Today is the day — students are to present their New Service Pitch!
Shark Tank Style! Jkjk
You might wonder why I named this assignment New Service Pitch. The reason for doing this instead of just a simple final presentation is I want to make sure students design their services while proactively thinking about how they could possibly bring their service into life. Many students projects I have observed over the year (including my own) are always very idealist which means they're all great ideas but lack of execution plans. I believe design thinking needs to add this new step/phase where we ultimately think about the feasibility of the products and ensure stakeholders are brought to the picture. Anyhow, short story long, this is the reason why I called this assignment a pitch not a presentation.
The objective of the assignment is also to make sure students incorporate what they've learned throughout the semester and practice applying them into something "functional" and "workable" in real life. Students essentially have a little more than a month to work on the end-to-end process from research to ideation/prototyping and testing/iteration. Beyond the pitch, they will also each write a case study to articulate this entire process. I want to train them to be able to deliver their ideas in different shapes and forms, especially they will certainly get plenty of opportunities to do so once they're in the workplace where they need to tailor messages according to their audiences.
There are 3 teams for this final project. I made sure I team-designed each group so that there is a representation of diverse skillsets and personalities in each group. I also tried my best to pair people who have not worked together previously, so that they get a chance to meet more friends! The results from all these "preliminary hard work" was great. Usually, you'd see teams have conflicts and issues but based on peer reviews I received at the end of the class, many students commented that they had "dream team"!
Each group also has their unique characteristics which I found very interesting. Group 1's presentation began with showing their main role in the project as if they're actually giving a startup pitch contest. Their presentation was very thorough from showcasing their research data to their final prototype. Moreover, they talked about the "logistics" on implementation, such as which business partners they'd reach out to and what type of volunteer program they could mimic based on a similar service provider. Their presentation certainly showcased their capability and thoughtfulness behind all the touchpoints they designed.
For team 2, they focused on a community problem that all students could resonate at NYU. Their approach was also very clever. Not only did they gather data from their end user (i.e. students), they also interviewed the service providers (i.e. adults such as advisors, faculties) so that they could design the end-to-end experience. This group also made sure they covered all tools taught in this class, literally. I remember asking them at the end of the presentation if they actually created a checklist, and they said yes :)
For team 3, their presentation was very polished and esthetically pleasing. Similar to the other two teams, they walked the audience through the process and used different data visualization to call out their insights and findings. This group also took their prototype to the next level by showcasing their brand guide and a high fidelity prototype that looks almost ready to be used in the app store.
At the end of all the presentation, my heart was full. I felt very fortunate to have taught this group of bright young adults and I'm truly excited to see where their adventure will take them next in their career. We took a group photo before I sent them into their last breakout room to give each other virtual high fives for the accomplishment they've made. We then wrapped up the class by having the Meditation Walk in the Finnish Nature in the background while they filled out Peer Reviews and Course Evaluation. At the of the class, I read through all their Peer Reviews and shared comments with them so that they know what their teammates think of their work. This is where I was once again very impressed by the candidness of my students and the level of commitments and collaborations they have demonstrated throughout this course.
At this point, the class is almost a wrap :) They have two more assignments due before next week. One is to write a letter to the future class where they'd share how they navigate through this course and share tips/best practices they've done through this course. Another one is to write a case study based on their final service pitch. Once they're done with these two assignments, they're good. Next week, we will use the final exam time slot to celebrate, review their learning in this semester, and have a career chat about service design or anything related to career path!