Empathize and Define - Palavitsinis - Stanford Course on Design Thinking


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This is the first assignment of the course, related to empathizing with your users and defining a problem statement.

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Empathize and Define - Palavitsinis - Stanford Course on Design Thinking

  1. 1. redesign the school-to-work transition Assignment #1 Develop empathy for someone who has a stake in the school-to-work transition, and define a problem or need related to the challenge Nikos Palavitsinis, AC4DeMi Team
  2. 2. Prepare for empathy work • People to interview: – Alex P.: Has finished obligatory education, did not continue to university due to lack of interest. Currently working in the family business (age 25) – Katerina V.: Has completed obligatory education, chose to work on her passion, breaking the paradigm of her time (age 53) – Jules K.: Continued on to post-doc studies and is working in the academic domain (age 31)
  3. 3. Prepare for empathy work • Questions (1/2): – At what age did you decide what you wanted to do for a living? Is this the job you do now? – What affected your decision? School, society, parents, friends, you? – Are you happy with what you are doing for a living? What do you get from your job that makes you happy? – If you had the chance to go back, knowing what you know now for your job, would you choose the same? Why?
  4. 4. Prepare for empathy work • Questions (2/2): – How did you feel when you started working your first job when you finished school? Was it as you expected? – Who was your mentor, your “helping hand” when you had questions or problems with your work? – Did you develop any tricks or methods that would help you adjust to your “post-school” new reality? – Is there any case in which you needed support for your work and you were unable to get it? What was that?
  5. 5. Go out and talk to people • Alex P. is an interesting case, as he is young and is experiencing the difficulties of our time to find work. He is actually a musician that works in the café of his family, waiting for his big break. He was a straight A student until one year before the final exams when he decided he did not want to study in the university and barely made it out of high-school.
  6. 6. Go out and talk to people • Katerina V. is a person that represents a previous generation altogether. She is 53 and was fond of painting from an early age. Although she has acquired diplomas in coiffure and secretariat tasks she did not follow them and dedicated herself in painting. She has faced many difficulties coping financially but she has supported her passion all the way.
  7. 7. Go out and talk to people • Jules K. is a bit older than Alex but still, a significant number of differences exist between them, having studied under two different education systems (changed around 1999). She has passed all stages of formal education till PhD and beyond, working for a well-paid job with lots of stress and responsibilities.
  8. 8. Empathy Map Aggregated Results from Interviews
  9. 9. SAY
  10. 10. “Deep down inside me, I knew that painting was the thing I wanted to live off, back from when I was 10-12 maybe” “I was a good pupil and student always. Not an amazing one, but did what I had to pass the exams and maybe do a bit better. I really liked computers, so that’s why I chose this” “When I failed a couple of tests in the age of 14-15, my parents forced me, but when they saw that music was my life, they let me be” “I am not clear about my biggest influence in following my career” “Mimicry played an important role, as I was just competing with my fellow pupils for getting in the best university in a way” “My first boss as an apprentice was a big influence to me “
  11. 11. “I am happy, I like creating new things from scratch, from a mere idea to take them to completion using art.” “It gets frustrating really frequently and I am thinking of changing careers nonetheless. At the time being, only some of the things I do make me happy, such as research. Most of the conditions of the job are terrible” “It’s not anxious what I do, I get some money to get by and have the time to play my music. I like observing people and making assumptions for them ” “I would do the same, as I know this is my destiny” “No, probably not. I would either pursue dance or theater more actively and keep this as a fallback plan” “I think I would choose music one hundred times more, over anything else. I t helps me focus, it’s absolute like math, music. When I play the piano, nothing else matters”
  12. 12. “My first job was at a restaurant. I felt really energetic and that it was OK to do sth else of a while. In the end I got fed up and left really quick” “It was the one I have now and it was really difficult learning to work in an academic environment with all the pressure. It was more tiring than expected” “It took a while till I got my first job after school. 2-3 years actually and it was a gig. I was really anxious but in the end it felt great.” “It was my first boss as well as my husband” “I talked to my parents a lot and one of my colleagues that we studied together also” “My music instructor and one musician friend. In my present job it’s my big brother and my mother as they also work in the café”
  13. 13. “Nothing really big, just grabbed at the chance to do sth after finishing work. ” “During the first years I just left work and hanged out with friends, doing anything else. As years passed I worked on stress-related techniques and methods to improve my productivity to cope with the stress coming from work” “I had a schedule, a really strict one, for practicing my music. For the part related to the family business, it was really easy to adapt, having my family close. I developed my people skills mainly to cope with all the cases of customers that come in our café but nothing more than that.” “No, each time I managed to find a friend or colleague that helped, or find a book!” “There were times that I was asked to do things that I hadn’t done before with minimum assistance. I used the skills of colleagues and the internet to get ideas and coaching” “Mainly financial, to buy new music equipment. Other than that, all the other help needed was offered to me by friends and family”
  14. 14. DO
  15. 15. Observation • The nature of the challenge but also the profession of the interviewees, did not give me the chance to observe something that could be usable.
  16. 16. THINK
  17. 17. In two of the cases, people that followed their path after school, seemed more complete, happy and at ease. The person that was guided to her studies, was not that excited with her work. Being a good and capable student is no measure of how the person will end up professionally or financially. Friends were a major driver and help in many cases, either providing support for the work- related tasks, or providing comfort related to them.
  18. 18. Creativity and sense of completion are really important features of any job. For some people, achieving a basic level at some aspects of their job is fundamental so that they can focus their efforts on other things that make them feel complete. When decisions for pursuing a career are well founded on personal preferences, the person that chose this career sticks with it, no matter what. In looking at someone’s idea job, sometimes people are forced to do sth completely different for a while but the fatigue that this brings, catches up with them
  19. 19. Family is also an important driver and help when it comes to dealing with stressful job situations as well as the change from school to a professional environment Jobs that are far from what a person really wants to do, demand a bigger effort in finding ways to cope with stress and demands. People in the same situation as you, are usually the ideal helper when something difficult comes along. Reading and the internet were also identified as solutions.
  20. 20. FEEL
  21. 21. Alex and Katerina, have made conscious job choices and seem really happy for them although not highly paid. Jules has a lot of problems to cope with, for none of which her education could have prepared her. She seems ready to change jobs. Katerina is full of energy and purpose, although in her age, other people have already reached a senior job position and thinking of retiring. She seems more driven than all of them.
  22. 22. Alex was kind of indifferent for the job in the case, meaning that he also may not carry it out in the most productive way. He was really bored talking about it, in contrast to music. For Katerina, art is the one and only alternative and she is anxious but also passionate about pursuing it. Jules realizes that quality of life that her job offers to her, but she seems to focus on things like personal accomplishment and well being, rather than money.
  23. 23. Craft a problem statement A student that completes his/her education… …precisely assess reality and himself/herself so that he/she can create an ideal path from education to work… …fulfillment of purpose in work is a prerequisite for well- being stakeholder need insight NEEDS A WAY TO BECAUSE
  24. 24. Problem Statement • A student that completes his/her education needs a way to precisely assess reality and himself/herself so that he/she can create an ideal path from education to work because fulfillment of purpose in work is a prerequisite for well-being.
  25. 25. Synthesis • Thinking of the people to interview, for this challenge I wanted to get a diverse audience in terms of age and paths from school to work: – The person that followed formal education and finally rejected it to chose a craft that he stayed with, – The person that followed formal education and finally rejected it to chose a craft that he supports through working on a job that he does not like, – The person that followed formal education all the way to the end and works in a job that is the safe choice but not the preferred choice if given an alternative