No one told the fellows they should wear shorts. It was toward the end of the day on Sept. 3 -- the first day of orientation for the d.school project fellows, a cohort of mid-career professionals in search of new approaches to particularly difficult problems. The cohort was divided into teams and, in the grand tradition of Stanford orientations, sent on a scavenger hunt. This one, called the "d.hunt", was customized for the fellows. The list of tasks included taking a picture from atop Hoover Tower, finding the original Google server and locating former first daughter and Stanford alumna Chelsea Clinton (an illustration at the Stanford Coffee House). They were also charged with convincing as many people as possible to join them in as many campus fountains as they could find -- so, so much for their nice first-day outfits.
The project fellows spent their first three weeks on campus in orientation, including workshops with master teachers in the d.school community, a day-long design thinking bootcamp with other professional fellows at Stanford, and on field trips to Google, Facebook, Matter and the Exploratorium.
But I'll let them tell you more about that later. Let's get back to the beginning of Day One.
The deep-dive on design thinking was put on hold. Instead, the getting-to-know-you exercises in the first few hours of the first day called on the fellows to convene in one of the larger prototyping rooms at "the d." The fellows were asked to walk around the room and form equilateral triangles, then to protect each other from "enemies" they self-identified. The curve ball: no one was allowed to speak.
Adults who would probably go no further than shaking hands in a board room, crowded in on one another invading their fellow fellows' personal space. They laughed like children during the first recess call on the first day of school. Shortly thereafter they were off in teams of three and four to romp through fountains and find The Gates of Hell.
The d.fellows go on a scavenger hunt on their first day during orientation at the d.school. The fellows class consists of nine mid-career individuals who will learn and apply design thinking over the course of the year towards their individual projects. (Emi Kolawole)
And that's merely a sliver of what the first three weeks have held for the fellows. Here on the whiteboard, you get to follow along with the fellows, the people they meet and the experiences they have.
This is not, however, a traditional blog. Instead, think of it as their digital whiteboard and sticky notes. They will share their thoughts in short, medium and long form. They will share their process via video, audio, photo, illustration and text. There will be more lengthy progress reports from the leadership staff. We will also feature guest pieces from those outside of the d.school and the fellows program. This will be an opportunity for them, for you -- for us -- to capture what happens when restless experts apply design thinking to transform their professions.