February was my first month working for Future Scientist and throughout the month I was trained by Heidi on the ins and outs of the job. I learned a lot by her side and she left me with ideas of her own that she wished to continue during my time here in the organization. As I continue her work and start new projects I hope to achieve as much as she did if not more. Hasta luego Heidi, que el futuro te brinde mucho éxito y que te vaya bien todo.
To give you an idea of my experience I wish to provide you with a summary of all that we did during the workshop. It was a busy three days but they were very productive and I noted a significant change in all that were there in regard to empowerment that the workshop provided in giving us the tools to create real solutions to clearly defined problems.
Day 1 - Immersion
The energy in the air the first day of the workshop was palpable. As people entered the hotel where the workshop was taking place, I noticed people of all ages; however most of those in attendance were high schoolers or college kids. There were a handful of young and old professionals (myself included) who came to learn something new for their respective careers. The beginning of the day was spent introducing the idea of the workshop and how the weekend would play out. Once logistics were through we jumped right into it starting with our first activity.
We then talked about what is innovation (redesigning the rules; it is effective, efficient, sustainable, and fair to all), the three types of networks (centralized, decentralized, and distributed; an idea developed by Paul Baran, a famous American-Polish engineer), that social innovation is not charity, what is design thinking, the importance of both analytical and creative thinking in design, and the design process (empathize, define, create ideas, prototype, and evaluate).
Next dinamica was called The Party. In groups of 2 we were to design the best party ever. At first they asked us to go back and forth with our partner saying "Yeah, but..." and sort of block and change their idea. Afterwards we were to do the same but instead of saying "Yeah, but..." we were to say "Yeah, and...". They wanted us to see the difference between challenging ideas to better refine and define what is wanted vs. simply a brainstorm of ideas. They then showed us the double diamond of design thinking (see image below). If you Google search "design thinking diamond" you will find a bunch of other reiterations, but they all have the same central idea. This is a great tool in designing a solution to any problem, be it personal or societal.
We were then given another tool called "The Problem Tree". It is a great tool to breakdown a problem into Causes (Roots), Central Problem (Trunk), and the Symptoms or Consequences (Branches and Leaves). It is a useful tool in further investigating a problem and seeing all its facets. Another great tool we were given is the 3 H's (head, heart, and hand). It is an empathy tool used in putting ourselves in the place of the person affected by a problem. The "head" is what the person affected thinks, the "heart" is what they feel, and the "hand" is what they do.
After empathizing with those affected by the central problem the next step is to define, or organize all the obtained information to make a point of view. The point of view must be inspiring, challenging and direct. The idea is to create a point of view that demonstrates the problem in the best way possible. This point of view is the final culmination of what it is to empathize with the person who is experiencing the problem you wish to solve.
We ended the day with a healthy helping of new ideas and tools to tackle the next two days that were ahead. After everything we had learned just on day 1 I knew that it was to be a productive weekend ahead.
Stay tuned for day 2