Photos by Patrick Beaudouin
The Project Fellows have launched!
Friends, family, mentors, supporters and community members gathered at the d.school on Friday, March 4 to celebrate the completion of the d.school Project Fellows' exploratory and learning phase. Fellowship program co-Directors Thomas Both and Justin Ferrell kicked off the event, introducing the program and the night's stars.
There was food, drink and even dancing, with Stanford Lecturer, choreographer, performer and dancer, Aleta Hayes welcoming the crowd and energetically leading them to the main stage.
Each fellow was then invited to the stage to summarize their project in three minutes. The fellows were also tasked with creating an experience attendees could participate in as a way to learn more about each, individual fellow's project work.
It was an electric night, but, more importantly, it served as a critical point in the fellows' development. "Lift Off!" marked the end of their exploration -- a time during which the fellows were fully embedded in the d.school to learn and experiment. Now, each fellow has a defined entity with a clear purpose and a distinct constituency they seek to serve.
They are now heading back into the world, bringing what they have learned to bear on their respective challenges and inviting those outside of the d.school -- you! -- to collaborate, learn and grow.
We hope you'll continue reading to learn more about what our fellows are launching into the world and that you will reach out and seize the opportunity to join each of them as they move forward in applying design thinking to truly meaningful and important challenges.
Ever Forward Club
Ashanti Branch works to change how young men of color interact with their education and how their schools interact with them. In 2004, he started The Ever Forward Club to provide support for African American and Latino males who were not achieving to their potential. Since then, Ever Forward has helped all of its more than 150 members graduate from high school, and 93% of them have gone on to attend two- or four-year colleges, military or trade school.
Ever Forward Club is a youth development and mentoring program working with young men in middle school and high school. EFC provides a safe space for youth to have healthy conversations about all aspects of their lives. It works at the intersection of mentoring, social emotional support and academic counseling. Learn more at everforwardclub.org.
The key problem Ashanti seeks to solve: EFC aims to address the underlying causes of dropouts, the growing achievement gap of inner city youth and youth violence in a preventive manner by providing them with a safe place to get social emotional support and build character.
The big breakthrough: In order to grow and scale The Ever Forward Club into an organization that will serve thousands of young men, there are many systems that must be created to support new schools as they enter the EFC Pipeline.
Who The Ever Forward Club seeks to help, and how they might get involved: The Ever Forward Club seeks professionals who are passionate about supporting the emotional health of boys and young men. Locally volunteers and male mentors can support with tutoring, being on students personal board of directors, field trips as EFC expands to 10 schools for the 2016-2017 school year. Outside of the Bay Area Volunteers can also get involved with our work.
Patrick Cook-Deegan has been working with high school students on the importance of global citizenship, leadership and self-awareness since 2007. He has since taught semester-long mindfulness programming in public and private schools, and has led mindfulness and backcountry trips with Back to Earth and UCLA-Mindful Awareness Research Center. Most recently, Patrick was the West Coast Director of Inward Bound Mindfulness Education, where he helped launch its first wilderness-based retreats.
Project Wayfinder is designing new ways to bring purpose into students’ high school experiences. Instead of a missed opportunity, high school will be the launching pad for a meaningful life. Project Wayfinder is a collaboration with d.school designer, Kelly Schmutte. Learn more about Project Wayfinder at projectwayfinder.org.
The key problem Patrick seeks to solve: Trying to change high school from a missed opportunity to the launching pad to a meaningful life.
The big breakthrough: Understanding all the constraints on current high schools on innovating. Better understanding all the complexities and challenges on high school innovators.
Who Project Wayfinder seeks to help, and how they might get involved: We seek to help high school students and educators bring more purpose and meaning to their high school experiences and more broadly to their high school years. You can learn more at projectwayfinder.com.
The Youth Tech Design Program
Chris Rudd is a community organizer with a passion for social justice. Over the past several years, he’s worked with youth on the south and west sides of his native Chicago, challenging them to engage with their communities through activism and technology. During his fellowship.
The Youth Tech Design Program is a pipeline connecting young people with opportunities to create their own tech solutions today, and to seek higher educational and employment opportunities in the future. Learn more at youthtechdesign.org.
The key problem Chris seeks to solve: Empower young people to design and create tech solutions to problems they identify in their communities.
The big breakthrough: During the fellowship, I organized a series of Youth Design Days where students from the East Bay came together to modify a youth created web app, Expunge.io, to help California youth navigate the juvenile justice system. Representatives from the California Department of Justice and San Jose Public Defenders office are now offering to support the tool that these students are in the process of creating.
Who The Youth Tech Design Program seeks to help, and how they might get involved: We are looking for: students to continue building solutions to problems they care about, designers and developers to transform students' ideas into real, digital tools and funders to support the growth of our program.
Lauren Hancock has been studying and integrating the Reggio Emilia philosophy in her teaching for more than 15 years, previously at Google and now at AltSchool, a San Francisco-based K12 startup with a platform and curriculum that’s personalized to each individual child. As the head of school at AltSchool’s Alamo Square location, Lauren helped lead an interdisciplinary team of educators, technologists and entrepreneurs who are building a network of student-focused schools.
Altlead Connect is an initiative to deepen the cohesion between the members of a school leadership team. Without fostering a human-centered connection among school leaders, we falter in our educational goal of having every child reach their full potential. Building this human-centered community of learners and innovators will support existing and emerging leaders. Learn more about Lauren at lrnthmshncck.com and more about AltSchool at altschool.com.
The key problem Lauren seeks to solve: Understand and deepen connection between school leaders as a vehicle to ignite change in education.
The big breakthrough: We can leverage the relationships and connections of school leaders to hold the crucial human relationships in education while using technology to facilitate conversation, innovation, and change. They go hand in hand.
Who Altlead Connect seeks to help, and how they might get involved: In addition to reaching out to me about AltLead Connect, school leaders have an opportunity to partner with me and altschool to open schools with us and to join our mission to help all children reach their full potential. Here's the link to AltSchool Open.
The Food as Medicine Collaborative
Rita Nguyen has been working for much of her life to unite the humanitarian promise of medicine with the pursuit of social justice. Most recently, as the Medical Director of Healthy Food Initiatives at San Francisco General Hospital and a member of the University of California San Francisco faculty, Rita led several projects that blend transition care, food environments and physician advocacy.
The Food as Medicine Collaborative fosters meaningful partnerships between healthcare systems and food systems to tackle food insecurity and promote food as medicine. The collaborative aims to leverage financial incentives for healthcare systems to meet the needs of food insecure communities. Learn more at foodasmedicinecollaborative.org.
The key problem Rita seeks to solve: People living with food insecurity have worse health outcomes and increased healthcare costs, limiting their potential to live full lives.
The big breakthrough: I realized I am designing and innovating where edges meet - at the intersection between health systems and the food community, between nutritional facts and the joy of food, between charity and choice. This realization reoriented my brain to intentionally toggle between apposing entities and has yielded more possibilities for solutions than I had initially considered.
Who Food As Medicine Collaborative seeks to help, and how they might get involved: If you care about food, health, and social justice, I’m looking for collaborators and funders to support the initiatives that are being launched this year and to design future initiatives. In particular, I’m looking for health systems (i.e. hospitals, clinics, insurance plans, provider training programs, etc) interested in exploring innovative work to promote food as medicine. Email me at rita [at] dschool [dot] stanford [dot] edu to find out more!
Will Byrne believes individuals’ spending power can drive social change on any issue. It’s an opportunity he calls “civic consumption,” in which citizens apply shared spending power in the marketplace to get what they need and to incentivize corporations and organizations to take action.
Threshold is Kickstarter meets Change.org. It’s a revolutionary tool by which communities can harness collective spending power to win positive changes from businesses, organizations and municipalities in their life. Learn more at wearethreshold.com.
The key problem Will seeks to solve: To turn citizens' spending power into one of the world's most powerful change-making tools.
The big breakthrough: I launched a beta site, called Threshold, which is a Kickstarter meets Change.org. We've already won two victories - on health outcomes from a local company and sustainability at Stanford - by harnessing spending power of citizens in a new way. You can check out an example of how it works here, and enter your own idea for campaigns here.
Who Threshold seeks to help and how they might get involved: We're now choosing a next wave of campaigns to take the project to its next level of impact. Anyone with a change they'd love from an organization where they spend money - no matter where they live - can enter their idea here or contact me directly at will[at]wearethreshold[dot]com. Small business owners, community advocates, or anyone else interested in engaging with the project should reach out too!
Jill Vialet has been making life better for children throughout the country for more than 25 years. In 1996, she launched Playworks, a national nonprofit that supports learning and physical health by providing safe and inclusive play to low-income students in urban schools. Playworks now reaches more than 600,000 students nationwide through direct training and services in more than 1,000 schools and youth-serving organizations.
Substantial is a new non-profit initiative that is redesigning how we recruit, train and support substitute teachers in order to maximize their time for teaching and learning. Substantial’s work is based on partnerships with schools and school districts, non-profits and individuals committed to exploring opportunities for developing best practices. Learn more at substantialclassrooms.org.
The key problem Jill seeks to solve: Students spend ten percent of their educational time with substitute teachers. How do we maximize this time for teaching and learning?
The breakthrough: The problem is defined as a shortage of substitute teachers, but that is just a symptom of the fact that we don't proactively recruit, train or support subs.
Who Substantial seeks to help and how they might get involved: I seek to support schools and school districts in re-framing substitute teaching by infusing the experience with opportunities for meaning, mastery and community. I am encouraging them to get involved by piloting new approaches to achieve this, and sharing their experiences through the network that Substantial is building.
About the d.school Project Fellowship: The d.school project fellows are "restless experts" — talented individuals with a record of remarkable work in their domains, looking to go beyond what they know to innovate new solutions, platforms and initiatives in their fields. The d.school Project Fellowship is an opportunity to do this hard work of innovation, leveraging their own expertise and applying the tools of design. The Project Fellowship is currently accepting applications for the 2016-2017 academic year. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. PST on April 14, 2016.