One sunny afternoon outside on the grassy knoll of the new engineering quad some Stanford kids got together to talk about their plans for putting on an epic art & sustainability festival at our school to inspire a beautiful collective “Vision (for) Earth”. Fortunately, there were some Design Initiative members at this powwow and after some discussion, all the students agreed that this would be an excellent opportunity for some radical collaboration.
The Sunday following, a few members of the Design Initiative (Rob Ryan ’11, Shuqiao Song ’11, and Kingston Tam ’13) went as ambassadors to Vision eARTh festival’s student committee meeting. After some initial introductions between the diverse students and student groups represented at the meeting, the committee began to talk about one of the prelude events to the festival–an Arts party one month before that would introduce the idea of Vision eARTh to the student community at large. After some discussion of the event at the table, Rob jumped to a whiteboard to begin writing down some ideas. This prompted Shuqiao to suggest that the committee divide up into teams to do some brainstorming. One thing led to another and before you could say “ideation!”, four enthusuastic and energetic teams filled several whiteboards with ideas of event possibilities for the arts party. What a great impromptu brainstorm session!
In our “brainwriting” session, we had everyone gather around the table and each person was given a piece of paper and a pen. Everyone had the same prompt of coming up with names or theme ideas for the arts party and everyone was given just 2 minutes to put as many of their ideas on the paper as they could. At the end of the 3 minutes, each person passed their piece of paper to the right and continued brainstorming on the new piece of paper. We encouraged everyone to be inspired by others ideas and build off of existing ideas on the paper as well as coming up with more novel ones on their own. We continued this until each person had the piece of paper they started with, except now each piece of paper was completely filled up with ideas!
The committee was impressed that they had just come up with nearly a hundred name ideas in less than an hour! To end the session, we had a fun group share-out of each of the best party names on the piece of paper we had. (Not to sway the final decision or anything, but some of my personal favorites included: “Garden of Leland” and “Hot Mess Earth” –don’t those sound like awesome parties you’d want to go to?!)The Vision eARTh committee was so excited about our design thinking collaboration that they have asked us to teach them our process and host an event at the festival, so look out for more good stuff coming soon to a theater near you.