We conducted the first iDeATI@N on VSM on 28th October 2018 in A. P. Shah Institute of Technology Thane. It was probably the first event that saw representations from all stakeholders of VSM – Students (new and existing), Alumni, Karyakartas (KPs and non-KPs; New and Experienced), Well wishers, Donors and Managing committee. There were around 45 of us who gathered sharp 9. 30 to start the session.

Objectives of the session were clear: get together as a team to “ideate”, think out of the box and creatively beyond all bounds on how VSM could look like in the future.  The most essential preparation for the workshop is to come absolutely unprepared with open mind and with your “thinking creative cap” on.

After having hearty breakfast Parag kicked off the session. Entire session was conducted in a cool, modern and action-packed Design Thinking way. Some key rules of the session – energy levels need to remain high, no long faces, no moment without fun/ energy.

2-minFirst we all went through principles of Design thinking. After some theory, we divided the team in 4 groups to design “Wallet of the future” as a fun activity to learn the Design Thinking process through experience. Teams came up amazing ideas and representations of wallet. Some ice-breaking activities were also spread over this session to ensure high energy and team building.

Then we started real work. Same four groups picked up 4 topics and went through the complete cycle of Ideations.

6-minTopics were

  • AAAA (Achieving Amicable Agreement on Academics path) with students – aspiration v/s pragmatism
  • Helpdesk 2020
  • Closed loop system – Students joining back as volunteers/ donors/ debtors
  • Mentoring KPs and Students in all dimensions (Reverse,, Mutual, Outside-in)

Each team went through the following phases to “ideate” through their respective topics

  • Empathize                          Define current situation, limitations, issues and problems
  • Ideate                                 Come up with ideas to address them
  • Prototype                           Build models to represent solution
  • Iterate                                 Deploy Minimum Viable Product (MVP) solution to start with and then iterate to refine it

Empathize and Ideate phase is done in “Diverge” and “Converge” way. Diverge – come up with individual points/ ideas and Converge – get together as a group to consolidate, categorize and prioritize points/ ideas.

4-minWe adopted the Design thinking mindset with Empathy, Embrace Ambiguity, Be Optimistic, Creative confidence, Make it, Learn from failure, and Iterate

In the emphasize phase, we went through the following actions:

  • Observe persons’  behaviors in context
  • Engage through meaningful interviews
  • Immerse by putting yourself in the persons’ shoes
  • Learn from experts as they give you different perspectives
  • Take inspiration from parallel worlds

.. and used “5 Whys” technique i.e. Start a conversation exclusively using open ended question “Why”,  When you get a reply, you must follow up with another open ended question, ideally a “Why”

IMG-20181204-WA0001Teams then created a “How might we” statement at the end of “Emphasize” process. During “Ideate” session, teams came up with brilliant, out of the box ideas first individually and then as a group.

Teams then used different techniques of “Prototyping” (i.e. Diagram, Mockup, Story telling, Advertisement, or Role-play) to present their joint solutions.

cover photoIt was a great experience of working as a big VSM family to co-invent and co-develop solutions for the future – VSM 2.0.

As they say “Innovation” is not an event but a process and culture. I am sure this First of its kind Ideation Day will trigger several such events in the future and Innovation will become part of VSM genes.