Applications for the d.school fellowship program for the academic year 2015-16 closed on May 10. This year, we were looking for restless experts in the fields of K12 education and civic innovation.Read More
Have you ever attended a d.school class or workshop and wondered what goes into teaching the d.school way? Well, now's your chance to find out.
Applications for the d.school teaching fellowship are now open. The teaching fellowship (not to be confused with our professional fellowship program) runs for a full year and offers individuals an opportunity to learn, teach and grow their expertise in experiential teaching and design thinking.Read More
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.Read More
From the blank page to the public stage, storytelling can be intimidating. It can be a hellscape for people who have found comfort in more concrete exercises. In their session with Richard Cox last week, the fellows explored the story spine -- a tool for those who want to express themselves but struggle with a place to start. The concept, Rich explained, came from Ken Adams's book "How to Improvise a Full-Length Play; The Art of Spontaneous Theater." It was later quoted as part of a Pixar pitch in Daniel Pink's book, "To Sell is Human."
Using the spine of starting phrases, you fill in the blanks, with each starting phrase acting as a forcing function to get you from beginning to middle to end. Here's how it goes:
- Once upon a time ...
- Every day ...
- But one day ....
- Because of that ...
- Because of that ...
- Because of that ... (keep going with this prompt as long as you need)
- Until finally ...
- Ever since then ...
Kim Jacobson, the d.school fellow working on the San Mateo iZone, used the framework to breakout her own storytelling. Here's what she shared with the group:
Once upon a time I was a classroom teacher. Every day the students would play math games on the computers I set up. But one day the principal told me we weren't a babysitting organization and the kids should go out and play. Because of that I tried to change the way schools offered opportunities for kids. Because of that I worked on bringing more technology and computers and creative ways for kids to express themselves because it was so much missing in schools. Because of that I bucked up against the system more and more. Because of that I left and went to business school and then into software and business, until finally I met Sal Khan and was inspired by the future vision of students engaged and excited about learning. Ever since then I have been working to transform our public schools to help kids learn.
Read more about the San Mateo iZone and about Kim. And read our previous write-up on Rich's work with the d.school fellows.
The 21st Century Schools workshop day was an intensive, full-day experience held on April 26 and attended by over 50 parents, teachers, students and administrators from the San Mateo iZone and other organizations. The workshop was part of d.fellow Kim Jacobson's larger innovation in education project, and written/taught by d.school fellows Kim Jacobson and Caitria O'Neill. They were joined by Frederick Pferdt, the head of innovation and creativity programs at Google.
A workshop is an opportunity. You, the facilitator, have a group of diverse people that you're trying to engage with information, design techniques, and other participants. Unfortunately, the process of getting from idea to workshop is generally opaque. I've broken down the process using a recent workshop as an example.
1.) ALIGN AROUND WORKSHOP GOALS FOR YOUR GROUP
Who is your participant? Why are they here? What should they leave with? Kim, Frederick and I met at Google two days before the workshop to align around goals for the workshop and begin sketching out the day's plan.
Our participants were students, teachers, administrators and parents from schools across San Mateo County. Prior to the workshop, they had formed design teams and submitted challenges.
Here is a rough list of our goals for our defined participant:
- introduction to design thinking methodology
- understanding of how design thinking can be applied to school problems
- meet other people/schools trying to innovate in education
- work on real-world problems
- take home tools and information that can help them solve their own challenges
Decisions about the format of the day became much more clear based on the above criteria. For example, we decided to have design teams from different schools pair up and trade challenges in order to reduce the 'stakes' and free up each team to concentrate on the method.
2.) TACKLE THE TICK-TOCK EARLY
At the d.school, a minute-to-minute workshop plan is lovingly referred to as a tick-tock. Kim, Frederick and I walked through the presentation, thinking about how to incorporate things such as time for physical transitions. Here is a starter list of workshop design considerations:
- set-up and briefing for the coaches
- warm-up activity
- time to split the group into teams and assign them coaches
- short lectures on each step in the design-thinking process (when you're working with inexperienced coaches, it is best to present the material to the whole group. If your coaches are rockstars, you can delegate things such as 'teaching the section on empathy' to them and avoid transitions)
- time for physical transitions through the space
- time for share-outs and team feedback
- what visuals or handouts are you providing for each of the steps?
Once Kim, Frederick and I were aligned on the general components of the day, I went home and created this tick-tock for our workshop. If it looks tight, it is because it is obscenely tight.
3.) SLIDES - BEAUTIFUL REMINDERS OF WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING http://www.slideshare.net/caitriaoneill/design-thinking-workshop-presentation-slides
Slides aren't strictly necessary. You can demonstrate an entire design sprint on a whiteboard for your group, or you can go to the other extreme and fill a deck with detailed bullet points. I use slides because they are massive visual reminders of what people (including myself) should be doing.
I put specific instructions and tips into the slides as a reference guide. This definitely helps when you're teaching a large group or uncertain if the coaches are familiar with specific techniques.
You can use the slides and lecture portions of a workshop to model correct behavior, because your participants may not know the difference between a good point of view and a bad one, etc. For example, I made my own POV here and then used the example to explain design concepts.
I met: persona
I was surprised to learn: insight
It would be game changing to: HMW/Design challenge
Our workshop had a lot of physical transitions in a big space. Having visual instructions projected on the wall can help keep a big group organized and on task.
4.) GO HOME WITH YOUR PARTICIPANTS - THE ART OF THE HANDOUT
The final frontier for a workshop is the transition back into a participant's daily life and challenges. Each group went home at the end of this particular workshop with a solution to their own school's 'challenge' that another group had prototyped for them.
We created a field sheet and an e-mail address for teams to send in future work. We did this to create the expectation that the experiment continue, and to guide that effort. We did not receive many field sheets, despite our own effort. In the future, the instructions/expectations would have to be modified. I've had success with fieldwork and form deliverables with other groups and imagine this is a matter of striking the right chord with the participant.
5.) THE CARE AND FEEDING OF COACHES
Coaches are God's gift to the terminally busy. The 21st Century School workshop ended up having just about one coach per group with a few coaches straddling two. Giving up your entire Saturday to manage a group of 4-15 people is not a gentle ask.
Knowing that our coaches did not all have the same level of exposure to design thinking, I arranged a 30-min. prep session before the workshop started. We did a blisteringly fast walkthrough of the tick-tock, discussed each of the steps of design thinking and accompanying logistics. This wasn't enough time - if you are planning ahead you might consider moving a prep-session into another day.
6.) DO IT BETTER NEXT TIME
Workshops are a fantastic opportunity to get to know your 'users of interest' better. Who grasps it? Who is a natural facilitator? Who absolutely refuses to loosen their tie and use post-its? More importantly, if you could do it again, how would you change things?
I feel that, at the d.school, we have not yet mastered the art of sharing workshop secret sauce. We share decks, we share stories, but we rarely share specifics on what didn't work when it comes to workshops. I suggest you take a few moments after a workshop and have each of the leaders debrief quickly on the challenges and potential changes.
For example, here are a few of our learnings from 21st Century Schools:
- Groups with access to chairs kept sitting in them throughout the whole program, lowering energy significantly.
- Spatial transitions were hard on a few of our participants.
- Our method for splitting up the groups was a good idea but a mess during implementation. Next time, we'd probably figure out team/coach/space assignments in advance of the event.
- Having a few people walking around and keeping all of the coaches on time was a godsend. Our group assignment put us 30 mins. behind schedule, but the time was made up by lunch.
- Share outs and interaction in the large/lecture group helped boost energy during lectures.
'Have any tips, suggestions or questions about workshop design? 'Have any materials you'd like to share? Please let us know in the comments!
Caitria O'Neill is a fellow and lecturer at the d.school. You can follow her on Twitter @CaitriaONeill.
Update: We have posted answers to a number of frequently asked questions regarding the fellowship and the application process. Prior to sending in a question about the application, please read this document. We will continue to update it as we receive additional questions that have not already been answered.
We’re now accepting applications for the d.school fellowship program for the academic year 2014-15. This year, we are looking for restless experts in the fields of K12 education and health care. Ideal candidates will be mid-career professionals and entrepreneurs with the potential to drive systems-level change. If you’re dedicated to improving either of these areas, read on!
What’s a d.school fellowship?
Our hands-on, project-based program is rooted in organization design and is intended to help accelerate creative leaders and their organizations. Ideally, candidates for the fellowship will have already launched an initiative in either of our two focus areas. They will also be coming to the program looking for a way to scale their impact.
Selected fellows will be eligible to receive a full-time stipend and benefits, so they may commit to the 10-month experience. Throughout the program, all fellows will have access to the resources of the d.school, Stanford University and the Silicon Valley community.
How does it work?
This intensive program includes both residency periods at the d.school, and time in the field to gain insights and test prototypes. It is anticipated that fellows will split their time evenly between these modes, but their experiences will vary depending on their projects.
Who are we looking for?
The d.school fellows are high-performers with an instinct for the edge, self-starters with an impulse for change and the savvy to make it real. To learn more about the types of people we’re looking for, read about our current cohort. You can also check out our K12 Lab Network. We are not seeking applicants outside of the education and health care spaces at this time.
Can I keep my current job during the fellowship?
Depending on the partner organization, in some cases fellows may stay on that organization's payroll and work closely with colleagues on their fellowship project. The program requires full-time residence during Fall Quarter.
Here’s a timeline of what to expect:
Fall Quarter: Sept. 2 – Dec 6. Focus on Learning & Leading Fellows will dive deep into organizational behavior and design through their participation in experiential d.school courses. They will also take part in weekly workshops that feature Stanford faculty and outside experts in leadership, entrepreneurship, creativity, ethnography, scenario planning and more.
Winter Quarter: Jan. 5 – March 14, 2015 Focus on Leading & Doing Fellows rev through the design-thinking cycle (Empathy, Define, Ideate, Prototype & Test) to sharpen their projects and begin to prototype — either back with their employer or working independently. Fellowship events are scheduled for the periods when fellows are not in the field.
Spring Quarter: March 30 – June 18, 2015 Focus on Doing Using what they’ve learned during the fall and winter, fellows refine their projects and launch them into the world.
Areas of focus
K12 Education We encourage applicants whose projects focus on one of these seven areas and are based in the United States:
- Redesigning the Role of the Teacher: Blended, personalized, and challenge-based learning all fundamentally shift the traditional role of the teacher. How might we reinvent teacher roles, teacher training and development, and school structures to meet and shape this future?
- Redesigning the Role of the School Leader: The challenges of contemporary school leadership require fundamental shifts in what principals and other school leaders do. How might we develop and sustain school leaders who know how to create the conditions for student-centered pedagogy and organizational creativity to thrive? We welcome proposals from exemplary school leaders and those who work with them.
- Parent Engagement: What is the future of parent engagement and leadership in a changing educational landscape? How might parents find new avenues of engagement to stimulate district-level change?
- New School Model Design: Imagine the Future of Grades 6-14: How might we design and prototype new school models that deeply engage students and build their design thinking, entrepreneurship, and character skills needed for life and work in the 21st Century? NOTE: We may have special opportunities for applicants who would like to develop school models that meet the Silicon Schools Fund criteria.
- New Orgs for Educational Equity: We recognize the important role that non-school entities (non-profits, ed-tech startups, etc.) play in stimulating innovation across the ed sector. We welcome applications from organizations whose work addresses system-level inequities and addresses them in new ways.
- Infusing Creativity in K-5 Teaching and Learning: On the heels of Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley, we are seeking fellows with projects that bring more creativity into student-facing experiences in and out of school for K-5 students. A focus on curriculum design or innovative teacher professional development would be viable here.
- Designing Challenge-Based Learning: How might we design and lead a wave of challenge-based learning opportunities for youth?
Health care We do not have specific areas of focus for potential health care fellows, but the program is designed for those working on systems-level change. We welcome international and U.S.-based projects.
How to apply
Why should you consider the d.school fellowship? If you have launched a program or organization aimed at transforming K12 education or health care, the fellowship gives you the space and support to rigorously pursue its impact and your own leadership potential. Rather than come in for a year, study something new, then go back and practice it, you will learn by doing throughout the year. At the d.school, we aim to unlock the potential of innovators, knowing that their innovations will follow.
What we need from you:
- A current CV, including two potential references with their titles and relationship to you
- A 1000-word story about who you are and what’s led you to our doorstep
- A 500-word statement explaining your vision for the impact you want to have in the education or health care sector
- A one-minute video on what you need to realize your potential
THE DEADLINE TO APPLY IS 11:59 pm PST on May 16. PLEASE PUT YOUR NAME ON EACH PIECE OF YOUR APPLICATION.
- You must send all application materials to email@example.com by the deadline to be considered for the next round of the application process. We’ll accept the following file formats: .docx, .pdf, .mp4 and .mov.
- When submitting your application please ensure your subject line reads the following: LAST NAME, FIRST NAME 2014-2015 d. fellows application.
- Open-application finalists will be chosen the week of June 2. All applicants will be notified at that time. Finalist interviews will take place in early June, and fellows will be chosen shortly thereafter. The fellowship begins Sept. 2.
Over several days last weekend, I met hundreds of fascinating people individually and all at once. Many of them generously asked what I do and patiently listened to my stories. I say generously and patiently because I rarely have a short answer for anything. I'm a Southern-raised rambler with a tendency to over-explain who meanders to run-on discoveries. But I also want to be understood.
So I'd like to write here, as clearly as a nuanced description can be, what I look for in potential d.school fellows. We have a collaborative selection process, which means these are personal thoughts, not a magic key. That said, we've learned a lot in two years about the type of people we can help and who contribute naturally to our students and the broader Stanford community.
If you've been by The Accelerators blog at The Wall Street Journal this week, you might have seen an article I wrote about how to enable a startup culture in an established organization. Here's what I mean by "expertise, restlessness and irrationality." Stay with me.
1. Expertise. This is about more than academic credentials and achievements at great organizations. I look for people who've made bold moves toward extreme personal growth. Melissa Kline Lee worked in the burn intensive care unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Kim Jacobson was a schoolteacher in Compton the year of the Rodney King riots. Melissa Pelochino taught complex literary interpretation to kids reading far below grade level — and saw their abilities jump in only six months. Experts are not just well-trained and great at what they do, they push their own limits to impact those around them.
2. Restlessness. The ancient Greek poet Archilochus wrote: "The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing." I always wanted to be a hedgehog, an incredible talent so amazing at my work that I set the pace in my field and inspired beyond it (think Michael Jordan). But I'm a connector, I lack extreme discipline, and I've never been the best at any one thing.
It took a long time to realize that restlessness is a gift, and it gives back if applied positively and in the right environment. Guido Kovalskys has founded four companies in 15 years, and had not worked in education until launching a platform that, to date, has more than 200,000 registered teachers. Anne Gibbon was an Olympics-quality rower, taught leadership at the Naval Academy, spent three years aboard a warship as a rare female officer and then worked with the Navy Seals.
Margaret Hagan earned a Ph.D in Politics and International Studies, overcame cancer, went to Stanford Law School, got an offer at a major firm and decided this year to pursue her fellowship project creating the field of legal design. Guido, Anne and Margaret have had multiple opportunities for long-term careers — but instead have been blessed restless.
3. Irrationality. This starts with a firm faith in your own self-efficacy, even when the impact you want to make seems crazy to others — until you do it. Matt Haney ran for the San Francisco school board though he's much younger than his elected colleagues, doesn't have kids and the position doesn't pay (he had a full-time job before the fellowship). Caitria O'Neill studied Soviet Russia at Harvard, then launched a disaster relief company at age 22. Fred Leichter has long been a leader at an established organization, but instead of stopping where he's in charge, keeps creating scrappy new roles for himself through his push for social change.
That push, in many ways, is what this fellowship is about. Now, please tell us your stories. We want to know.
Update, April 15, 2014: Applications for the 2014-2015 d.school fellowship program are now open. Learn more about them here.