It is almost the end of week three; Prototyping week. David and Manuel, from Aqualogy, came all the way from Spain for a few days to visit and give us constructive feedback on our projects. How fortunate! The week has been intense but fabulous, experiencing a long deep-dive into the Silicon Valley’s innovation ecosystem. The day focused on prototyping as well as digital education, both revolving around human needs and user-centered solutions.
We start the workday with a Prototyping Master Class by Hugo Giralt, CEO and co-funder of Propelland design studio, San Francisco. Hugo is part of a crazy team of “unicorns” with multidisciplinary backgrounds, from electrical engineers, to industrial designers, to politicians, that help clients transform their organizations for business growth, disrupt through human-centered innovation, and impact with big, scalable solutions.
To try and convey all the leanings from this day would take a long time but here are some of the highlights:
In Silicon Valley, you hear people continuously talk about transformation and what it takes to reach for innovation. According to Hugo, transformation is about changing the way you do things by reducing the frame between developing an idea and reaching the market. In other words, it is about disruptive innovation. When you disrupt, you are connecting to the human being. However, disruptive doesn’t mean innovating through technology, it means innovating by changing the way humans behave, and by designing a human centered experience that will change people’s lives.
“Solutions have to be impactful. Big ideas don’t always require big budget. What this world needs is solutions that really scale through time.”
To do all of this, you must work in a very fun and inspiring place; in a place that feels like home. Call it a unicorn stable, where you basically live and play with your superpowers in a shared, magical space. “Design studios are very important to understand all the different stakeholders in a project to later involve them in the design process,” says Hugo.
As a matter of fact, economy has changed. We have switched from an industrial to a service-based economy. To recap, in the 80’s, people (especially the Japanese) were very focused on cost and quality management of products, in the 90’s, everybody was focused on efficiency and processes because the technology started to be very cheap, and in the 2000’s, customer experience and e-business became a priority. However, when goods and services intersect, there is a big opportunity for innovation.
In Propelland and Silicon Valley in general, UX Designers are wanted. People are looking for industrial designers with several years of experience that can design user experiences, services and products, know how to code and program, and actually has some background in mechanical engineering. They call them “Unicorns.” Reality is, the market is looking for things that do not exist. Therefore, there is a tremendous opportunity for everybody to work hard and become unicorns. #keeponworking
This is the end of the specialist era. We are entering into the new renaissance era, where multidisciplinary teams are sharing knowledge and evolving into understanding human behaviors to improve the lives of other people. This is exactly the purpose of Imagine. All of us, dreamers, come from different backgrounds, ages and nationalities. Here, no one is an expert. Our key is to constantly participate, observe, ask questions, take notes, visualize our thoughts and keep our Moleskine notebooks with ideas that will later connect with powerful solutions. We are a team of superheroes with our own superpowers that, when put together, have the ability to change the world.
…What are you doing with your superpowers?
Brian Gougherty, Senior Development Manager at Worldreader, uses his superpowers to connect Worldreader with generous individuals who are passionate about their mission to eradicate illiteracy. He is fervent about sharing stories and ideas to change people’s lives.
Worldreader is a non-profit on a mission to bring digital books to every child and his/her family, so that they can improve their lives. Through efforts with the private sector, teachers, education experts, and other organizations, Worldreader continues to work towards a world in which the practice of reading is commonplace, and where illiteracy is a thing of the past.
In the Developing world, physical books are expensive, hard to ship and a burden to carry. According to Brian, what makes Worldreader unique is that they are centered in the user needs. People in Africa, for example, don’t read books just because they don’t have books. With this cost-effective, digital solution, kids will have more opportunities to learn and transform the world.
“People look very engaged and show a lot of respect to this educational tool. They really recognize this tool as a privilege. They take it home and share it with family and friends.”
This is how we end the day, with a rich talk on education, its importance, and Woldreader’s dream to get into every people’s home.
Two completely different talks, today is a day centered on humans and their needs. At the end of the day, life is about changing people’s lives and making the world a better place. Education has the power to change the world and hence turn people into unicorns. So, if you ever come across one, let us know. We want them. But we call them dreamers.
By Dreamer Carolina Uribe