Archive for July, 2021

Thoughts: 3 Rubric Statements for YCISL Leadership

Saturday, July 24th, 2021

YCISL is anatomically a leader-shaping youth program. It started 10 years ago. In that time since, what have we learned from our interactions and programming? Here are three rubric statements about the YCISL sense of leadership.

  1. The Person (30 points).
    • Is the person self-aware? How do they answer the question “Tell me about yourself“?
    • Does the person see themselves as having an ability for self-improvement? Does the resume show a history of self-improvement? What did they do today that supports their growth? What is on their skills roadmap for happiness and success?
    • What is the person’s worldview? Can the person describe their worldview using the asking questions design thinking method? Is there attention to detail in this worldview?
    • What are the dynamics in the person’s worldview? What verbs describe the actions? What adverbs?
  2. The Personal Story (30 points)
  3. The Senses & Sensibilities (30 points)
    • Can the person express a sense of purpose (and be honest about it)? Is the person comfortable with expressing their sense of purpose? Is the sense of purpose simple & authentic (no acting) enough to follow?
    • What does the person prescribe to build a sense of motivation? What self-motivation practices does the person use? Can the person describe some intrinsic motivation social experiments? [Automatic fail grade if the person thinks money solves problems.]
    • What energizes the person’s life senses? Can the person switch modes according to energy demands such as for quick bursts, peak periods, resistance, resilience & recovery? Does the person have renewable energy resources?
  • Bonus Category (10 points)
    • Is the person a scholar? Do they read? Do they listen? Do they ideate? Do they think critically? Do they interpret (data & information) fluently? Do they feel the freedom to explore? Do they learn from failure and clean up their worst mistakes?
    • Does the person inspire others to (try to) do great things? Are teamwork, team-building, and collaboration featured in the person’s activities?

As part of my Stanford work, I frequently advise new course instructors on how to compose a grading rubric. A well thought out grading rubric makes the simple task of evaluating work easy by providing focus & awareness. Yet, a great grading rubric maintains reserved flexibility to recognize statistically abnormal results. So here I am sharing some notes on how we can evaluate our leadership skills, record and future.

WSJ: Making Senses

Tuesday, July 20th, 2021

There was a special insert in the Friday July 8, 2021 issue of the WSJ titled the “Future of Everything.” In the center spread was an article titled “Making Senses” by Angus Loten & Kevin Hand. The article widened my mind scope on the “smart” and “eco-smart” project themes that are a part of the YCISL ITW-DTI workshops being offered this summer. Advances in sensory devices and dataset building with the alignment to human preferences should find amazing applications in sustainability design thinking.

Transparency. We are very familiar with computer vision and image recognition, but most of this is with regards to shapes and little else in terms of physical characteristics. The advancement described in the article about transparency will lead to better depth perception and recognition of vessel contents.

Taste. The need for sensory systems in food storage (eg, refrigerators that can detect bad food) is taking a long time. Let’s hope the advancements in “electronic tongue” technology means we are near the point where we can greatly reduce wasted food. A premium market for this may be in wine since wine can improve or decay depending on various factors.

Touch. I have seen many fascinating videos of product assembly lines and food production lines to know that there is a lot of mechanical tools involved. Upgrades to these and other applications could help healthcare as well as more common needs.

Smell. The AI sensory application to robotic noses and identifying vapors can be used in enhancing or neutralizing odors. There are so many places where pleasing odors could enhance productivity and removal of objectionable odors could reduce distractions.

Hearing. Noise cancellation hearing devices are quite popular presently. Ever tried using one during air travel? Isolating voices using AI could process sounds so that no idea is lost among the “chatter” and everyone is heard. Ever been to a call center?

The common thread in these advancing areas is the collection of reference data. Even so, there is so much variability that it is challenging to consider anything as a reference. Things change very quickly and conditions can tweak channels. For example, in the food waste application I mentioned above: how much reference data would be needed to tell whether it’s time to discard your jar of sauerkraut?


Activity: Mentoring Short Essays

Monday, July 19th, 2021

I have asked the mentors who have participated so far in the current season’s ITW-DTI workshops to compose short essays reflecting on their experience interacting with students and the life skills involved. The opportunity to mentor in a creativity setting is as significant to the YCISL program is as the opportunity to participate. The concepts of design thinking are as relevant to mentoring as they are to ideation and product realization.

This short essay collection assignment for the mentors is an additional chance for me to inspire these few students to be leaders lifted by emotional intelligence and deep thought on their journey. I have a few ideas in mind on how to fulfill this request:

(1) Storytelling. Through our YCISL technique in storytelling, we paint world views which detail the setting and circumstance, and enliven it with actions.

(2) Elevator Pitch. Using our YCISL “The Art of the Executive Summary” technique, we edit scenes and storyboard them in different orders to check for flow and meaning.

(3) Your Personal Story. Using our 3-part YCISL Your Personal Story technique, we build a resume-like chronicle of our past experiences, our present mindsets and behaviors, and ideas on our aspirational pursuit of meaning and fulfillment.

This could turn into one of those procrastination-type endeavors, so I am setting a 30-day goal of completing this assignment. Better this way anyway as the ITW-DTI workshops are still quite fresh in memory.

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.