International Emerging Leaders Program

at Collegiate School


October 2017

Design Thinking at IELC 2017

The design thinking process is what lead to all of the amazing inventions presented at this year’s DesignPitch. The process starts with discovery, in which the participants consider the problem and interview those affected by the problem. After their problems were revealed, each group found their own space around campus to start their design thinking journey.

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The next day, while in the beautiful Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach, each design group moved on to the next step of the process, interpretation. In this stage, the groups expand on the problem and questions they are trying to answer with their eventual solution. In addition, each group made a specific user profile for which the product would be designed. These two initial steps left the groups ready to create one of a kind solutions to some of the world’s most complex environmental problems.

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During the ideation stage, the groups took individual brainstorming time in which they each came up with many ideas. This stage was the only one that involved so much individual work, but was especially beneficial to groups who had more reserved members. After writing their ideas on sticky notes, the groups considered all of the proposed ideas. The ideation stage was vital for the next stage, experimentation. Nour, of Morocco, stated, “It was a pleasure to hear different opinions from different countries in order to make an amazing prototype.”

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Experimentation was the stage in which each group finalized their idea and made an initial prototype. Making these simple models helped each group to realize the strong points but also the shortcomings of their designs.

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After each design was finalized, the groups practiced many times in order to prepare for the DesignPitch, which took place on Thursday evening. Each group made outstanding presentations, and they could not have come up with the unique and creative solutions they did without the design thinking process. Gautam, of India, said, “Design thinking was a unique way of interacting with other delegates to empathize with other countries an try to do our part in solving the world’s problems.

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Delegates Share their Environmental Crises

On Monday, October 2, 2017, IELC Ambassadors were presented the environmental problems of each country, which ranged from water pollution to the critical endangerment of the saiga.

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First up was Changzhou, China, who focused on water pollution that inhibits access to clean drinking water. Amy, of Changzhou, noted that “most chemical plants are built near water,” which has lead to past incidents.

Yangzhou, China’s delegation focused on white plastic pollution from takeout containers. While there are many economic and personal benefits to takeout services, plastic from them can take 47 decades to decompose.

Land reclamation is one environmental challenge currently being faced by Malaysia. When speaking with Malaysian residents about the problem, Alda remembered that many “strongly oppose the idea” due to its environmental and economic consequences.

The students from Morocco presented on solid waste management, which has had a large impact on Morocco. In their newscast created for their presentation, Zack reported on the landfills in Morocco which “continue to overflow due to the amount of solid waste.” He also noted that the waste is “treated in an unsustainable manner.”

The Italy delegation focused on toxic waste, which can cause harm or even death to humans.

The United States focused on a problem close to Richmond which affects people all over the East Coast and beyond: the Chesapeake Bay Dead Zone. Claire, Kieran, and Lauren explained that fertilizer and other chemicals wash into the bay, polluting it. In dead zones, there is no oxygen, which kills the formerly abundant wildlife of the Bay.

South Africa presented on the impending water crisis, which has already reached a serious level. They explained that in some areas, such as Cape Town, people are being urged to conserve water. However, government had to resort to shutting off the water and restrict consumption to 20,000 liters per household per month.

The Indian Delegation demonstrated the urgency of the pollution of the Ganges River. This river is sacred to many in India, and is often where people bathe, wash clothes, wash animals, and leave cremated remains. This pollution has proven to have many economic and environmental impacts.

In Kazakhstan, the saiga, an antelope-like animal, is critically endangered. Its population has decreased from 1 million to just 40,000, and it has impacted the food supply of other animals, among others.

Mexico focused on mercury pollution, which is a large public heath risk. When ingested, mercury has many harmful effects including hearing, speech, and nervous system deficiencies.

Wildfires in Spain have shown to be a widespread issue. Trees provide essential oxygen, and uncontrollable wildfires have increased in frequency recently. Each environmental issue presented certainly has great effects on each country and the world.

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