Archive for September, 2021

YCISL Skills Survey: Which skill group do you want to improve the most?

Friday, September 17th, 2021

In 2019, we presented the idea of EQ-fying Schools, Classrooms & Learning in order to optimize the level of engagement. We postulated that current teaching paradigms exclude evaluation and optimization of emotional intelligence of students and the instructor, and that leads to fuzzy learning. We envisioned a smart dashboard for instructors that would help in course preparation. Data would include student academic records (mainly to identify gaps), learning strengths and weaknesses, and conditional preferences. For example, does the student typically need to be taught a math concept one or five times before it is mastered?

A creativity skills survey was designed and prototyped for a Stanford Sustainability Design Thinking course in 2020. A similar survey was then applied to various ITW workshops in 2020 and 2021. One of the questions (multiple choice) in the survey is “Which skill group do you want to improve the most?” In the YCISL context, this question is aimed at informing the instructor on student motivation and self-awareness. The survey is still in the prototype phase because we have had short programs and long programs, small groups and larger groups, and so on. So we are learning how the survey works in various settings.

However, I came across a YouTube video today on a cool way of displaying data in infographics so I thought I would try it out. The following infographic show the response to the above-mentioned question by a group of students from a university in Japan attending a YCISL Focus Group.

Almost half the students were interested in improving their creativity skills which is great because the YCISL program focuses on creativity (or more specifically creative energy). Many students were interested in improving their communication skills which is helpful to know since we have our elevator pitch exercise. Having this kind of information could help us balance our workshop agenda with accurate eq awareness & management.

Thoughts: Framing Your Design Thinking Story

Friday, September 17th, 2021

In the YCISL program, particularly with the project work, we have been taking our asking questions design thinking method and placing it in a storytelling frame. When ideating concepts, teams have to ask Who? What? Where? When? Why? & How? questions regarding the story frame they wish to open presentation of their concept. The aim is to engage the viewer to share or empathize with the problem or need. In a Thinking Out Loud session I recently presented in, I had students “doodle” a scene where their product and user were together. I asked them to try to answer as many of the design thinking questions as they could through their doodle sketch. Working on such a sketch helps teams learn their concept’s positioning and application circumstance as well as opportunities for adding details and filling gaps.

The doodle sketch above reflects an exercise I have used where we look at sustainability in bathroom lighting.

Want to try this method? Here is a 3-step method to try:

  1. Form and answer the design thinking questions.
  2. Make a preliminary sketch using the answers.
  3. Add details to the sketch to focus on one concept message (eg, your problem statement or your concept statement).

Bonus: give your sketch a title (could be your concept title).

NewSchools Venture Fund: A YCISL Perspective

Tuesday, September 14th, 2021

Last week, I sent in a job application for the position of Associate Partner, Innovative Schools at the NewSchools Venture Fund. My cover letter stated that I was seeking flexible part-time activity that would complement my Stanford youth creativity project. Apparently what I was offering was a non-starter which is not a big surprise. But since I found what they were doing quite interesting in the education space, I will write a brief entry here to share my views of their mission and strategy.

Their “Our Model” statement is quite compelling. The words “philanthropy”, “partnership” and “innovative” are the three keywords that I would pick out for their main feature list. To choose one sentence that I feel represents the overall effort, it would be “We seek out promising innovators from around the country, and invest in those with the greatest potential to improve student learning and make a positive impact.” A highly revealing design thinking statement. It has the Who? Where? What? How? and Why? that I ask for in the YCISL Asking Questions Design Thinking method. There is no When? element here or elsewhere in the Our Model statement. I think it should be added.

On their Core Values page, they list Bold, Passionate, Connected, Inclusive and Accountable. This reminds me of my visit with the Lili`uokalani Trust – in several respects. Admirable. In terms of a YCISL review of the core values, I think of Satoru Iwata’s GDC Keynote statement about his business card, mind and heart, and there is a fairly good connection with these core values: Accountable->Business Card, Connected & Inclusive->Mind, Bold & Passionate->Heart. YCISL-type words that may work better in characterizing the needed effort include: Mindful, Uplifting & Optimistic (reflective of our fondness for emotional intelligence and positivity).

Actually, even beyond the inconvenience of the flexible part-time condition in my application, there is admittedly sparing overlap of interests. Awkward momentary silence. The YCISL program is based on a premise that there is a universal lack of creativity in education and that leads to educational misses. The YCISL program is open to all and we have hope to assist any young person at any interface who will take personal ownership and has a desire to improve their own life. Let’s just say our napkin doodle may be quite different from their napkin doodle. Still, we can learn from each other.


LinkedIn: The Lego Data Story

Saturday, September 4th, 2021

You know, YCISL and “Lego” (the pieces) have been together since the start. We’ve had our Lego Exercise since our first workshop in 2011. We’ve used it to demonstrate creativity, visualization and team collaboration.

In my LinkedIn newsfeed this week, I saw a graphic that uses Lego pieces. I managed to trace it back to a company called Hot Butter Studio and a photographer named Brandon Rossen. The LinkedIn version is an extended modification of the original and I found yet an even more extended version on Reddit in an article titled “The Lego Data Story, adapted from original image by Monica Rosales Ascenio.

I find the LinkedIn version thought provoking when it comes to design thinking. In our YCISL ITW-DTI design thinking workshops, we are using an asking questions method to acquire pieces of information that subsequently get architectured into a story worldview. This model also fits well with our Divergent-Convergent Thinking Feature List exercise where we gather as many options as possible, categorize them into priority levels, and use select attributes to differentiate for innovation.

I feel the “Explained with a Story” step enters the emotional intelligence realm by applying resources with purpose and meaning. The prior four steps (data, sorted, arranged & presented visually) are essentially analysis steps and would be considered part of the knowledge intelligence …and as per the YCISL KI + EI -> LI formula, we need to flex our EQ to achieve leadership and success.

If we also remind ourselves of Sir Ken Robinson’s thought that “In fact, creativity — which I define as the process of having original ideas that have value — more often than not comes about through the interaction of different disciplinary ways of seeing things.”…we also can appreciate the Actionable (Useful) extension of this graphic because the energy we put into our own creativity is intrinsically motivating when we receive feedback that we are serving something of value (further credit to Richard St John’s thought “…you’ve got to serve others something of value.”)