Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Activity: YCISL Design Thinking Incubator

Friday, July 2nd, 2021

In June 2021, the first YCISL ITW-DTI (Design Thinking Incubator) was launched. The second was just concluded yesterday. The ITW-DTI focuses on design thinking iteration in order for students to get the feel for revisiting design ideas in a fast succession prototyping manner. This gets the “raw-ness” out of the ideas which we thought would be a useful lesson for design thinking newbies. Previous to the ITW-DTI, we had the ITW (Innovators Toolkit Workshop) which was more broadly skills-based and ended with just one presentation. In the ITW-DTI, students have had to give their presentations three times where each time there was a blast of experiential learning.

Innovators Toolkit Workshop (ITW) Design Thinking Incubator (ITW-DTI)
4 days (2 weekends)
Skills: Asking Questions, Fast Creative Thinking, Divergent-Convergent Thinking, Filling & Crossing Gaps, Positivity
Project: Smart-ified Space or Object
Presentation: 1 Group Pitch
Exercises: Design-a-Tent, Invent-an-Ice Cream Flavor
Core: Out-of-Box Design Thinking
4 days (consecutive)
Skills: Asking Questions, Brainstorming, Divergent-Convergent Thinking
Project: Design-a-Club, Design-a-(Smart) School Space, & more…
Presentations: Team Practice, Group Practice, Faire
Exercises: Problem Statement, Solution Concept, Feature List
Core: Asking Questions Approach to Design Thinking

The ITW-DTI is a much faster program, but also attends to the “5-second Rule” phenomenon that was dragging the ITW program. By this rule and the more highly packed ITW-DTI schedule, the design thinking brainwork stays in the fast lane. Quick acceleration is key, but only needs to be pushed once. Making incremental improvements is a lot simpler too.

Compared to the earlier YCISL workshop programs that were on-campus and totaled many more contact hours, the ITW-DTI is an effective means of experimenting with design thinking with the potential to connect presence with action (EQ-talk). So long as the ITW-DTI experience along with all other YCISL programs spring the Aha! moments for students, I think we have something worth pursuing.



LECTURE: 2014 “Harry’s Last Lecture on a Meaningful Life” by Garry B. Trudeau

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

On April 28, 2014, cartoonist Garry Trudeau, creator of Doonesbury, gave the fifth guest lecture in the series “Harry’s Last Lecture on a Meaningful Life.” I watched the video at but understand that it would only be posted online until May 18, 2014. The lecture was reported by Stanford News here. This entry contains a few notes I made while watching the video.

Overall, I found the lecture to be an informative personal story with many agreeable observations about generational change.

– “…I gave no serious thought as to whether the work was either useful or meaningful in any way…” Commentary: “serious thought” would be something that an older person might have come up with which would have resulted in less productivity, satisfaction and success. This alludes to the fear mindset that adults fall into. His youth focused on the intrinsic motivation (autonomy, mastery and purpose) and fear about it as a career did not enter his mind at the start (it might have stepped into his parents’ minds though).

– “…it was my perspective they were interested in – my generational identity…” Commentary: one of the YCISL take-home messages is to use youth (your generational knowledge) as an advantage.

– “I didn’t know any better.” Commentary: Another take on how adults filter out many options because of a pile of prior negative experiences.

– “In college, there’s very little downside.” Commentary: Balance is key in college. If you can manage the coursework that will get you the diploma at the end, then any free time (and there’s quite a lot compared to high school) can be used to get involved in differentiating pursuits – and develop that EQ.

– “…but the whole dynamic has been speeded up.” Commentary: And there are a lot more traps along the way. Speed may also be reducing intrinsic motivation.

– “We start telling stories almost as soon as we speak.” Commentary: Evidence of creative energy in early childhood. Then adults get in the way.

– “…the opposite of comedy is not seriousness, it’s despair.” Commentary: Finding such useful perspectives is probably a key differentiator between people who succeed or fail in the same pursuit.


Opportunity: A Day in the World

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Just got around to browsing the May 2012 issue of Popular Photography, and the Editor’s Letter by Miriam Leuchter has caused a spark. It describes the “A Day in the World” project which is similar in concept to the “A Day in the Life of…” series of books that enraptured me back in the mid-1980s starting with the A Day in the Life of America [honestly, I know I bought one of the books in the series but can’t find it presently; no matter].

At this time where digital photography and near instantaneous sharing of such photos is possible, it is truly exciting to see this project concept return. It is happening in a new age of crowdsourcing and eBooks which will be deeply transforming to the original idea.

For the record, this is some of what is found at the organizer’s web site (

Capture daily life

On May 15th we ask you to photograph what is close to you. Upload a photo, share it, compare it and join others all around the world doing the same. Let a part of your life inspire generations to come.

Photographing the world on a single day

Together we will photograph what our lives look like on May 15th 2012. Our goal is to inspire perspectives on humankind – today and tomorrow.

An event for everyone, everywhere

Professionals, amateurs, school children, farmers, social media fans, astronauts, office workers and you. Cell phone camera, Hasselblad, home made or borrowed. We are looking for the perspectives of everyone who enjoys photography!

Picture today, inspire tomorrow

All images will be displayed online for you and everyone to explore. Some of them will be selected for a book, A Day In the World, others in digital exhibitions. Every single one will be saved for future research and inspiration.

Our YCISL Photo Essay assignment is but a tiny version of this project, but I feel that this is a germane opportunity for the SP 2011 students to participate and expand on what they experienced from their YCISL workshop. I will encourage them to enroll and submit photographs – and suggest if they need it to reflect on something significant to them on that day.

Education Nation 2.0 (Roundtable at Stanford)

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

I attended a Roundtable discussion at Stanford titled “Education Nation 2.0: Redefining K-12 education in America, before it redefines us” on October 22, 2011. There were 6 panelists (John Hennessy, Cory Booker, Reed Hastings, Salman Khan, Kim Smith and Claude Steele). and 1 moderator (Charlie Rose). It was held in conjunction with Reunion Homecoming which resulted in (what seemed to be) the majority of the audience being alumni. I was interested in the direction that the education reform movement was taking. The discussion was generally a high level discussion of trends in the reform movement (charter schools, technology, improved teacher education) and therefore gravitated towards solutions and visions. Each panelist brought a unique perspective but the most interesting was from Salman Khan whose vision has obviously kept pace with the adoption of his wares; he suggested promoting customized individual learning pace (which really extends to an individual learning plan) and access to topics not traditionally found in the classroom (mentioned proteonomics). Khan’s contribution has immersed him in education and it is now extended globally (presumably where web access is available). He made one spot-on comment about the true universal purpose of education and that was to enable a person to pursue a “productive and happy life.”

Overall, there was an interesting exchange of viewpoints, ideas and anecdotes, but I felt the problem was incompletely defined in scope so the discussion felt quantized. The panelists were mostly looking inward (the “me” issue that I am reading about presently in Understanding Other People: The Five Secrets to Human Behavior by Beverly Flaxington) and did not seem to have an outward view where they could identify reasons other countries were more “successful” than the US. Also, private schools and home schooling were not specifically in the scope of discussion (although the proposed solutions were actually close parallels: private schools<->charter schools and self-paced learning<->home schooling.

How could this information be applied to YCISL? We could talk about the use of technology and even that of Khan Academy as a resource model (especially as an innovation in education – perhaps extensible to sustainability education albeit interactive and responsive). I could also mention that youth need to drive the issue as well be the innovators in education – because, as YCISL teaches, adults are restrained in their creativity. We could have an exercise where students create a new protocol and purpose for schools – dreaming of a school where the pursuit of a productive and happy life is championed (this is the global scale problem).

Lessons Learned: Singapore Polytechnic YCISL 2011

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

“This is just the beginning.” This is how I started the first meeting in the Stanford classroom for the group of YCISL students from Singapore Polytechnic. It was the beginning of their Stanford experience, of course, but it was also the beginning of the CSDGC YCISL program and they were a part of it. That point of time was also the beginning of their journey towards a greater appreciation of their creativity and potential for leadership through realizing innovation projects. This journey would continue, I insisted, past the workshop end through maintaining contact and actively expanding the network of YCISL alumni for future idea exchange and discussion.

Here are some of the LARGE lessons learned (for me) from this recent workshop program (June 12-25, date of arrival to date of departure):

(1) Conversation is a primary objective.

(2) Buried with creativity may also be personal ambition. Look for it.

(3) Sometimes, you let the moment speak to them.

Learning with Apple: Challenge Based Learning

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Tuesday, November 30 2010 10:00AM to 11:30AMAdd to iCal

During this online session you will learn about Challenge Based Learning, an engaging multidisciplinary approach to teaching and learning that encourages students to leverage the technology they use in their daily lives to solve real-world problems.

Challenge Based Learning is collaborative and hands-on, asking students to work with other students, their teachers, and experts in their communities and around the world to develop deeper knowledge of the subjects students are studying, accept and solve challenges, take action, reflect on their impact, share the experience, and enter into a global discussion about important issues. During this online session you will learn about Challenge Based Learning, and hear from practitioners who have successfully implemented Challenge Based Learning.


This event is intended for both K12 and HiED faculty, site or department level administrators, curriculum directors, deans, department chairs, curriculum and instructional technology departments, and faculty and staff from career and technical education programs.

2010 Intel ISEF

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Spent two days this week as a Grand Awards Judge in the Environmental Sciences area of the Intel ISEF (International Science and Engineering Fair) that was in San Jose, CA this year. It was my first Intel ISEF experience. The main theme of this event is “innovation”, and the finalist students and projects represented the current best. I am most impressed by the broad representation. However, I am left feeling that there is a lack of tools to assist the students to focus their energy and maximize the potential of their creativity. From problem definition to experimental design to data analysis and interpretation, and to managing the project, the students need clear guidance in these areas to help them focus their independent creative and critical thinking. For an event such as Intel ISEF, I believe an age-appropriate definition of “innovation” is also needed. Innovation for these students should be based on the elements (knowledge, tools)  in their “sandbox” and be a personal statement to their peers.

21st Annual National Service-Learning Conference

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010
The 21st Annual National Service-Learning Conference®
March 24-27, 2010
San Jose, California

From browsing the Sir Ken Robinson web site, I came across a link to the National Service-Learning Conference, an event organized by the National Youth Leadership Council. The next session will be on March 24-27, 2010 in San Jose, California. The program guide lists, among other things, Ken Robinson as one of the keynote speakers, and several environmentally-themed events.