Lab Note #4: Design Retreat Recap

It wasn't exactly easy in the Big Easy for the three Gamechangers teams during last month's Design Retreat in New Orleans (note to self--next time we'll call it an intensive), but as they say, innovation is hard work! That said... we did have a lot of fun, as captured in the photo above of GRRO Good Bowls team members Lucette Mercer and Laura Fieselman as they created a rapid prototype of a kid-friendly, locally-sourced & prepared meal kit (Mac & Cheese & Friends!).
One look at all those sticky notes and you can imagine how much collaboration, deep thinking, and hard work went down as the teams developed shared visions of the futures they want to create, diagnosed and developed shared understanding of their systems challenges, and practiced design thinking mindsets to advance their gamechanging ideas. Take a look at the retreat agenda to get an idea of what we were up to, and check out the "Focus On" below for more info on Human-Centered Design.
Everyone learned a lot about systems thinking and design thinking, spent some time in the groan zone (which we came to appreciate as part of the innovation process), and deepened relationships within teams, with the Lab's advisors and facilitators, and with the Wallace Center. This quote from Michael Richard, Farm & Outreach Coordinator at Recirculating Farms Coalition and member of the ReFresh Food Collaborative team summed it up well: "It was a great mind-expanding and team-building journey. Our team is a lot closer to each other and to achieving our goal. We also gained new friends whom we know we can learn from and lean on." That's what this Lab is all about, so we're right on track with this pilot year of the Gamechangers Lab!
The teams took their design mindsets back home for Phase 3-- the Design Sprint, where each team is identifying creative ways to get "user" input and feedback and rapidly prototyping and testing ideas. Check next month's Catalyst for an update on the ideas and strategies that are bubbling up!
*Note: This Lab Note was originally published in November 2019's issue of The Catalyst

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