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International Emerging Leaders Program

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Learning Outside of the Classroom

Design Thinking: Interpretation

How can you figure out who someone is and what problems they face in their everyday life? How are the problems of one person connected to the larger environmental issues that plague a region? This is what we explored in the second of our five Design Thinking Sessions, Interpration.

“Interpretation is exactly what it sounds like. It is taking the people and the stories you have already learned about and gaining insight from them.”

– Mrs. Boyd

The first step of this multifaceted approach was to ask questions to form a complete profile of your users.  By asking questions like, “What does she like?” and “What does he need?” you can understand how your problem effects your user on a basic, human level.

“When you have different users, and you understand their needs, you have insights.” -Mrs. Boyd

The next step was to think about  each “user profile” we had developed and create insights from each. An insight (or an interpretation of the perspective of the user) allows you to see the problem from the user’s eyes, thus understanding its importance to them and effect on them.

“We focused on the specific needs of the users so we went deep into the problem rather than looking at it as a whole.”

-Gunav G., India

The final step was to to take the many insights we had developed from problems we had found, and choose one or two specific issues that we can dive deeper into. By narrowing down our focus be could begin to completely understand a specific aspect of an issue instead of attempting the impossible task of trying to understand the entire issue of “Overpopulation in India,” for example, in a week. The whole processes of Interpretation allowed us to take a large, abstract problem and condense it down into personal issue with a narrow and manageable focus.

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Design Thinking: Discovery

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Design Thinking is a process and approach to solution seeking that the International Emerging Leaders Conference teaches in order to facilitate effective design for challenges of all kinds.

On Monday afternoon, the students had their first session of the Design Thinking process, called “Discovery.” After being assigned an environmental issue from one of the eleven presentations, the small groups split up to discuss amongst each other. Mrs. Boyd told everyone to discard any analytical thoughts and instead just lead a discussion. In Design Thinking, it is important to fully understand the problem and its effect on humans. The human-centered thinking process revolves around a main theme of empathy; relating to and focusing on the lives of people affected by these international issues leads to more effective and personal solutions.

“Talk less, listen more.”

-Mrs. Boyd

Essentially, the process of Design Thinking is to abandon any immediate solution-seeking inclinations, but instead to really communicate and understand the issue at hand. Experts in Design Thinking claim that any problem can be more effectively solved once it is fully understood and discussed amongst a diverse group of people. The international students will participate in five different Design Thinking sessions throughout the week.

“If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”

-Albert Einstein

Delegates Present Environmental Challenges

International Guests Arrive at Collegiate

Welcome, India!

“I was worried at first, but I met all of them and it felt so natural and fun to speak with the Indians. They are so funny and everyone loves them!”

– Olivia J., USA

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Gunav G. and Divyansh G. look happy when they arrive at the hotel after a long flight.

Welcome, Kazakhstan!

“Meeting the Kazakhs was different because they arrived yesterday, but I was excited to meet them when they finally arrived at the hotel.”

– Sonja K., USA

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Dariya and Vadim pose for a picture after finishing their dinner at the hotel.

Welcome, Mexico!

“When we picked up the kids from Mexico, they were all really excited. They weren’t as tired as everyone else because of the smaller time change between Mexico City and Washington D.C., so they were all ready to have fun!”

-Ellie C., USA

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Mexican students Hernán P. and Kenta O. retrieve their luggage from underneath the bus.

We asked the IELC Junior and Senior Ambassadors to pick one word that describes how they feel in anticipation for the 6th Annual International Emerging Leaders Conference, and here is what they said.screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-11-14-47-pm

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