Ready. Fire. Aim.

Ready. Fire. Aim.

In many ways, this pithy little saying encapsulates the lean method. When exploring new territory, pushing the limits, doing things that have never been done before, trying to aim is most often a waste of time. Trust your gut, fire, and see what happens. Then aim and fire again. Move fast and break things. That’s how you ideate quickly and make improvements rapidly.

These are all things that we have learned not only in our Hacking 4 Impact course, but from the way the class operates in and of itself. This is the first time Hacking 4 Impact has ever been taught. There have been similar classes in the past, like the Lean Launchpad, but none has been socially focused. Thus, this class is in itself exploring new territory. Our instructors trusted their intuition and experience as to how the course should be taught — with each team having a goal of 10 interviews per week, and then each group presenting every week — and went with it.

It turns out that such a linear approach is quite difficult when each project is so unique and has so many unique challenges to overcome. Many of the groups started to stall, mine included. What we needed was more time with the instructors to get back on track. They realized this, and adapted the class to facilitate more time for each team to discuss their difficulties and to do mini workshops with them to further themselves and figure out where to go next.

The instructors even went a step further, and rather than relying purely on what they observed they asked for feedback on the course for all of the students. In my own experience as a user experience researcher, I know that giving the users a chance to voice their own concerns is critical to making a truly great project or service.

Being willing to change like this is not an easy thing to do. Sometimes, that initial hunch that takes the place of aiming can be so strong, that even when you miss the bullseye you refuse to re-aim. On one hand it takes a certain amount of humility to admit that you aren’t doing things perfectly. On the other hand, it takes a certain amount of creativity to figure out how to aim again.

We will see how the instructors incorporate our feedback, but the changes made already made have been hugely beneficial. All the teams are firing and aiming again.

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