Building a networked team: The new #dchat

The last time I worked in a team environment, I was on a Skype call with the teaching team for a pop-up class. That was a week ago. I have not been as diligent about working in teams as I should be, especially when I consider everything I have learned about the power of multidisciplinary team creation. (That’s to say nothing of how much I proselytize about this type of teamwork to others.)

Practice what I preach? Hardly.

This means I have a problem — a dissonance between my message and my own practice. Now, I’ve come to learn that I have two modes of going about something:

1. Grousing about it until I get tired, fall asleep and wake up with the same problem on my plate.

2. Changing my mindset, staying awake and actively looking for a solution to my problem.

I choose number two, as glorious as a nap would be.

So, I am soliciting for a team — not an internal d.school team, but an external team. A group of people I can digitally check in with every day to see how things are going, present a problem or issue and work towards a potential solution. I am thinking of gathering this group around a hashtag on Twitter. The hashtag may sound familiar. That’s right, it’s #dchat.  If you were with us last year, you remember we had a regular chat once a week. It was an event that took quite a bit of planning. I explored whether to bring #dchat back as a community-driven endeavor with the same once-a-week framework. But that didn’t feel quite right either.

But, as I have come to learn more about the d.school and, more importantly, the nature of its influence outside of the building itself. There’s a need that hasn’t been fully explored in the hashtag format — the need for team building, specifically networked teams. So, I propose this as the new prototype of #dchat: That it be a continual conversation around real-world challenges against which people are leveraging design thinking. All day. Every day. You bring your problems, your solutions, your accomplishments, your failures and we discuss them, provide support, share and grow.

This means #dchat goes from becoming an event to a living, breathing team. As more of us enter into a freelance economy full of comings, goings and constant change, wouldn’t it be nice to have a team of people around the world who are dedicated to a similar approach to problem solving and engagement around design thinking?

I understand this isn’t the first thing of its kind. I see both pros and cons. But this is a prototype I’d like to test. If another medium works better, we orchestrate it and move the community there. If not, we keep it right where it is.

The potential advantages I see are that this is more in line with how Twitter users actually use Twitter, checking in and out on a regular basis to engage in conversations and monitor what’s going on. Checking in to converse around a hashtag on Twitter at an artificial and specific meeting time may be convenient for some who seek to plan their engagements. But it may also be unnatural and inconvenient for others. It also limits the value of the conversation to a specific time period.

As always, this is a test. Let’s see what works.