What would you like to invent? (DYM I.41)

By John Allen

Jason Chua loves to invent through Design Thinking.  He is a student of Product Design and Mechanical Engineering at Stanford's d.school Institute of Design, the brainchild of IDEO's founder, David Kelley. Through his focus on needfinding, prototyping, and designing, he and a team of fellow Stanford designers created Sparktruck, an educational "build-mobile!" that provides students in schools across the country creativity workshops focusing hands on learning that energizes their imagination.  You can see the abundant energy that Design Thinking evinces in this short video about Stanford's d.school:

Jason and his d.school team
Eugene Korsunskiy, Duygu (Didi) Erucman, Rachel Star, Aaron Peck, Kathayoon Khalil, Prat Ganapathy, and Diane Leecreated Sparklab to study hands-on learning in schools.  They found that many schools did not have the funding or the resources to support hands-on activities.  

Having identified a clear need, Jason and his team went to work:

So we decided to do something about it. We ran a Kickstarter campaign to raise some money for a truck and some high-tech maker equipment, like a laser cutter and some 3D printers. Our plan was to drive around some local Bay Area schools to run hands-on workshops with middle schoolers.  
We were blown away by the support and encouragement we received from the community, so we decided to expand our vision. Reborn as SparkTruck, we decided to set out on a cross-country road trip, traveling across prairies and over mountaintops, through towns and cities far and wide, showing kids that they can prototype their way to something cool.
In the summer of 2012, we drove 15,323 miles across 33 different states, visited over 2,7000 students in more than 70 different locations, and collected countless stories. We’re currently working on making sure SparkTruck’s journey continues after this inaugural roadtrip, and are excited for the road ahead.

Jason Chua is a former student of mine in the Glenbook Academy of International Studies, a school within the Glenbrook High School District in suburban Chicago.  We're all very proud of him!

You'll also find this Sixty Minutes profile of David Kelley inspiring.  His company, IDEO, is one of the most influential design firms in the world todaythe leader in Design Thinking.

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