This year in Innovation Diploma we’ve been doing a lot of branding/rebranding, networking, and overall development work in order to better define ourselves as a design firm. But, along with these different tasks, we developed a total of 4 different flash labs that we then lead the iD freshman through, and ultimately the entire freshman grade through. The first round of flash labs included 4 different topics with 4 different small groups of iD members. When we moved on from the iD freshman, and to the entire freshman grade, we decided on just one topic to focus on TRASH, my groups’ original topic. The round 2 of our flash labs had a total of about 12-13 students per group, and I actually had the opportunity to lead my own group!!
Finally, after our second round of flash labs with the freshman, we heard about an opportunity to actually lead this same TRASH Flash Lab with Georgia Tech students. This opportunity came from Anya, my older sister who graduated from MVPS and iD just last year, who just joined a group called Engineering without Borders, and a sub-group within it called Wish for WASH. Through her involvement in Wish for WASH Anya saw that there was a learning opportunity for both her fellow classmates and her former classmates. She emailed the facilitators and asked if a few of us would be available on Friday, September 29th to come down to Georgia Tech and facilitate her team in a quick flash lab, just to get them more familiar with the process of design thinking. As soon as I heard about this amazing opportunity, I jumped on board and we began to speed prepare for what would be our final time facilitating this flash lab to a group of students.
On the Friday of the flash lab, we were all bursting with excitement and nerves, which was fully understandable since 3 out of the 5 of us going were underclassmen who had never gone outside of Mount Vernon to facilitate anything. We were all hurrying to go over our slides in the car, but once we got there we all seemed to suddenly become more chill. A somewhat lengthy and confused walk got us to the building where we should have been, and as we entered the room I think it all became real. For some reason, I wasn’t thinking about the fact that there really weren’t going to be that many people that we were leading, and I also didn’t think about the fact that they were just college students, nothing fancy or scary like businessmen/women would have been. Most of these students were only a few years older than me and yet I was the one teaching them something. I think one of my favorite things about this experience had to be the fact that our facilitators who drove us down to GT, Andres and Tedwards, didn’t actually stay in or near the room during our flash lab. They felt confident and comfortable enough with us leading that they left to go get food and talk to other recent graduates who also attended Tech.
Throughout the flash lab, I definitely felt pretty nervous, but I got more comfortable where I was the longer we were there. We had music playing in the background and we were wandering around as they completed each page in our DEEPdt Playbook. I found it much less nerve-racking and really just more fun to explain what we were doing as a whole or to help facilitate some of the students either individually or in pairs rather than to the entire group. With all those eyes on me, it was definitely pretty nerve-racking, but I think the more I do it and the more I practice my public speaking skills the easier this flow will become and the faster I’ll be able to move on my feet as I go through flash labs, presentations, etc.
Overall, this experience was one that could not be replaced or recreated. It allowed me a chance to fully practice what I know about design thinking and facilitating a flash lab, and it also allowed me to fully experience what it’s like to co-facilitate with other students. I am so glad that my fellow students and I had this opportunity and I hope that it won’t be the last time I go off campus in order to spread my current and growing stockpile of knowledge about the process and benefits of design thinking, or human-centered problem-solving.