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Crossroads Academy #1
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An intrepid explorer equiped with the skills and tools to conquer challenges large or small.
Congratulations on your creative problem solving—an essential skill for every designer! Great solutions and break-through moments come when you think outside the box, just as Ana Smith and Trager Strasberg did when they acted on their belief that families transitioning out of shelters deserve clean, friendly, and dignified homes. The organization they founded, Humble Design, works with formerly homeless clients to create welcoming makeovers of the residences they move into. Launched in Detroit in 2009, the program has expanded its services to four additional cities.
A preceptive observer and thoughtful listener, adept at understanding how other people think and feel.
Thanks for taking a walk in someone else’s shoes! Designers empathize to understand what other people are going through so they know how to help. Just as Earle Dickson did when he invented the world’s first Band-Aid. Earle’s wife, Josephine, frequently got small cuts and burns when cooking and working around the house. Earle got the idea to cut up small pieces of gauze and place them on a long piece of tape, which Josephine could cut off and use whenever she got hurt. Earle worked for a company called Johnson & Johnson that makes medical goods and is based in New Jersey, just a 2-hour drive from here. He shared his invention with his boss, and in 1920 a new product—one that we all use—was born!
An inquisitive investigator, driven to dig deep and sicover the hidden causes of problems.
Nice work using your powers of observation! Good designers keep their eyes and minds open so they don’t miss important information. Just like designer Doug Dietz did when he noticed how scared a young girl was during an MRI (a test that lets doctors see inside your body). This observation spurred him to use design thinking to turn the MRI experience into a fun one, not a frightening one. The actual machine was never changed but the rooms were redesigned to look like theme park rides, and staff were trained to help children feel like they’re venturing into space, the jungle, the sea, and other cool places. This change drastically reduced the number children who got upset and had to be sedated before an MRI. Now, some kids even ask if they can come back and do it again!
A creative and flexible thinker, brimming with imaginative ways to solve tricky problems.
Way to get creative! It's not always easy to see things in a new light, but that's what inventor and scientist Lonnie Johnson did when he created the popular toy, the Super Soaker. One night after work, Lonnie was at home working on ideas for a new water pump. After shooting a stream of water across the bathroom he realized he had the makings of a great toy! Brainstorming ideas and keeping an open mind led Lonnie in a new direction and gave the world an exciting new way to have summer fun.
An inventive builder, able to transform ideas into real objects or experiences with his own two hands.
Well done! Prototyping is an iterative process...even when you have a finished product, you can still find ways to make improvements. Consider what happened in 1966, during the first broadly televised World Cup games. With four hundred million fans watching, a problem became apparent: the ball, which was reddish brown, was hard to see and follow on TV. By the time of the 1970 World Cup, a new ball called the Telstar had been developed—one with a black and white checkered design that was easier for both players and TV viewers to see. The new design also made the ball more spherical, which in turn made it move in more predictable ways—something the players liked. While this iconic design is still familiar to most of us, the design of the ball has continued to evolve and improve since then!
An open-minded experimenter, dedicated to improving solutions through trial and feedback.
Now you know...testing is not just for school! Good designers test their prototypes with real people and in real-world situations to see if their ideas actually work. This is true whether the prototype is an object, a system, or an experience--like a TV show! Believe it or not, the people who create Sesame Street put a lot of time and energy into research and testing. Seeing how children respond to different ideas lets the producers know if their material is appealing and has the desired impact.
A memerizing storyteller, inspired to engage and inform audiences through words and pictures.
Hooray! You’ve made it to the final stage of DT Philly, which means it’s time to share the story of your design project. Explaining a problem in a clear and interesting way can be a challenge. Texas faced just such a challenge in the 1980s, when litter was piling up along the state highways. Texans are known for having a lot of pride in their state and a certain swagger in their step. Thinking about their audience, the state designed an anti-littering campaign called Don’t mess with Texas which reduced littering dramatically in its first four years. The campaign has continued for more than 30 years and is known across the country--how fitting for a state with a big personality!