This morning I had the opportunity to talk with Mount Vernon Presbyterian‘s Innovation Diploma cohort. The reason for the talk was to give a “crisp” and “succinct” share of MVIFI’s DEEPdt (i)gnite workshop  we are facilitating this Friday and next Thursday.  When the CDC contacted me to see if there was a way I could work with their IGNITE initiative to infuse the DEEP design thinking methodology into their projects, I immediately knew I wanted our Upper School ID students to be involved in some way. As they are currently practicing ethnography, observation journaling, and (i)gniting their curiosities, the CDC workshop would be an awesome chance to practice on “LIVE” subjects as well as jump in at times to aid in co-facilitation of the workshop.

Below is a recapture transcript of my “crisp” and “succinct” share (as best as I can recall– also, please ignore and/or politely understand my grammar as this transcript might bug peeps 🙂

“Good morning guys. Its nice to see you all. I have set 5 minutes on my timer and hope I can get what I need to share with you this morning in 5 but I will accept 7.  As one of our Norms at Mount Vernon is to Start with Questions, I have two questions for you. What do you hope I am going to say to you this morning? Or what do you hope I am doing here this morning?”

My above was met with a bit of silence and confusion. A student asked, “Do you want us to answer you in question form?”  “No, I understand we typically Start with Questions and rattle off Qs and more Qs… I started with questions and I am looking for answers.”

The students said that my being there and/or what they hope to hear from me was it meant they were going to “do something.”  I told them that I LOVED their answers and appreciated that my presence elicited that kind of response.

Next, I read them the following text and I asked them to guess where/what this place is? :

  • grow an organizational culture of bold innovation
  • be an agile and creative organization
  • disrupt the barriers between organizational silos and practices that prevent people from working together
  • New Methos (new ways of doing things)   
  • Provide Air Cover (take risks, FailUp)
  • Create Pathways for innovation

“So, what and/or where is this place?”

The students responded almost in unison. “Mount Vernon.” “Here.” “MVPS.”

I told them that I thought they might say that.  Yet, what I read aloud to them actually is what the Center for Disease Control is working towards with their launch of HHS IDEA Lab.  

In our conversation, you could see the pride yet also amazement that an organization like the CDC not only reached out to MV/MVIFI to help them infuse DEEPdt methodology in their IGNITE projects but how they(students) saw their School being an environment the CDC is striving for.  To see the connection of their learning, their everyday school existence is actually what “adults” “companies” want their everyday to be like was just WOW!

I will close this post with two things.

1. I delivered my talk in 7 minutes yet the questions, excitement, and shares by all in the space took a total of fifteen minutes. 

2. I did not share this with the (i)Diploma cohort as I wanted to keep it “crisp” and I did not want to get too sappy & go unedited.  Yet, I can share it here on this blog and self-edit if I do get too “sappy”. I wanted to tell these students how excited I was they would be alongside me and other DEEPdt facilitators during the workshop. I not only want but need their experiences, insights, and MoVes in this CDC space. My confidence and trust in these students could not be more valued and appreciated. And I would have concluded this sap with the following: How wonderful and lucky we are to be in a school where an opportunity to work with an organization like the CDC pops up and we get to Dive DEEP!  But more importantly, it’s pretty wonderful and lucky I get the opportunity to work alongside these students.

more to come…