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Study abroad: Classtime

Our trip to The Netherlands isn't just site visits; we have scheduled times to come together for classroom teaching and discussion. Prior to the trip our instructor, Trent Hill, assigned us texts by Christian Bason and Tom Kelley:

We read specific chapters before our classes (which are at or near the hotel in the mornings) and discuss them together. Here we are near the hotel at Sarphatipark talking about the Bason material:

Classtime in Sarphatipark

For the Kelley book, we were paired to thoroughly read a chapter and then teach it to our classmates in a short, 20-minute summary and activity. VR and I led a session about "The Experimenter" and the value of rapid prototyping:

Chapter Overview [5 min]

Who is an experimenter?

What types of prototypes should people focus on?

Breaking the rules and challenging key assumptions

Chunking risk

More is always better

Brainstorm [2 min]

Who enjoyed dinner last night?

Who got full?

Who wished they could eat all the things?

What were the pain points we faced? What kept you from eating it all? When did you realize that you were failing? How did you react? How did others react? What needed to happen?

After a rapid-fire brainstorm session we determined that we needed to create something to enable us to get and eat food faster.

How to Prototype [1 min]

We want to start visualizing the thing so that we can start testing it.

We don’t need artistic expertise or tools. Because the experimenter innovates by getting stuff out there for experimentation, we want to just get stuff going.

As the book says, “just enough fidelity to get the idea across.”

Prototyping [8 min]

Split into 4 teams. Half of you get pens and paper. Half of you get a bag of scavenged supplies and tape.

And... go!

Sharing [4 min]

We saw mobile apps, wearable devices, and models of inventions that ferried items across time and space. While these aren't ready to go to market, they are the innovative imaginings that are seedlings of what might exist to solve a problem. The point was to make an idea just tangible enough that we could see it, talk about it, test it out, and move forward from there.


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