One of the biggest challenges of my design camp experience circled around getting teenage strangers to work comfortably with one another.

I remembered how hard it was to speak and share ideas with others at that age, specially others whom you not know (not that it is really easier now, but at least I’ve gotten better at hiding the awkwardness). In order to attack this problem, and in anticipation to the larger project of the afternoon, students were divided in groups, pretending to be offices, and in five minutes they had to come up with a name and gesture sketch to serve as their logo.

At first, I was skeptical of my own strategy. Part of me thought that separating them into offices was to be received with critiques of being lame or stupid, but actually, students surprisingly engaged very well at the opportunity of creating a name and a mark for themselves. I gave them only one rule: anything was allowed other than pornographic. I even joked with them a bit to get them loose. I gave them an example: if they had be dumped this past weekend, they could call their office I Was Dumped Design. It was impressive to see how they came up with names. Some of the ones I remember were taken from: the brand of the pencil they were holding, the initials of their names, their favorite foods… to name a few.

After their office inauguration, I gave them a wall, which became their work space for the day, and the first exercise was a moderated ideation session. During this portion of the day, I gave them a topic (always related to the CAM museum) and they wrote ideas on post-its and placed them on the wall. This session was high energy and moderated a bit crazy, to get them thinking wildly about museums. Some of the recurring ideas were a petting zoo in the museum, water slides, night parties, coffee shops, better shopping stores and more do it your self art.

I have to say that this was a hit. It may not have generated a pool of realistic ideas for the museum, but it got all team members talking and working together.

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