- 1 hours
- Social and Emotional Skills
0Schedule 08/06/20 08:00 AM The Subscription Box Design Project The Subscription Box Design Project is a fast-paced project leading students through the design thinking process. Students pair up, show and tell each other about their boxes, ideate, and make a new solution that is “useful and meaningful” to their partner. This activity leads students through a rapid, full-cycle of https://teacheverywhere.org/activity/the-subscription-box-design-project/Print
The Subscription Box Design Project is a fast-paced project leading students through the design thinking process. Students pair up, show and tell each other about their boxes, ideate, and make a new solution that is “useful and meaningful” to their partner. This activity leads students through a rapid, full-cycle of the design thinking process. The project is broken down into specific steps with a worksheet packet that is easy for one person (teacher) to guide the students through the process. Participants get the feel for a user-centered design approach, develop a shared vocabulary, and get a quick taste of each design step. This project helps students see the value of engaging with real people (customers) to help them ground their design decisions, the value of taking an iterative approach, while experiencing a bias towards action, as the project is fast-paced with a limited amount of time.
- The False Start – Do this before step 1.
- Pro-tip: You could post this as Part 1 in your virtual classroom. Ask students to complete the task of #2 below and upload a picture of their design within a certain timeframe before moving forward with #3.
- Tell students to “Design the IDEAL subscription box.” (The product can be easily changed to meet the needs of your students.)
- This step is called the “false start”, but don’t tell the students it is a false-start.
- You don’t want them to talk to their partner (customer) at this point, just dive right into developing a product for them.
- The intention is to contrast an abstract problem-centered approach to a human-centered design thinking approach, which they will experience during the rest of the project.
- It is ok to let students feel a little rushed and some discomfort at this point. It is also natural at this point for some students to feel stuck and delay putting anything down on paper.
- When time is up (3 minutes or students have posted their picture) ask them the following questions and briefly discuss what happened during this session. You could ask students by collaborating through a post on your classroom platform or by joining a Zoom call.
- How did that round feel?
- How could we improve the process?
- You might even get them to say that they need to talk to the user (customer) in order to meet their needs.
- Did anyone attempt to get feedback from their partner (customer)?
- Students may not have realized they have a partner at this point, so only ask this question if relevant; however, when using design thinking skills, students should understand they are solving a problem for a customer. They should ask you who they are designing the shoe for before they start!
- Explain that this round was a typical problem-solving approach, taking a given problem, working using your own opinions and experiences to guide you, and with a solution in mind to be designed.
- Now tell them they are going to try a different approach, a human-centered design thinking approach.
- If you have not covered the Design Thinking Process, this may be a good time to give them some background knowledge on the process, or you may choose to let them experience it first and discuss Design Thinking on the backend.
- Protip: Share that playing background music is a great way to set the creative atmosphere.
Social and Emotional Skills
- In this activity, students will practice “empathy” and “respect for others” as they listen to their partner describe their ideal subscription box, listening for them to describe a barrier or struggle that they can solve to present back to their partner. Students are challenged by their educator to “dig for feelings” and stories about the user’s experience which is also helpful when practicing empathy. When the students debrief with one another after the interviews, the students will need to practice “respect for others” to ensure they are not missing any key information that could enhance their product design. This step in the activity is key as the students will need to continue to think not of their personal wants/desires but that of their customer’s (partner’s).
- Students will also engage in the “Responsible Decision-Making” competency. They do this through the rapid design thinking challenge where they “identify a problem”, “analyze” different outcomes, “solve for the problem” and consider the ethical responsibilities to promote and present the new ideated product.
- Determine how you will share the activity with your students.
- Review the Subscription Box Design Packet and modify it as needed.
- Decide how students will pair together and successfully virtually collaborate.
- Review the debrief questions shared in this guide and decide if you would like to share any of those as additional reflection questions or set up a Zoom collaborative session and use breakout rooms for each question.
- Protip: Consider adding to the instructions any parameters around student writing (grammar mechanics, number of sentences, etc.).
- Post the activity to your classroom platform for students to access and complete.
Provide the following directions to students and allow them to collaborate with their partners. Reconvene as a class to have students share their work at a later time.
Step 1 – Interview – Have students decide which partner is student A and which is student B. Have student “A” interview student “B” for 4 minutes. The goal is to acquire as much knowledge as possible about “B’s” subscription box wants, needs, requirements, product use(s), specifications, preferences, etc. The most important part of designing for someone is to gain “empathy” for that person. Then have students switch roles and repeat interviews.
Step 2 – Dig Deeper – Have students repeat the process with student “A” getting 3 minutes to question student “B”. Give students a “pep talk” about digging deeper and really looking for ways to make the subscription box user experience “special” for the customer. (Yes, think outside the box.) Interviewers should try to dig for feelings and stories about the user’s experiences. Forget about the box, try to find out what makes your customer feel “fist-pumping happy”, what is important to them. Then have students switch roles and repeat the second interview.
Step 3 – Capture Findings – In this step, both partners will take 3 minutes to summarize their findings, by writing down how they perceive their customer’s “goals and wishes” and “insights” into their partner’s expectations. Does the designer see something about their partners (customers) experience that maybe they don’t? Think about your partners physical and emotional needs.
Step 4 – Take a stand with a point-of-view – In this step, both partners will be given 3 minutes to write a point-of-view statement summarizing their customers need(s). Specifically, state: what is the meaningful challenge (problem) you are taking on and solving for your customer? It should feel like a problem(s) worth tackling, things that really make your customer so happy they will tell everyone.
Step 5 – Sketch at least 5 radical ways to meet your user’s needs. – In this step have students write their problem statement, then be given 5 minutes to sketch 5 different solutions to their problem or 5 different ways to satisfy their customers with their subscription box design. Be sure to have students quickly label any key features or benefits illustrated by their sketches. This step is about volume and ideas, not about evaluating the idea(s), that comes later. Encourage wild ideas in this step. You may want to remind them they are not just designing footwear; they are solving a problem and/or meeting the unique needs of their customer.
Step 6 – Share your solutions & capture feedback. – Now it’s time for students to share their ideas with their partner. Partner “A” will share their ideas with Partner “B” for 5 minutes and seek feedback from “B”, then switch and partner “B” will get 5 minutes. Both partners should be sure to take notes on their partner’s likes/dislikes and build on their ideas, as well as look for new insights. Be sure to tell students this step is not just about validating their ideas, but about listening to capture their partner’s feelings and reactions to their ideas. They should fight the urge to defend their ideas.
ITERATING BASED ON FEEDBACK:
Step 7 – Reflect & generate a new solution. Students should now reflect on what they have learned both about their partner and their solutions. From this new understanding have students sketch a new idea in 3 minutes. (Students will typically moan about the 3 minutes, but this should be a quick rough draft, focused on their key ideas. Tell them this solution may be a variation on previous ideas or maybe something completely new. Although they don’t have much time in this step, they will need to use their time wisely and include as much detail and color as possible.
Step 8 – Build your solution. – This is their “final draft”. Students will have 7 minutes to sketch their prototype. Remind them that they are trying to illustrate the footwear in such a way as to pique the interest of their customer.
Step 9 – Share your solution and get feedback. – In this step give partner “A” 4 minutes to share their solution and gather feedback from “B”, the switch, and “B” will be given 4 minutes. Remind students their prototype (sketch) is not “valuable”, but the feedback and new insights are. Design is always about the user! Students should be sure to record, “what worked”, “what could be improved”, “questions their partner has”, and “new ideas”.
Students can complete the debrief on paper by answering the following questions or be put into groups via Zoom to discuss their learnings.
- Ask, “Who had a partner who created something you really like”? Why did you like it?
- Ask the designer, “How did talking to your partner inform your design”?
- Ask the designer, “How did testing and getting feedback inform your design”?
- Ask the group, “What was the most challenging part of the process”? (Some may say the time given. Did the short time frame prevent them from generating quality ideas or just from making a better drawing? Ask the group, “Can we draw any correlations between the design thinking process and the Foundational Values”
- Some of the core ideas you want to draw out in your debrief discussion are:
- Human-centered design – empathy for the person or people you are designing for, and feedback from the user, is fundamental to good design.
- Show don’t tell – Creating experiences, using visual illustrations, communicating your vision, or ideas in a way that is meaningful to the customer is valuable.
- Experimenting and prototyping – this is not simply to validate your idea(s), but to integral to building, thinking, and learning so we can for mutually long-term benefit.
- The power of iteration – we went through this exercise at a fast pace so students can experience an entire design cycle quickly. By going through the challenge of interviewing twice, sketching twice, and getting feedback or testing with your partner twice, we reach better outcomes. Iterating solutions or having a growth mindset is key for a business to sustain long-term success.
For more on how to debrief see the “Design Thinking Process” handout for some possible Foundational Values connections.
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