DTBC Day 1: Find the wonderful

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The picture above comes from our time at SFO today. We are working on a design project for JetBlue as a part of Stanford’s Design Thinking Boot Camp (DTBC).

I was fascinated by observing the mother and kid in the picture. To set the context for you, this was shot in the international terminal this afternoon. Almost everyone’s flight was delayed due to runway closurers as a result of the crash on Saturday.

So what is this family doing? They are playing a game by jumping from one line to the next.   His mom has turned the delay into an opportunity to have fun.

This scene makes me think of how air travel is still full of wonder to children and first time flyers. They aren’t angry about delays. They aren’t frustrated by the security line. Their mind is still blown by the fact that a piece of metal is going to take them 6 miles above the ground and thousand of miles away from where they are now.

The wonderfulness of it all changes their perspective and improves the experience.

So as I walked through the airport interviewing strangers for the 2nd time (the first time was last September when I was a participant in DTBC) I had to remind myself to see the wonderfulness of the program and the experience the participants are having.

What’s an experience/project/circumstance you are in now that might seem mundane, but there is actually something wonderful? Can you look at your circumstances as a child would and find the wonderful? I promise it will radically change your prospective.


DTBC Day 0: Be vulnerable

7-10-2013 12-03-06 AM

Today was a great start to the Design Thinking Boot Camp (DTBC). I was surprised by the importance of being vulnerable. I’ve called this day 0 because today was just for coaches and apprentices.

Tomorrow DTBC begins with about 70 participants. We will be working on a design challenge for JetBlue that centers around improving the ground experience for passengers at SFO. One of the first things we do is actually go to SFO and interview people there.

We were asked to write down the one thing that we wanted to impart to our teams when we are doing empathy work at SFO tomorrow.

Anna-Love Mickelson‘s (who has inspired another blog post) 1 thing was to push her team to be vulnerable with the people they interview – because, if they are vulnerable as an interviewer, they are more likely to get stories and emotions from the people they interview.

I thought this was an awesome point to keep in mind, but not just for DTBC, but for life.

In the business world, many successful people have gotten to where they are by being assertive, powerful, confident, etc. The idea of being weak is laughable to them.

But to be an emphatic  leader, you have to take some emotional risk. Being vulnerable means that you could be hurt. Humility is a required character trait. Weakness are strengths. Losing is winning. Being last is being first. Discomfort is comfort.

But in that risk, there is great reward. By opening up, you get to see who people really are at the core and have the potential to help meet deeper needs.

So I am adopting Anna’s goal of pushing my team to be vulnerable with each other, with the people we meet tomorrow at SFO, and more importantly, with people in their lives and organizations once DTBC is over.