.  Ensuring that we truly understand the problem from the perspective of those who experience it is a critical step in a human centered process. 
​It is important to remember that a design challenge is simply a starting point.  The best challenges allow room for discovery to find the real problem, rather than the one perceived by the design team.  Similarly, a design challenge does not prescribe a particular solution.  Rather, it should allow for exploration to find the right outcome for the users or those who experience the problem and will utilize the solution.  Empathy must be deliberately developed so that we can meet both the expressed and latent needs of users. 

How will teams develop empathy?  
AK12DC teams began the process of developing empathy through reflection and development of an empathetic mindset.  Team members considered and discussed what it feels like to  “put myself on the shelf” by adopting a mindset without judgment, with a beginners eye, and with curiosity, optimism and respect. 

In consultation with mentors, each team has planned a process for gaining empathy that they will implement over the next month.  Although each plan is customized to the specific team and design challenge, every team will follow the same general steps. 

Go where they are
Teams will develop empathy by going to their users rather than expecting their users to come to them.  Team members will leave their own office or classroom and go to the environment of the user.

Watch and observe
Before team members ask questions or have conversations with users, they will learn by watching.  Often, what people do is more enlightening than what they say.  When we observe we ask ourselves:
  • What is this person doing?
  • How are they doing it?
  • Why are they doing it this way?

Engage and talk
​After observation, teams will have conversations about their design challenge with  users.  Discussion guides will be developed and used as an outlines for conversations.  it is also important to remember that often conversations take unexpected turns and so discussion guides are not scripts.  

Capture findings
Findings from observations and interviews are documented by writing down specific quotes and observations.  Design teams will work to resist the temptation to make judgments and jump to conclusions at this stage in the Design Thinking process!

Debrief with team
Finally, the whole design team will come back together to tell the stories of each user interviewed noting tensions, contradictions, surprises and insights.  The full picture of the users begins to come to light as teams begin to unpack the meaning of their observations and interviews. 

What’s Next?
When AK12DC teams reconvene for the November summit they will use the information gathered to refine their design challenge by defining the real problem from the perspective of the users.  Only then will it will then be possible to ideate and prototype possible solutions.  For some, the Design Thinking process may seem counterintuitive because it seems natural and expedient to begin a problem solving process by creating solutions.  In design thinking, however, we recognize that unless we gain empathy, it is unlikely understand the real problem.

Stay tuned to find out how AK12DC teams and design challenges refine and evolve as they learn more and move through the process! 

We are the Catalyst for Change - AK12DC Fall Summit



By Guest Blogger Marsha Harris
​originally posted at linktolearning.wordpress.com

Another round of AK12DC (Atlanta K-12 Design Challenge) has begun! This year, there are over 100 participants representing Atlanta public and private schools. We are the Catalyst for Change! We are Driving Innovation!
This post is a reflection of my notes from the kickoff summit at Trinity School.
My teammate and I both took notes summarizing and responding to Scott Sanchez's message.

The interesting thing about our reflections, is that Kato doodled and I took traditional notes. It was fascinating to see how well our interpretations match up and I'll include Kato's sketch notes for you to compare!

​There are wicked problems in the world today that we need to figure out how to solve. Even though we don't know the answers to these problems, we might know a way to begin to solve them through Design Thinking! Big Challenges!

Sketchnotes by Kato Nims
How do we teach our kids to take risks and go after these wicked problems? Innovation is KEY! Design thinking is solving real problems for real people!

How do we teach our kids to take risks and go after these wicked problems? Innovation is KEY! Design thinking is solving real problems for real people!

We need to continue to Fail hard, fail fast...innovation is hard! Design thinking helps us iterate over and over again so that we can get closer to the solution.

Innovation is not an event...it's a journey! It's messy! How do we allow students to be alright with this? It's hard work!

Idea+Implementation=Impact. This can only occur through a TEAM coming together and working through the messiness! Sometimes, identifying the right problem is different than we think...the design process will lead us down the path to help us find solutions to things that we didn't even think of in the first place!

How do we make the ideating quicker so that we can get to the user for the better answers? Fall in love with your user, not your idea...solve a problem for SOMEONE!

WHO you're solving for

Empathy...understanding users

WHAT their needs are

Define...refine your problem


HOW you'll solve them


Test...show your users

Why do we prototype with these items?

Pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks and cotton balls...it's about the experience, not the function of your prototype! We don't become attached to the thing! You CAN'T get it perfect. It's playful, it's fun, it's quick, it's cheap!
Sketchnotes by Kato Nims
A good interviewer has the mindset of a child...beginners eyes...seek to find. Go and understand. Put yourself on the shelf...it's not about you...fall in love with the user!

Go, watch, predict, infer, ask, converse, seek stories, feelings, why? There was reference to the 5 Whys that were mentioned in our summer reading, A More Beautiful Question. Why? Tell me more. Why? ...Find the REALLY REALLY!

Deep understanding for the person for whom you're designing...what they say do think and feel. it's what they DON't say that will lead you to the solution and help you discover their REAL need!

Our challenge is beginning to take shape!  Now the work begins...falling in love with our user! Engaging in hearing their needs. Asking questions to get to the root of the problem. This is truly HUMAN Centered Problem Solving at it's finest!

Learner, Thinker, Writer: Marsha Harris serves the Trinity School community as the Director of Curriculum. @marshamac74


As we prepare for the Fall Kickoff, look at how far we've come!




Atlanta K12 Design Challenge Spring 2015 Update from K12 Design Challenge on Vimeo.