Treat: Design Thinking Workshop at Stanford for Ashoka's Catapult

Posted by Scott Underwood on 10/31/14 6:00 AM

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We’re looking forward to leading a design thinking workshop this Friday for Ashoka’s Catapult, a business incubator that aims to source the world’s best young entrepreneurs.

This year, Ashoka's Catapult (@catapultideas) programs are hosted at Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Pennsylvania. We'll be meeting with 30 high school students from the U.S. and other countries at Stanford from 1-6pm. What a treat!

This clip has comments from The Human Innovation Garage founder Stephan Thieringer (@stephant) Harvard Innovation Labs expert-in-residence Tony Wagner (@DrTonyWagner), Catapult founder Josh Collins (@jcalebCollins) and students in the Ashoka's Catapult program:

Learning by doing

We all learn through doing. If the innovators of tomorrow can work side by side with experts who teach, guide, and mentor them as they build key skills, it empowers people to work more effectively, generate better ideas, and bring concepts to life. So I welcome a chance to help bright students with the fundamentals of using design thinking to innovate. We want to help create teams and individuals who can spot — and seize! — opportunities to innovate.

On Friday we will introduce our group to:

  • How to define the design challenge
  • How to learn from people, through empathy and insight
  • How to ask the right research questions
  • How to use synthesis to identify opportunities for innovation
  • How to brainstorm and ideate in collaboration
  • How to prototype, test, and iterate
  • How to build stories and scenarios of use
  • How to communicate useful, usable, and delightful ideas
  • How to reflect, learn, and improve the process

There are a number of players who've combined forces to make these Incubators happen. It all started with Ashoka, a global network of social entrepreneurs started by Bill Drayton (@Draytontweets) in 1980. It's grown to 3,000 Ashoka Fellows in 70 countries. One Ashoka Fellow, Kailash Satyarthi, was awarded The Nobel Peace Prize last Friday. People of Satyarthi's caliber are attracted to Ashoka because its mission is to enable an "everyone a changemaker" world. This means equipping more people to contribute ideas and effectively solve problems. 

design thinking workshopAshoka's Youth Venture is focused on young people having everything they need to launch and lead their own ventures. Ashoka's Catapult (aka Catapult Incubator and Catapult Ideas) is a program of Ashoka's Youth Venture that organizes programs like the Catapult Incubator: students are working in teams, alongside corporate and MBA advisors, to build and launch a venture by April 2015.

Building capacity to innovate

The capacity to innovate depends on a set of skills built up through rigorous practice and expert mentoring. Ashoka's Catapult is striving to provide that to youth. That's no small task. Thanks go to Ashoka, Catapult, and all the advisors, partners, parents, investors, and others backing these determined, daring students. Catapult is an example of, as Leon put it some months ago, innovation leadership & channeling creativity for a common good.



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The free PDF booklet Building Agents of Innovation suggests ways to foster business innovation skills and greater creativity in your organization.

Topics: Leadership & Organization, Innovation Capacity, Mentoring