Expeditionaries Day 8 of 8: Approaching the North Star

 The Fordham Prep team of Expeditionaries begins their project pitch to the CEO panel with a "day in the life" story of the people with whom they sought to experience kinship, whom they hope to help with their social innovation prototype concept.

The Fordham Prep team of Expeditionaries begins their project pitch to the CEO panel with a "day in the life" story of the people with whom they sought to experience kinship, whom they hope to help with their social innovation prototype concept.


After they had set off into the unknowncrossed the mountains, and hacked a path through jungle...

After they had learned to use a design thinking approach to seek kinship with someone at the margins and prototype a social innovation for them...

It was now time to approach their North Star.

In other words it was the final day of Expeditionaries July 2018, when student teams from Bishop Kearney, Fordham Prep, and Regis High School would pitch their social innovation prototypes to a CEO panel for feedback.

Note that the participants had not arrived at their North Star. When you're seeking kinship with someone at the margins of society and designing for them, eight days only affords you a glimpse of the North Star--your vision for positive social impact--that inspires and guides you.

Still, Day 8 of Expeditionaries offers students a powerful moment to demonstrate their learning, receive feedback, assess themselves and their peers, and celebrate how far they have come.

We were fortunate to host a CEO panel consisting of Nikita Dyer, Product Lead at Trello (and Basecamp thought partner); Thomas Devlin, founder and managing partner of Juice Energy Partners; and Carol Decina, Manager of Community and Customer Management at National Grid.

The day before, the students had voluntarily stayed late, in some cases for an additional two hours. Authentic assessments have a way of inspiring students to bring their A games.

 Artifacts from the CEO panel pitches: KiSH feedback for the Fordham Prep team from the executives and from some audience members; an orange ribbon handed out to all audience members by the Bishop Kearney team, who was focused on addressing gun violence in schools; and business cards with a QR code linking to a wireframe prototype of the Regis team’s app for matching job trainers with Harlemite job seekers.

Artifacts from the CEO panel pitches: KiSH feedback for the Fordham Prep team from the executives and from some audience members; an orange ribbon handed out to all audience members by the Bishop Kearney team, who was focused on addressing gun violence in schools; and business cards with a QR code linking to a wireframe prototype of the Regis team’s app for matching job trainers with Harlemite job seekers.


Crucially, each team framed their prototype as a "What if...?" proposition, then offered two big questions that they continue to be curious about or grapple with. Why conclude their pitches this way?

Because Expeditionaries is about learning how to learn.

It's about questions more than answers.

It's about knowing that you can begin the process of entering into kinship with someone at the margins, but that that process is never complete.

It's about knowing that your social innovation might be helpful, but it can always be more helpful.

It's about learning how to continue your journey into the unknown, not to settle on the known--which, by extension, means that it's about your compass more than your map.

Given the way that "school" is typically structured, Expeditionaries is a countercultural context for learning.

Congratulations to the students from Kearney, Regis, and Fordham Prep, and a huge thank you to their teachers who coached them during their journeys. My co-facilitator Patrick Sillup and I could not be prouder of how far you have come, or more excited to see where your journeys take you next. You are the leaders we need for our Age of Acclerating Change.

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