d. School Reflection

Wow. What an amazing, fun-filled, fast-paced week. My time at the Stanford d. School in Palo Alto, California was fruitful in many ways. I now have a much better understanding about the design thinking process, I got to enjoy the gorgeous California weather (you could learn from this, Atlanta!),  I was able to learn more about working in a team while design thinking, and of course I got to see Stanford. No comment necessary. In terms of the design thinking process, well, I was really able to not only work through it, see it in action and implement it, but I was also able to really get a grasp as to what it is and how – and when – one should use it.

Up until Stanford, I was really thinking that design thinking was a process that was used by integrating it into everyday life –  a notion that was quickly nixed when the facilitators reassured us that design thinking is really best used when a problem has multiple solutions and no definite answer. I also was amazed to see how it is used in real life – all of the real-world projects and assignments that turned into an actual product or business that were founded on design thinking. My time at Stanford also allowed me the opportunity to work effectively under time constraints and produce a polished project while adhering to the guidelines of the design thinking process (which was much more fluid then I imagined).

This week also taught me the value of different roles, opinions, and thought processes in a team. I was able to fully understand that a team is really only as good as its “worst” member; meaning to function at its best, a team must be a cohesive unit. This also taught me just how important it is to have diverse thinking in a team – without my other team members’ willingness to try and do certain things, or the way they came up with new ideas, we would not have been able to produce the product that we did – much less come up with the idea on our own. This experience also helped me to feel more comfortable working with people I did not know – as well as letting me get to know more members of iD.

Overall, I truly enjoyed the week at Stanford, CA. California – and Stanford – were both gorgeous; I could look at the scenery forever. I also really enjoyed being able to have the chance to be immersed in the d. School, and experience a slightly different version of the design thinking process. I was able to learn to think in a completely different way – a way that will stick with me throughout my time at Mount Vernon and throughout the rest of my life.