The Design Farm's Design Daze events (of which we are a sponsor) bring teens and adult mentors together to put their heads together and to design solutions for real problems faced by real people. This past weekend, DFarm partnered with the Ronald McDonald House and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto to try and solve very serious healthcare-related problems. Through focus and iterative, creative thinking, participants in the event tackled problems they themselves have faced, with an eye toward producing solutions from which we all might benefit. This approach—spearheaded by DFarm founder Donald Olgado—is to get kids involved in working on issues which affect them directly, thereby harnessing all of the interest and passion it sees as necessary in any effort to make a real impact.
On the first day of the event, young patients, their families, and caregivers broke up into teams and set to work at identifying an issue they'd had with their own recent medical treatment. They began with a few basic concepts:
- Waiting: Kids spend lots of time waiting, for doctors, for transplants...How can this be made easier?
- Powerlessness: Young patients often feel they have no say in their treatment. Doctors make all the calls, and even the theoretical choices.
- Helping with actual equipment: Dialysis machines need to stay level. How might this best be accomplished?
On the second day, the groups of students set to work at rapidly prototyping and building their ideas. Once a set of prototypes had been developed, the groups presented their work to the other participants of the event. Some really great ideas were put forth, and overall the event was a great success. The students targeted problems that really mattered to them personally, and in the process they also learned about the design process as a general construct. We're very much looking forward to more of these events in the future, and we can't wait to see the great ideas that will come out of them.
To read more about this event, check out the article in the San Jose Mercury News.