The Wallet Project: 31


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    The Wallet Project is 90-minute (including debrief) fast-paced project though a full design cycle. Students pair up, show and tell each other about their wallets, ideate, and make a new solution that is "useful and meaningful" to their partner.

    >> Note: a topic variation for the project is the "Gift-Giving Experience". You can find the materials for that project on the page The Gift-Giving Project. And you can figure out which topic might be better for you on this page: Project Topic: Wallet, Gift-Giving, or other

    What is it?


    A group activity (from 2 to 100+ participants) in which students rapidly do a "full cycle through the design process." The project is broken down into specific steps (of a few minutes each), and student have worksheet packets that guide them. In addition one or two facilitators (not participating in the project) prompt each step, and add some verbal color and instruction.

    What students learn?

    Participants get the feel of a design approach, gain some shared vocabulary, and get a taste of each design "mode" (empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test). [Note: the activity is great, regardless if you choose to teach "process" with these steps.] Specifically, we hope students see the value of engaging with real people to help them ground their design decisions, that low-resolutions prototypes are useful to learn from (take an iterative approach), and to bias toward action (you can make a lot of progress in a little bit of time if you start DOing).

    What we give you:

    The worksheet packet (the paper sheets students work on)
    [Print one-sided 11"x17", one per student]
    Download file "TheWalletProjectB&W2012.pdf"

    The facilitators guide (a step-by-step guide with talking points to run the activity)
    [Print two-sided 8"x11" or 11"x17", one per facilitator]
    Download file "Wallet Facilitators Guide2012.pdf"

    An optional follow-up document, the Design Process Mini-Guide

    What else you need:

    Optional; we usually project the worksheet pages as we go, but you don't have to)

    Face-to-face seating
    We use cocktail tables and stools.
    Use what you have, but try to get students in an active posture, able to talk to their partner, and able to build.
    Bolted-down forward-facing seats in an auditorium is the worse option.
    Our set-up:

    Prototyping Materials
    Materials for student to use when building their quick prototypes.
    You don't need much: construction paper, tape, pens, scissors, aluminum foil, rubber band, paperclips
    . . . whatever you can find around.

    Our prototyping bins:

    We use Sharpies to get people loose and rough with their sketching.

    Music-maker (i.e. computer and speakers, iPod+speakers, etc.)
    (Turn it down when you are talking, and off during first step of project)
    We use an upbeat Pandora station (watch out for commercials on free accounts).
    We also have created a playlist specifically for the Wallet Project:

    Notes and helpful hints:

    - The capstone the whole activity is the debrief afterwards.
    Use this sharing time to reiterate the big messages of design thinking (human-centered, prototyping, iteration, show-don't-tell) and connect the exercise back to the work you do at your company or in your class.
    This is very important -- make sure you leave time for this!

    - The activity is built for pairs, thus an even number of students is ideal.
    You might want to have an extra person on-hand who can just in to participate if needed.

    - Here's an example of what a worksheet might look like after the project (i.e. filled out)

    - Here is a great write-up from Carbon Five about their experience running DP0:
    Worth reading -- if anything, their write-up makes things more clear than our explanation.