Stoking the Fire

There is nothing better to keep the post-Thanksgiving momentum going than a “good old” workshop, but of course when I say “good old”, I mean exciting, stimulating, and fun.  Thanks to Doug Solomon, our amazing advisor, current Fellow at IDEO, and former Chief Strategy Officer at Apple.  Additionally, he is a wonderful person who comes about once a month to lead the day and a half workshop about design thinking and its possible applications.  In this workshop, about 20 members of the Sibley community crossed over to the dar---I mean design side (Star Wars couldn’t be here soon enough)!

Something exciting to see is the increasing number of individuals that have gained experience with design thinking.  The Hub hopes, that as the knowledge spreads, that anyone can feel comfortable doing projects in the workplace or at home.  As I continue spending time in the Hub, I find myself asking “how might we’s” on a daily basis.  How might we organize all the papers we get?  How might we stop something from sticking to the frying pan?  How might we do something great in this world?  Big or small, looking at the world this way is stimulating.  Being prepared to ask the question is just as important as being prepared to answer. 

On that note, while teams were sharing their prototypes during the end of the workshop on Friday, there was one small, special moment that occurred that I felt I could easily highlight.  This team member mentioned that after day 1 of the workshop, while thinking about the challenge that Doug had presented everyone, she decided to ask her high school son about the prototype the team conjured up.  She explained that his immediate reaction was negative and that he expressed how social media and Internet access were bigger motivators.  On Friday, this team member came in and completely adjusted the prototype, and I really loved the team’s new idea.  It was a simple question to a potential end-user, it took 30 seconds to answer, but it completely moved the idea. 

It can be hard to be vulnerable and face the truths.  We like our ideas, naturally, and it is tough to remain unattached from them.  Unfortunately, however, we sometimes miss the mark.  But isn’t it better to figure that out earlier rather than later?  People are generally willing to give feedback, and it could be monumental to just ask. 

As my last tangent for this blog post, I have been reading Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, and he shared a story about a father-daughter pair (the daughter happening to be a Palliative Care Specialist) navigating the father’s brain tumor and surgery that risked him becoming a quadriplegic.  On the night before the surgery while driving home, the daughter realized that she had not asked her father his wishes if things turned south.  She turned around and drove back to the hospital, and his response surprised her.  He simply said that as long as he could eat ice cream and watch football on Sundays, that he would want to keep going.  The following day, when what was feared did actually occur, she knew how to approach the decision—and her father got to eat some more ice cream.  It was important that she was willing to ask the question.

As we continue to pursue our ideas and our goals, it is continuously more important that we are willing to ask and face the discomfort that can sometimes accompany it.  A small discomfort early on could be well worth it later.      

Please email to share your feedback, experiences, feelings, comments, or ideas about anything—I can't tell you how amazing it has been to hear the thoughts that people have shared and sent in, so keep them coming!  Also, send an email if you want to join our feedback team and are willing to be interviewed for our future projects!


This is me, by the way.  Thought I would provide a face to all thoughts and stories that I have been fortunate enough to share with you.  Feel free to say hi or find me in the Hub!