So much to do... so little time!

With the summer coming to an end, it's certainly been crunch time to get everything done- from finishing up research, BarnRaise, and choosing classes, to getting financial aid in order and getting one last hurrah in before classes begin (I'm seriously questioning my sanity as I plan to leave in the middle of all of this).

That said, yes...this has been an amazing summer of learning and new opportunities. I got to participate in exhaustive ground-up research which involved around 35 hours of interviews that my partner and I manually transcribed into over 1800 post it notes, scattered around our room into affinity clusters (see photo). In short, the school has some amazing administrators who are doing all they can to build ID's brand and communicate with different members of our community.. but knew we were capable of more, and wanted to understand which channels were most affective for different segmentations of our audience. In addition, the idea of online learning was of particular interest to another administrator, and he asked us to include something about that in our work.

 Yep, that's what 1800+ post its look like!

Yep, that's what 1800+ post its look like!

We reframed this to include the school's "digital presence". Overall the research helped inform us about the school's current presence and the impact of tactical and systems-level changes to the school's communication strategy. Considering that ID's current communication methods span across website, learning materials, social media, and more, a larger strategy to promote meaningful decisions will largely affect a network of platforms. I was impressed that the school was open to turning the methods it teaches upon itself to better the institution and its offerings to students. We also found several ways of incorporating online learning into a traditionally Bauhaus (value on hands-on/making) curriculum. In all, we found some great things and were able to communicate those back all the way up to the top. I'm excited to see how our suggestions get built upon and ultimately implemented.

BarnRaise ( is coming along nicely, with students returning, we've gotten great feedback about the design of the website, the volunteer form, and great revitalization of energy about student-run events as a whole. We're very excited for all the volunteers who have signed up this far, although there is still room for more! Please consider joining one of our teams to really help this new event become a great success that can live on beyond October 13-15th. You can sign up to volunteer through this link (sorry, ID students only!):

What else? Classes! This is my last year at IIT Institute of Design, and choosing classes couldn't be more difficult. There's a ton of really great projects going on, from visual communication and systems design in cooperation with U of C hospitals to digital development workshops (I'm going to code...which scares me a little) and Vijay Kumar even has a class on sustainability. I applied for the Immersion Program (going to India this year) so I'll still have to wait for that, but in the meantime, it's been fun trying to figure out my schedule. I'm a bit sad, Don Norman had been on our schedule for an intercession course, but alas, something came up and his name has disappeared from our course listings. 

Oh, and still plugging away at a ComEd Innovation Challenge I accepted to be a part of earlier this summer... I need to get this finished asap! I have a solution in mind, built out, and prototyped, but now I need to re-create the story around it, explaining the context, the need, and why my solution addresses the target group... in video form. Due at the end of this month! No stress. No stress.


Anyways, all for now!