For an innovative program, we thought The DeLorean Project had the innovation space sorted… enter Covid 19! Having successfully completed pilot projects in Term 1, the students were up to the next phase of the program which was to find a team to work with and start-up their own projects. For the team of facilitators, our dilemma in the midst of the crisis became ‘how do we have 80 students collaborate to find a team…. online?!’ In the past, our ‘Ideas and team marketplace’ has been a fun experience of roaming the room and reading people’s ideas and skills from pieces of paper pinned up on the walls. If students saw an idea they liked or aligned with, they would write their name on a post-it note and then have a conversation to see if their ideas/interests/skills had enough depth and if there was a possibility of a future project. A simple process, but highly effective! However, like so many small and large businesses and organisations at present, the words of the month have been adaptability, resilience and PIVOT. We’ve had to dig deep and apply the skills necessary to get through this pandemic. As facilitators, we had to be prepared to try something new, and hope that it worked. Thankfully, the risk has paid off and our countless hours of considering all the steps and possibilities has resulted in teams being successfully formed – all in the space of four weeks! Plus we’ve had the opportunity to have some fun with some crazy hair do’s, best and worst dressed and a best Zoom background. The at-home scavenger hunt and at-school number sequence games have also been a bit of light-hearted fun. These moments have been a laugh and appreciated by all!
The 10 Steps to Team process is a new one that we created this year based on feedback and observations from previous years. As is expected for teenagers, they stick with what they know and traditionally form teams based on friendship groups or going with the students who will help to get the best mark. As the students’ projects are more than just an in-class assignment or activity, we have found that many teams fall apart and ideas abandoned because of the team dynamics or it was an idea that the members weren’t really interested in afterall. This year we have encouraged the students to take a deep dive into exploring what they enjoy doing (passions/interests), what they are good at (skills) and what the world needs (problems). By doing this, we are hoping that students find a real sense of purpose for their project and that it eliminates some of the superficial ideas and teams that fall over in a matter of weeks or months. This concept of finding one’s purpose is based on the work of Jay Shetty (jayshetty.me) and a simple diagram he created. We have encouraged students to mind map and prioritise in each of these three areas. Students have had the opportunity to research the areas to unpack and learn more than what they already know. All of this work is an attempt for students to generate meaningful ideas and projects that can legitimately become an enterprise in the future (social or otherwise).
We are incredibly proud of the engagement and investment of effort into the 10 steps over the last four weeks and we know that all of this time and energy will pay off. We are looking ahead to a more normal delivery of the program, and we genuinely miss the buzz in the room on a Wednesday. We won’t let a crisis go to waste though and we have appreciated the many silver linings and opportunities to come from the changes to routine that we have all experienced. One in particular will be the increased accessibility that online conferencing and collaboration has created for our students with our network. What the rest of the term looks like, is still being mapped out, but we will forge ahead and help our young people turn their important and relevant ideas into reality. Encouraging our students at GCC to THINK, CREATE and SHARE. This cohort, and this year is definitely one to watch in the DeLorean Project!
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