Make to Learn
What’s the best way to improve how you innovate when you’re too busy doing it? That’s the question the gravitytank University (gtU) training domain sought to answer. Our hypothesis went something like this: if we could help our own time-crunched staff get smarter about how they approach our client innovation work, then maybe the same training could help our clients, who are also time crunched, get smarter about how they drive innovation in their organizations.
Two months ago, we launched an experiment to figure it out. After a series of sessions and seminars where we evaluated which learning formats, topics and timing are the best for learning, the answer became obvious—through making.
gravitytank’s you-too-can-build-it, maker attitude infects every aspect of what we do. Whether it’s a research framework, a product idea or a business model, anything can be prototyped with a basic understanding of the skills and tools necessary to do so. It’s a highly inclusive approach that welcomes anyone to the table, including our clients. The principles for teaching this are simple—it should be hands-on, practical, collaborative and interactive. We don’t hide behind craft or judge others for taking a chance. It’s about getting your hands in the game and making something to learn how to do it.
Our first gtU seminar was a learning fair hosted by our Industrial Design (ID) team. GTers rotated around 6 stations where they had less than 8 minutes to learn the basics of ID skills like graphic facilitation, sketching figures, fabricating with foam core or spray mounting. The point wasn’t to appreciate the difficulty or proficiency of the skill, but rather to democratize the act of doing it so that the conversation can be richer and more tangible. If everyone involved can make something, then the discussion becomes about those outputs, not opinions on thoughts.
We made three brief videos of these stations to demonstrate what we mean. We hope you learn from them and they inspire you to go make something. Check back here for progress on our training domain or contact us if you’re interested in getting your hands busy.