Having never taking a design thinking course at Smith, I was excited to engage in this project and learn about the design thinking process. While it was a challenge jumping in without prior IDP experience, I learned a lot through observing others and taking on leadership roles. My first role in this project was to help others visualize their design ideas. While coming up with my own as well, I helped others visualize their ideas by creating 3D models and well as mokcing them up on photoshop. This helped us edit and narrow down our prototypes. I created a presentation tool when speaking to groups and professors on campus who we needed permission from. I then took the lead on our second round of prototypes and ran the meetings involving two teams, one following the idea of “inspire,” and the other exploring more of and “inform” route. I then lead the educate team to build our prototype, designing a form to gather information on how students overcame obstacles to belonging. Both teams shared their finds, and this soon lead us to the idea of “Smith REact.” For this project, I created the poster as well as formed the idea of the “Amplify Your Voice” booth. This booth involved a podcast tool in which people could record and/or listen to a public podcast from the booth or their phones. For this booth, I designed 3 more posters, and designed the booth itself with a red curtain and signage.
Throughout all of these roles, there’s a lot I learned. Before this class, I hated taking on leadership roles because I have a hard time organization and concentrating myself, let alone others because of my ADHD. By taking a risk and leading a part of this project, I learned that one of the best leadership tools is delegation. Leading doesn’t mean doing all the work, it just means learning others’ strengths and organizing them in a productive way. It’s a lot about balance, making sure everyone has their voice heard, yet being able to make decisions that allow for focus. Throughout this project, I also learned how to apply my strengths to help actuate others’ ideas. Because I had skills in photoshop, sketchup, and various media design, I was able to take others’ ideas and create a real image of what they might look like and how they might be used. I also was able to help broadcast and organize our ideas through graphic visualizations. All told, I’m still not eager to take on leadership roles, but I know that even if i had to, I have the tools to lead and think creatively and effectively.