The Eurekaha team downed tools for a well deserved break over the Christmas and New Year period, so after a short hiatus from the blog we are back with a start of 2018 update on this year’s activities and some exciting news.
We did not mess around on our return on the 12th Jan, instead plunging the students in to a high octane Design Thinking crash course based on the Stanford d.School ‘Wallet Exercise’. In short, we split the students into smaller teams, and challenged them to design a wallet for an assigned customer (College tutors). After a number of interviews that probed deeper into the lives of their customers, the students developed ‘insights’, formed ‘points of view’ and defined a number of user-centred design challenges. A period of creative solutioneering ensued followed by customer feedback and prototyping, leading to concepts that included a pair of shoes that would never allow you to forget your bank cards, to a digital ring that not only served as a symbol of marriage, but also sensed its rightful owner, paid for things at a swipe and dazzled with its exposed electronics.
The crash course brought together the basic principles of design thinking and marked the end of the first phase of our Eurekaha pilot. The 19th Jan saw us move into phase 2, the challenge!
Through various network connections and previous projects, we have been lucky enough to be connected to a charity with an important and somewhat pressing mission, mitigating climate change. The Converging World (TCW) is a charitable organisation that invests in renewable energy and uses the returns to support environmental and social projects in the UK and India. Over the last decade, TCW have done this by building wind farms in South East India (Tamil Nadu). The turbines generate electricity that is sold locally, offsetting carbon from mainstream coal fired power stations. The revenue generated is then used to fund the reforestation of areas of South East India, a unique model that doesn’t just avoid CO2 but also sequesters it too. Through partners in Tamil Nadu, TCW supports a women’s cooperative who are paid to plant and nurture saplings through their critical first years of growth, generating local employment and business opportunities that positively impact local lives. Additionally, the surplus income is used to provide access to affordable sustainable energy as well as global citizenship programmers twinning schools in India and the UK. At scale, the Converging World model has the potential to create a tremendous benefit for every one of us. I won't go into further detail, other than to say that there is a link between engagement with the younger generations and the ability to scale this model in the future. This is the basis on which we have chosen to challenge the Eurekaha students:
'How might we successfully engage younger people in the mission and activities of The Converging World?'
On the 26th Jan, the Converging World team travelled to Bridgwater & Taunton College to meet the students. Wendy Stephenson, CEO, introduced John Pontin, TCW Founder and Molly Byrne, Programme Manager. Together, they briefed the team on the organisation, its activities and vision. The Eurekaha team then took the opportunity to kick off their research with a series of stakeholder interviews.
This task is big, its broad and it's going to challenge the students to use their newly acquired skills to identify areas of focus and concepts that sow the seeds for future projects. It’s also a great opportunity to develop those skills that will stand them in good stead with future employers, not to mention the development of social awareness and responsibility. The Eurekaha and Bridgwater & Taunton College team will be on hand to guide and assist the students every step of the way.
You can find out more about The Converging World here.
We can look forward to a guest blog from the Converging World team soon. Until then, stay safe.