#BreakerBOI: Design Thinking Comes to Boise



The radical process of design thinking makes its way into Boise over the next week with something called Project Breaker making the City of Trees its fourth landing spot.

Design thinking—a seven step process from the Stanford d.school (Design School)—is a method of approaching problems applicable to multiple fields. Whether it be education, engineering, technology or business, design thinking attempts to find solutions to a wide array of issues.

And If all goes according to Lisa Fisher’s plan, design thinking will spread from the Project Break event in Boise to the farthest reaches of the state. Fisher is the senior program officer in change management for the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, one of Idaho’s largest private donors to education.

“The idea and hope is the #BreakerBOI can evolve into a virtual model where design thinking, entrepreneurship and social innovation can be taught in all areas of Idaho—from downtown Boise to the most rural areas,” Fisher said in an email to BW.

Fisher’s passion in design thinking led her to meet Susie Wise, the K-12 Lab Network Director at Stanford University's d.School, at the NewSchools Venture Fund summit in the spring of 2013.

After her interactions with Wise, Fisher was able to meet TED Fellow and Project Breaker founder Juliette LaMontagne. From there, she worked tirelessly alongside LaMontagne and Wise to bring a Project Breaker event to Boise.

The hard has led to Project Breaker’s arrival to Boise this week, 15 Treasure Valley high school students will work alongside teachers, entrepreneurs and business and civic leaders to use design thinking to find out what is the future of stuff—how can manufacturing be redesigned.

The week long process began with a TED Talk-esque seminar on Wednesday in order to avoid one of the downfalls of TED Talks.

“When you go to a TED Talk, you feel inspired, but there’s no second step,” said One Stone Community Engagement Director Neva Geisler. “With the kick-off event, they’ll get the inspiration from the TED Talk, and then be able to spend the next week actually implementing what they learned.”

The students will spend the following week conducting research at businesses of all shape and size - Micron, Greenspeed and the Boise Bicycle Project.

Boise will be only the fourth city to host a Project Breaker event, and will focus on getting high school students involved, as opposed to college students at Project Breaker’s previous three events in New York City, Detroit, Mich., and Portland, Ore.

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