Monday, March 6, 2017

Engineering A New Bike: Scandinavian Design Thinking

It's been 10 months since DJ and Elliot, our student leaders, started to formulate the idea of an international engineering design trip. Many conversations, plans, and commitments have finally led to this day - the first day of Project Week 2017 - and we are ready to dig in to the challenge that lies ahead of us.

Although we won't get much sleep on tonight's red eye to Europe, the schedule has afforded us the opportunity to spend some time formulating ideas for our project in NH so that we don't hit the ground in Malmo and Copenhagen unprepared. We took full advantage of our time on campus to learn important skills and to double check our packing list.

Most high school students would probably find it hard to focus on learning a new skill just prior to embarking on a 14 hour journey across the Atlantic, but this is exactly what our group was able to do. They enthusiastically participated in a series of challenges and exercises that introduced them to design thinking, a process developed by David Kelly and his staff at IDEO that has now been adapted and employed by students and professionals the world over. The group now understands the significant role that empathy plays in the design process and how important it is to generate as many ideas as possible before focusing on any one solution.

The students further demonstrated their commitment to this project by meeting with the faculty leaders one-on-one in the airport terminal to discuss how we can work together to make this trip a success, both for the individual and the group. 

Finally, the long trip has begun and we are enroute to Denmark and Sweden. It's a beautiful night as we depart Boston, a good omen for the trip ahead.

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