Thinking It Through:
Joe Amditis

Thanks Joe. I, too, was really anxious about the presentation. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one! From the time it was mentioned in class, and every time I caught a glimpse of the date on the syllabus, I had visions of mortification, and of disappointing these poor kids. But, that totally wasn’t the case. I agree that the first group, responsible for giving the DT overview, did an amazing job setting up the process, and our groups were able to seamlessly transition from one another. I was very impressed with the college students’ solutions, particularly the one which I think was called the “I Get It” app. Their thoughtful and well-articulated idea was clearly a reflection of how effective we all were in giving them a solid foundation in DT principles.

I’m impressed that you, too, were so inspired that you went home later that day to look through old emails to come up with new ideas (nice graphic ;-) You inspired me to create one, too, which I have since posted with the link to my Hearken module.

  • Aside from using Hearken, what are some of the ways and methods you plan to use to reach out to your community to identify their needs?

I plan to research related organizations, thinking outside the box of the usual suspects, introduce my project and have them help me connect to the community. Something like what we’re doing in M&O on the Rent Racket series. Getting on their mailing lists, attending their events, and offering to share their work and mission are all ways to get to know them and build trust and rapport. I will also be reaching out on the social media platforms I most use: Facebook and Twitter. I can share the Hearken module there, I suppose, but I suspect users of those two platforms would probably cut out the middle man, so to speak, and probably just reply and answer in comments.

  • How might you incorporate design thinking into your daily lives, outside of school or your careers?

THAT’s a really good question! Until you asked it, I hadn’t thought of it, but you’ve given me ideas! I think we all deal with getting stuck, or, being in a rut, not knowing how to break out of it or get “unstuck.” We spin our wheels, going over and over the same problem in our lives, leaving ourselves increasingly frustrated and maybe a little more hopeless every time. What if we took a long-standing problem, an ongoing negative pattern, and applied Design Thinking to it? Outside of school or career, I think I’d rather not say, but I think I’m going to try it. I’ll let you know how it goes ;-)

Whether it’s design thinking or any engagement project, what I’m noticing is that they, by necessity, involve “teams.” In Kelsey Proud’s article, The News Is Served, one section that really stuck out to me is the “Who’s job is it to “do” engagement work?” section. The short answer? Everyone’s. She mentions some basic titles and the tasks each team member can handle — Project Manager, Producer, Editor, Subject/Beat Reporter, and Community Collaborator. Each role handles a specific and necessary function, but it begs the question for those of us who will probably be working on our projects without “staff,” how do we do all of this ourselves??? This is actually a real question in the world of independent journalism, filmmaking, social activism etc. There’s a lot of information, there are a lot of tools, there’s a lot of work to be done, but not enough people, or more specifically, the money to employ people to fill these roles. This is a problem that I’m trying to figure out. Volunteers and interns, I don’t think, are the answer. Not as a long-term, sustainable strategy. I think one thing that has to happen in whatever field or context we’re working in, is that the community engagement part be seen as an important, necessary, non-optional facet of our work. It’s not something we tack on at the end of the day if there’s any time. It’s not something we do in our spare time, as a favor to the project, nor is it something to delegate to a volunteer who may or may not follow through. As a producer, I’m insisting now that we spend allocated time to engagement. I recently worked with an older producing team who’s attitude was, “we just make the films, getting them out is someone else’s job.” NO, IT’S NOT. If we really want our work to have the impact that we want, we have to make it OUR work. It’s a way of thinking that is super-dated, and also, kind of baffling. Why spend so much time, and effort and energy and blood and sweat and tears to make a film, if you don’t care about getting it to the audiences, to the communities that can benefit from it, getting it to the legislators, thought leaders and changemakers that can make a difference? I have always found that attitude so strange. It’s like dropping the ball two feet from the finish line. (Note: not a sports person, but I realize that analogy may have some problems, but I think you get what I’m saying ;-)

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.