On Monday, February 29, I was able to live a long-standing dream of mine. Thanks to earlier relationships built by others, thanks to the growing partnership between MVIFI and Teachers Guild, and thanks to Innovation Diploma traveling to San Francisco, I was able to spend a glorious morning at IDEO.
I have enormous curiosity and respect for IDEO. I am progressively reading everything I can get my hands on about IDEO. I dream a not too distant future in which MVIFI and the Innovation Diploma operate even more like IDEO.
To be at IDEO was truly magical. For this first post about my experience, I will pinpoint just a few things that stood out to me.
First, IDEO is incredibly purposeful about setting conditions for creative collisions. From the office/studio layout, to the intentional kitchen location and design, to the home plate to await an open bathroom, IDEO orchestrates serendipity and collegial sharing. Program and process is built into the week so that people from different teams rub against each other and exchange ideas and challenges.
Secondly, IDEO makes its culture and norms known. The organization is very purposeful about its shared and foundational beliefs. The current expressions of those values greet folks as they enter the door, and the emerging expressions are clustered with a kind of family-picture wall about the future IDEO. But, believe this for sure — they are so much more than just affixing words to a wall.
And, third, the prototype culture is surging throughout the people and organization. IDEO learns by doing and building and testing and integrating feedback. They move fast and involve the collaborative wisdom of the team, gaining insights by constructing a reality that did not exist before so that they can see it and hear it and feel it.
During the last half hour of our visit, the iDiploma crew prototyped several solutions to the current Teachers Guild challenge: “How might we create programs, processes, and tools to provide ongoing support to all students on their journey to and through college?” It’s spectacular to witness our student-learners-and-leaders making prototypes for teachers who are trying to change the journey-to-college process for the better! It’s a thrill and a privilege to be breathing the air with fellow problem solvers.