Strengths & Weaknesses in the class
I feel invested in the problem I'm trying to solve, and am passionate about it. My strength lies in researching, sometimes to a fault. At times, I get too invested in the research and feel overwhelmed with all the things I need to learn about. From the beginning of the class, in trying to find a problem, I may have started too broad. From key problems in Kansas City, to broad problems within each problem, I had a hard time zeroing in on a issue. Still, narrowing down the idea was a valuable learning process. I think I need to improve on incorporating ACT concepts, and taking all the knowledge I've learned up to this point (in regards to designing for social good). Sometimes I feel a little lost during class and do not know the objectives for some of the things that we're doing. I need to ground myself in those objectives and think about how to achieve them. Another weakness I seem to have is keeping my teammates on the same page. Working together for a whole semester is a challenge in of itself, and trusting my teammate is crucial. Other smaller things I need to improve on includes blog-posting and time-management.
Plan moving forward to improve
To improve, I need to work on not over-thinking things and just taking action. At times, my inherent need to dwell on subjects makes paralyzed in one place, disabling me from moving forward. Some practical ways to do this is by jotting down my thoughts and doing quick, rapid sketches. Also, my plan is to always keep my teammate informed of what I'm doing, and trusting my teammate (some practical ways are emailing new finds, using google docs, etc.). I also need to review ACT concepts and think about how to use them to create powerful messages (reviewing the readings, ACT notes, etc.).
So far, Sara and I have been consistently a little behind with the class, but we caught up since last class. We struggled in the beginning with narrowing down our concept, but now we have a clear sense of what we will do. This week (which is when we'll be meeting with key stakeholders) will determine our next steps.
Most valuable learning lessons
Overall, this class gives us a rare opportunity to actually work in the "real-world" but stay within the confines/structure of school. It really is a unique and valuable way to learn how to design for good. One issue Sara and I confronted was experiencing backlash, due to the controversy of AL Expansion. This happened mostly in part because I did not look up the person beforehand, leading to misunderstanding and a small conflict.
Another learning lesson was the narrowing-down process of our idea. Sara and I stumbled quite a bit near the beginning of the semester, while always feeling overwhelmed and lost. This was because we did not ground ourselves in the objective of the class and because of our lack of understanding of the project. This process was a bit painful, but necessary in order to have a sense of clear direction in the end.
One last powerful experience was simply interviewing people who are in the professional realm. Simply talking with people, in our case Michael Zeller and Darron Story, gave us so much information. I palpably felt the huge dichotomy of actually sitting down and having coffee over an idea, versus reading about it online. Our interviews were extremely helpful, and Sara and I hope to continue to just sit down and talk with people.