Design for welfare: the Impact Week
Two stories I’ve heard while running workshops at the Impact Week in Jordan:
“It’s a luxury to have food storage at home, many parents send kids to school so to ensure that they can have a daily portion of food, as it is provided by the UN.”
Caleb, one of the senior coaches, was telling me this about his life in Kenya while drinking a typical lime-mint juice.
“Living in a refugee camp means having no privacy, you share everything, toilet and bed, you are never alone. It avoids a feeling of loneliness, but it also makes you lose your-intimate-self”.
Razan works in a refugee’s camp. While listening to her story, I was eating hummus and grilled cheese. But after a few minutes, I was not hungry anymore.
These are just two stories I’ve heard while running workshops at the Impact Week in Jordan. And all were talking to me with a huge smile, energy, empathy and a lot of positive vibes.
While this still has to sink in, let’s take a look at the other learnings of Impact Week.
Same same but different
While running this workshop, I’ve tried to find differences with my daily job, but every time I ended up realizing that the passion and efforts are the same, and as well, all what comes along.
It’s important to have value in the daily job, but also to find values that are others and go beyond. Thus, at the end of the workshops, I’ve realized that the main difference is the perspective, so the lens used to approach tools and methods.
What’s to keep in mind while running these workshops?
“Disruptive” and “impact” don’t generate any reactions, but “sustainable” and “legal” motivate a lot.
Each workshop was a repetition of this triad:
- People are struggling
- They need something
- We have to find a way to improve that situation.
These are the three macro steps “problem → need → solution” that I kept in mind to simplify the process for the class.
It feels like you only have one chance.
Usually multiple meetings and reviews with clients allow us to calibrate our efforts. A one-week program to kick-off new businesses for people in need feels like a rush. You need a strike, a match. A “you nailed it” on short notice. I’ve got to the point to wish that every week should be an Impact Week.
While working (and keep working hard), you have to cope with emotions, yours and others. It’s sometimes challenging but you have to keep motivate yourself and the ones around you.
The “impact” is business, and business is absolutely the place to make a change, while empathy is the way you make it right.
How to measure the success?
While running the workshops, I’ve seen people leaving the sessions because of an emotional crash, and I’ve seen those coming back after a self-reflection. I’ve seen some students crying, and I’ve seen their team-mates cheering them up and bringing them back to work. As senior coaches, we supported them at every time and motivated them at the best. As a result, we didn’t lose even one person at the end of the week. That was a big success for us.
On the final day, we left them with one last message, “You don’t lose, you learn! No matter what the jury will choose as the winning concept to get funds, you all rock!”. To deliver this message, we didn’t do speeches, we did it in our way: through a warm-up. We started clapping our hands on our legs (the “stomp, stomp, clap”), while softly singing “we will rock you”, and the whole audience of 200 students came along with us, and we all screamed it aloud many times: future, “we will rock you”.
Experiencing intercultural exchange and creating social impact through Design Thinking – That’s the claim of Impact Week and so true!
About Impact Week, Jordan 2019:
For the first time in Jordan, Jordanian universities and school students had the chance to join Impact Week – an innovation and entrepreneurship program in collaboration with various international practitioners from Lufthansa and SAP among others. The event was organized by Impact Week team and the German Jordanian University (GJU) in partnership with HELP Logistics (a program of the Kuehne Foundation), Spark, Goethe Institute and IBTECAR Consulting.
- Chance to get to know people from different countries and international companies
- Learn innovation best practices and design thinking and build your project idea
- Certificates from GJU and Impact Week team
- Opportunity to win the competition at the end and get further support to your project
- Have fun during the activities while learning
What happened during the Impact Week
- Work on existing local problems in a group with other students
- Bring in own ideas and experience while analyzing challenges
- Join training sessions and get support through experienced mentors
- Have fun building prototypes
- Present your results at the end of the week in front of a jury
The Impact Week is a non-profit program that promotes innovation and entrepreneurship in emerging economies as the basis for sustainable growth.
Business & Service Design