Change is a process, not an event.

Since committing to the revitalization of the Poinsett District in April of 2012, Furman students have learned that change is a process, not an event. 


Mural painted near the old Pepsi Bottling Company on the Poinsett Corridor by Furman Art student Hannah Robinson as a part of a community service day .

As summer faded into fall, teams of campus leaders, c
lasses and new student groups on campus played a critical role in contributing to the revitalization of the District. From working with communities and county planners to lead neighborhood meetings to planting new groves of trees, painting trailers and creating plans for social ventures, our experiences have been as unique as the people that we are working with.



Painting a mural that tells the story of the Poinsett Corridor on POP Studio, a mobile design studio for public works projects. 


Furman student Yolanda Jiang making stockings with Brenard at a community art center on the Poinsett Corridor.

On multiple occasions, a committee of student groups on campus worked with faculty and staff to mobilize over one thousand volunteers to plant community gardens, restore abandoned 
cemeteries and create a new sense of pride in the neighborhoods along the Poisnett Corridor.

POP Studio and Heller Service Corps partnered with residents in New Washington Heights and local county leaders to plant new trees and restore a grove in Happy Hearts Park. 


Furman students work in Poe Mill to refurbish a playground and create a pocket park for area residents.

On a weekly basis, Furman’s Engaged Living program and new student group POP Studio took to the streets to meet the people that call the Poinsett are their home. POP Studio is a public works studio that connects students with residents to share stories, create projects and design solutions that empower people of the Poinsett District.

 

Through crafting alongside new friends, designing backpacks made from scrap fabric or upcycled clothing from donation closets, POP used the fall semester to experiment with community art and storytelling as a platform for building empathy while beginning the human-centered design process.



While we learned about the processes of socialization, the origins of poverty and wealth inequality and the importance of community in our classes, no textbook scenario could replicate the time that we spent with people in the places that they call home. 



As the year draws to a close, we’re thankful to have learned a great deal about the importance of communication, the value of trust, and an understanding that the most important outcomes are not always tangible. We are genuinely excited about what the future holds for the Poinsett Corridor, and for Furman University. In the spirit of architect Samuel Mockbee, we will certainly  ”Proceed and be bold”. 

This is the Poinsett District. What do you see?

We see an opportunity to blur the lines between our classrooms and our community.
We see an invitation to work together to create new solutions for shared problems. 
We see a chance to build real relationships with neighbors that we’ve overlooked for far too long. 




At Furman, engaged learning takes on new meaning as students and professors work with the Office of the President to re-imagine the role of the college in civic life. Plans for new experiential classes, student-led projects and community design workshops are on the horizon, as Furman students are hungry for new opportunities to apply what they are learning for social good. 


Thanks to Nate Phillips and iOutside for donating their time to produce this video. Nate is a globe-trotter, designer and serial entrepreneur that commits a portion of his time and creative energy to the revitalizaiton the Poinsett District. Nate sees the District as a place ripe with opportunities to grow his businesses, and his family - he’ll be moving to the Corridor in the near future. 

The founder of Proximity Designs shares her thoughts about human-centered design, the process that her firm uses to create services for people in rural Myanmar. 

How might universities engage students in a similar way? What if we transformed the classroom into a design lab where students learned while developing solutions for problems that they uncover in communities, both locally and globally? 

 

d.confestival Rewind: Good Morning, Potsdam!

At Furman, we’re stepping outside of the box to develop new understandings about our roles as learners, teachers and designers in a complex world of constant flux. 



Last month, a team from Furman traveled to the Hasso Plattner School of Design Thinking in Potsdam, Germany to attend the d.confestival, the world’s first conference on design thinking. Over the course of the three-day event, the Furman team met with thought leaders in higher education, social innovation, technology, management and a number of other fields to explore design thinking as tool for creating sustainable solutions for complex problems.

 
Through a series of workshops and active discussions with experts, we put the creative problem-solving method to work with teams of people from around the world. See below for a day-by-day recap of the d.confestival and stay tuned for updates and projects stemming from our visit to the d.school!

Day 1: Opening Session, as told by Ben Riddle



 This conference was one of those times where the right conversation in the right place and the right time would lead to exciting opportunities for collaboration. After taking my seat in the main lecture hall before the opening session, I took note the diversity of the faces in the room. Thinkers from Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia, Indonesia, the Americas and the Middle East were on hand to explore the field of design thinking as a global community. 



Uli Weinberg, director of the HPI d.school in Potsdam, opened the conference by shedding light on the HPI design thinking program, which includes two semesters of intensive training for graduate students in any field. The last class of students at the HPI d.school was comprised of 125 students from 75 different disciplines, hailing from 60 different universities! During their first semester, students work together in interdisciplinary teams, applying the method and learning from their own mistakes to build creative confidence. In the second semester, students collaborate with partners from companies to solve real world problems with real world implications - these are classes with tangible outcomes. 



Hasso Plattner, cofounder of software giant SAP, was second to take the stage. In his d.note presentation, Plattner outlined the important role that human-centered design has played in the the success of his company. Plattner showed how design thinking brings “something like creative chaos to a company in a permanent way”, stating that we need to forget about typical worries and constraints that often arise when solving problems - “Let us think free from constraints when we build something”. According to Plattner, when designing a solution with people in mind, we should think first about desirability, then feasibility, then viability. Hasso capped his presentation by stating, “Let’s get back to the place where we were creative, when we were all equal as children.”



After Hasso’s d.note presentation , a rapid-fire series of talks explored the implementation of design thinking in a corporation or organization. Key points from these presentations are listed below:

- When implementing design thinking in an organization for the first time, have strong partners at the grassroots, management and administrative levels. 

- “It’s not about creating one dream team; it’s about all teams dreaming”. 

- Current success is one of the largest inhibitors to future innovation.

- Complexity is not a key for creating successful solutions. There is beauty in simplicity. 

- Design thinking is about creating with intentionality.

- “It’s hard to get out of the same boring assumptions when you’re sitting in the same gray box that you’ve always sat in.” 



The d.confestival is only the beginning of our journey forward. 

 Stay tuned for the next d.confestival Rewind: Afternoon of Day 1. 

When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we’ve already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.
Bruce Mau (via charlottexcsullivan

(via corbinlamont)

As paint hits the trailer, our pop-up studio comes to life. POP Studio is a public works studio that engages the people of the Poinsett District, an urban corridor in Greenville, SC. This week, Furman design students are working with world-renowned surf artist Drew Brophy to paint a mural on the side of the trailer that represents the unique identities of our neighboring communities - Brutontown, Poe Mill, Sans Souci and New Washington Heights.POP Studio will be used as a launchpad for events, community projects, conversation circles and design thinking workshops. Where will POP Studio pop-up first? Stay tuned… 

As paint hits the trailer, our pop-up studio comes to life. POP Studio is a public works studio that engages the people of the Poinsett District, an urban corridor in Greenville, SC. This week, Furman design students are working with world-renowned surf artist Drew Brophy to paint a mural on the side of the trailer that represents the unique identities of our neighboring communities - Brutontown, Poe Mill, Sans Souci and New Washington Heights.

POP Studio will be used as a launchpad for events, community projects, conversation circles and design thinking workshops. Where will POP Studio pop-up first? Stay tuned… 

Teachers are designers. Check out one teacher’s evolution from skeptic to believer in the value of design thinking for educators. 

"Design Thinking is the confidence that everyone can be part of creating a more desirable future, and a process to take action when faced with a difficult challenge. That kind of optimism is well needed in education.

Classrooms and schools across the world are facing design challenges every single day, from teacher feedback systems to daily schedules. Wherever they fall on the spectrum of scale—the challenges educators are confronted with are real, complex, and varied. And as such, they require new perspectives, new tools, and new approaches. Design Thinking is one of them.” 
- Design Thinking for Educators 

(via mgekeler)

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