I just finished my first week as a d.school fellow, and my mind is sparking. From the morning talk by d.school Executive Director Sarah Stein Greenberg, to discussions with Custodian of Growth and All Goodness (a.k.a Director of Fellowships) Justin Ferrell, to the chat with Editor-in-residence Emi Kolawole and Storytelling and Media Curriculum Designer Seamus Harte on telling better stories, and an awesome master class on improv by d.school and Graduate School of Business lecturer Dan Klein that stroked the raw human in all of us – I find myself asking: Why isn’t all education like this? Fresh, disorienting, frustrating, funny and real. I want to dwell in this space for all of eternity. And maybe I will.
And (I slay you, “but”), d.school Academic Director and Professor of Engineering Bernie Roth will be disappointed in me. What he said kept me up at night. The disappearing act I’m supposed to perform on my problems? It’s not quite happening. Do I need to go to Burning Man to get there?
So, at the risk of revealing humbling gaps in my evolution – what’s wrong with problems? I actually … like problems. I don’t even have to dress them up as “opportunities” to want to hang out with them. I mean, don’t solutions and ideas depend on problems for their existence? Aren’t they an important step on the path to revelation? If something is going to keep you up at night, don’t you want it to be something that sets you on fire?
Alas, it’s only my first week.
Bernie demonstrated how if you have a problem you’re probably not asking the right question. He then had us perform a meta-exercise that transformed my desire to make my organization sustainable into a kind of ego-pretzel. Ouch. I bounced between feeling like I was on the edge of a breakthrough and just kind of annoyed that Bernie didn’t buy my rationalization.
Which, of course, is OK. Thanks to the many welcoming notes from previous fellows, I know that this is the time to step back, let go, be patient (!), and submit to the process – especially when I’m not sure where it’s going.
And I’m all in. I’m excited. I might even take Bernie up on his offer to go to Burning Man next year.