Background on the #dgift Project
This project is an immersive activity meant to give participants a full cycle through the design thinking process in as short a time as possible. The project itself gives facilitators the opportunity to touch on the fundamental values of the d.school—human-centered design, a bias towards action, and a culture of iteration and rapid prototyping—without attempting to communicate all of the methods and activities that the term “design thinking” encompasses.
The topic of the gift-giving experience was chosen because of the emotional element of the topic (thus better empathy practice) and to encourage experiential (service and system) prototyping.
Why project-based, team-facilitated learning?
Having created learning experiences for students of all cultures, ages, disciplines, and industries, we have found that engaging in projects provides a much richer learning experience than listening to a “talking head” does. As such, our bias is to provide limited scaffolding to allow participants to do, and then to facilitate a reflection that invites the participants themselves to extract the meaningful learning opportunities from the experience. We teach in teams at the d.school because we have found that this approach tends to create a conversation in the classroom, as opposed to the one-way communication that often transpires in more lecture-driven formats. We relish the diversity of perspectives that emerge when faculty from diverse backgrounds instruct, and even disagree in front of, a class. One great way to run the Gift-Giving project with two people, is for one to take lead (concentrating on communicating the instructions, logistics, and timing), and the other person to provide color (communicating the nuances, offering encouragement, and providing helpful tips).