Learning to create more a-ha! moments in learning

How do you learn? I learn through doing; a-ha..! Knowledge applied through reflection of a real life experience.

Learning to master ‘Creative Confidence’; sharing learning at Stanford d.School’s University Innovation Fellows Teaching and Learning Studio July 1997

Those ‘A-ha!’ learning moments come for me, more often than not, when I’m doing or trying something out; experimenting for myself or more crucially doing it with others.

I spoke to a university graduate and a current postgraduate student recently and they expressed a similar view. They described learning as not knowledge being poured in but in the application of new knowledge; both expressed a desire for more opportunities for active learning in the classroom, for discussion and collaboration across disciplines to share ideas and perspectives. ‘I want to know what I can do with this knowledge; my knowledge out in the world.’

We see that magical ‘aha’ moment a lot when students bring a problem or an idea to work through together in the Ideas Labs we run weekly in the Learning Zone during term time.

Working on your own idea is a motivated process of being willing to challenge your dearest held assumptions, experimenting to apply knowledge you have or new knowledge you have found, joining the dots to make sense of what’s needed to move forward and validate an idea as an opportunity. It’s about the search for desirability, feasibility and viability of a solution users want, need and will pay for; even just paying with their time; whether it’s a project, a social enterprise or a business venture of some kind.

The Teaching and Learning Studio at Stanford University is a place where educators from all disciplines experiment with new ways of engaging students using design thinking and experiential learning to solve wicked problems. The studio supports educators to develop strategies that help students develop skills and mindsets for the 21st century and I was very fortunate to be an awardee of the EEUK Richard Beresford bursary, a personal development fund for educators, which part funded a trip to the studio for the learning trip of a lifetime.

Fresh from d.School inspiration, I’m grateful for a whole new network of international colleagues to exchange ideas on shaping learning using human centred design that puts the student at the centre of the experience.  So forward thinking are they at Stanford d.School, that it’s an annual thing for educators to pitch their major and minor courses to students on d.School’s ’Pitch Night’…

I want to learn to facilitate more of those ‘A-ha!’ learning moments for students who come to the Enterprise Team’s Ideas Labs sessions. It’s about creating the environment for students to ‘try on’ mindsets and behaviours; practice being curious, resourceful, imaginative, questioning norms and assumptions, observing, ideating, making connections and big leaps to confidently create new solutions; seeing failure along the way as as the stepping stone to the next experiment…and that’s a tough one for us all to ‘try on’ in our practice.

It’s about the quest to develop all students as creative problem solvers;  ‘innovators’  in every discipline. This skill, rooted in creativity is needed in every shape and size of organisation to remain competitive and for employees, leaders and entrepreneurs to continue to find ways to create new value.

So what is Design Thinking and how does it relate to designing learning and facilitating learning experiences and how an it be used as a pedagogical tool?

Design thinking is a mindset. It is optimistic, collaborative, human centred and creative and it’s experimental. It’s the confidence that everyone can be part of creating a more desirable future, and the design process empowers people to take action when faced with a difficult challenge. That kind of optimism is well needed in education and in students heading out into a challenged global environment.

Image result for design thinking

Design thinking is a team sport and through small design challenges we and our learners can learn the attitudes and mindsets to collaborate and create, experimenting by framing a learning through design challenge, unpacking assumptions about the challenge or problem, exploring the problem space with users, defining a point of view about the challenge.

Through optimistic and energised ideation a design team can  learn to ‘turn off’ the evaluator mindset and generate ideas through divergent thinking; brainstorming, building on one another’s ideas, generating lots of ideas to create great ideas, and learning that sometimes seemingly wild ideas are the spark to something better; out of the box possibilities; solutions to wicked problems. Ideas are selected for development through voting and the design team builds to learn through improv and role play to imagine possibilities before building simple, fail fast mockups and prototypes to share with users for feedback. What works, what doesn’t..? Return to prototype… return to test… iterate…until ‘Ahah! We did it! Our solution has cracked the problem; what a feeling… ‘like something inside me changed.’

Image result for design thinking for educators

The Design Thinking Toolkit for Educators contains the process and methods of design. Developed by the global design company Ideo, (Founded by David Kelley who also founded Stanford’s d.School). The toolkit offers new ways to be intentional and collaborative when designing educational experiences, and empowers educators to create  impactful student centred learning solutions, but also to integrate design thinking into problem based learning as a creative problem solving process. The process empowers students to get creative, starting by solving simple human centred challenges to prepare them for tackling seemingly insoluble challenges.

‘Educators from across the world are facing design challenges every single day, from feedback systems to daily schedules. Wherever they fall on the spectrum of scale – the challenges educators are confronted with are real, complex, and varied. And as such, they require new perspectives, new tools, and new approaches. Design Thinking is one of them.’ Ideo.com

What was woefully missing in my education, and my daughter’s after me, were those serendipidous ‘A-ha’ moments in learning, and it’s this creative, human agency, I now believe that is at the heart of our work as educators. We have a short window of opportunity to intentionally develop learners as creative problem solvers, innovators and value creators beyond their discipline; skills for living and for lifelong learning.

‘Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.’

Benjamin Franklin

My thanks first to Humera Fasihuddin, (Maker of movements that start small) Co-Director, University Innovation Fellows at Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford ( d.school ) for answering the call to learn from ‘Creative Confidence’ and calling in to Lancaster University to kickstart our movement. You made possible a world of change in us that day and for the creative confidence of many more in the future.

Thank you to  Enterprise Educators UK for part funding this learning experience with the Richard Beresford Bursary. More details on how to apply here.

Resources:

Teaching innovators can download Design Thinking for Educators here.

A Canvas to design learning here

Sir Ken Robinson’s ‘Whats the point of creativity at University’ here.

Startup Summit

Win a place on a Leadership Programme in Silicon Valley

Startup Summit is an exciting event ‘bringing the global eco-system to Scotland’s historic capital.’

The event is a one day exploration of all things startup – looking at the changing landscape of business, surviving in the startup world and growing into a thriving business. Founders and Executives of some of the world’s most successful companies will attend the event, speaking and sharing advice for your startup.

Each year, a number of emerging technology entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to pitch to a panel of judges for a chance to earn a place on a five day leadership programme in Silicon Valley. To be in with a chance to pitch you can apply now, here.

For more information about the event on the 1st of November in Edinburgh visit the Startup Summit website. There are also opportunities to volunteer at the event.

President Obama at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit

Catch up with all the happenings from the recent Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in Silicon Valley

Last week Stanford University hosted the seventh annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit, bringing together more than 1,000 entrepreneurs, investors and startup champions form around the world.

Hosted by U.S President Barack Obama, it exemplified the support and spark he has instilled for global entrepreneurship during his time in office. In his remarks he referred to entrepreneurs as “the glue… who can help lead to a more peaceful and prosperous future that provides opportunity for everybody,” a powerful statement emphasising the global value of entrepreneurs in our future.

To read more about the Summit read the Global Entrepreneurship Network’s blog post here. You can also watch videos of the event on the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2016 Silicon Valley YouTube channel.

Sign up to our mailing list to receive updates on Global Entrepreneurship Week at Lancaster in November 2016.

World Around Me nominated for Google Play award

LU alumni business nominated for Google Play award for World Around Me

Tarun Sainani, former LU student and CEO of WT InfoTech, will be attending the first ever Google Play Awards in California next month after receiving a nomination in the Early Adopter category for World Around Me.

World Around Me is a local discovery app that helps people in finding places to eat, drink, shop, stay, commute, pray, refuel, keep healthy, or access money anywhere in the world.

It helps users visually orient towards a place by using their phone camera.  It also provides reviews, contact details, and lots of essential information about the places of interest. This is a novel discovery experience provided with augmented reality.

Available in 23 languages, World Around Me is already being used worldwide and growing organically in all continents.

Also nominated for a Google Play award are well known applications including Dubsmash, BuzzFeed News and Houzz. Click here to see the full list of nominees.

Congratulations and good luck – we’re looking forward to hearing how you get on!

Startup Summit 2015

Startup Summit 2015 – Wednesday 11th November, Edinburgh

startupsummit2

The Startup Summit will be in Edinburgh on Wednesday 11th November 2015, where you’ll get to meet startup entrepreneurs, share stories and learn from people who have been in your shoes. There’ll also be an opportunity to pitch at the event and the winner will earn an all expenses paid trip to meet leading tech companies in Silicon Valley.

This year, the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh will be hosting a number of global brands, including Virgin, eBay, Google and British Gas; you’ll be able to network with company representatives and learn how to take your business to the next level.

To pitch at the Startup Summit, take part in the WeAreTheFuture Silicon Valley Acceleration Programme. you’ll need to apply with a 3 minute pitch video by Monday 12th October 2015. This opportunity is open to UK technology companies who have been trading for less than three years and have been seed funded (find out more here).

To learn more about the Startup Summit and to purchase your tickets (starting from £15) follow this link.

The insight into the world of venture capitalists in Silicon Valley

Pitching in Silicon Valley: could you do it?

silicon valley2

Ever wondered what it would be like to pitch and network with Silicon Valley’s most influential venture capitalists?

“Each year, three thousand startups approach a16z with a “warm intro” from someone the firm knows. A16z invests in fifteen. Of those, at least ten will fold, three or four will prosper, and one might soar to be worth more than a billion dollars—a “unicorn,” in the local parlance. With great luck, once a decade that unicorn will become a Google or a Facebook and return the V.C.’s money a thousand times over: the storied 1,000x. There are eight hundred and three V.C. firms in the U.S., and last year they spent forty-eight billion dollars chasing that dream.” (Tad Friend, ‘Tomorrow’s Advance Man’, The New Yorker)

If you think you could be a “unicorn”, read Tad’s piece on the world of pitching and one of Silicon Valley’s most formidable venture capitalists here.

Tom and Fraser: Back from San Francisco

Silicon Valley is the place to be for tech start ups

frasersanfran2

In April 2015,  LU students Tom Young and Fraser Williams, went on a trip of a lifetime to San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

Meetings with venture capitalists, visits to Google and Stanford University, and even breakfast outside Twitter, the pair made the most of their fantastic opportunity in the Californian city and are willing to share their experience and advice on pitching, networking and entrepreneurship.

Tom and Fraser’s trip was sponsored by several groups who they wish to thank:

“Our trip was funded through four sources, which we’d like to extend our highest gratitude to. Santander Universities, Lancaster University Enterprise Centre, Lancashire County Council and Lancaster University’s Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development – thank you!”

To read about what the pair got up to in San Francisco and what they learnt on the way, access Fraser’s blog here.

LUMS students on trade mission to Silicon Valley

Entrepreneurial students off to San Francisco to meet potential venture capitalists in Silicon Valley

thomas&fraser

Thomas Young and Fraser Williams, students in the LU Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development, will be jetting off to San Francisco on Tuesday (21st April) to meet with venture capitalists and tech start-ups in Silicon Valley.

Thomas, a 1st year BA Hons Management and Entrepreneurship student, and Fraser, currently in 2nd year of BA Hons Entrepreneurship (with Management) studies, will be networking with pioneers in the technology industry and have the opportunity to pitch their business plans to potential investors. On Friday, the pair will also be attending an MBA class at the famous Stanford University Business School to end their four day trip.

This is a fantastic opportunity and we wish them every success and look forward to hearing about their experiences when they return- stay tuned for further information about their trip and potential master classes and workshops!

Follow Thomas and Fraser on Twitter for updates throughout their US journey:

@fr_williams

@tomyoungM34

 

Thomas and Fraser’s trip is sponsored by Lancaster University, Lancashire County Council and Santander Universities.

Young Entrepreneurs – already disruptive!

Kids Inc: Meet the youngsters running their own companies

It is not uncommon for shrewd high-tech chief executives in California to keep their cards close to their chest until they are absolutely ready for a product launch. It is called being in “stealth mode”.

Thomas Suarez is typical in that way. He is working on a patent-pending 3D printer which, he says, will work 10 times faster than the MakerBot model he uses at home.

But in most other ways, Thomas is anything but typical. At 15, he is a seasoned businessman… read the full article on the BBC