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Announcing our Higher Ed Community Prototypers!

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We’re excited to introduce you to Bernat, Julia, Rob and Justin — our volunteer Community Prototypers for the Refinement phase of the Higher Ed Challenge. They’ll be helping the OpenIDEO community move from ideas to action by building rapid prototypes to test out assumptions and uncover learnings.

From Left: Rob Han, Justin Bean, Julia Rose West, Bernat Fortet

Rob Han is a past OpenIDEO challenge winner who has recently launched his top idea from the challenge in Shanghai. His social enterprise, Refuture, is a social platform app that helps people track their life behaviors in the terms of sustainability, health, and money.

Justin Bean is a strategy, marketing, and product innovation consultant based in San Francisco. His project, Community Coin, was selected by our panel of experts as one of the top ideas during the OpenIDEO Financial Empowerment Challenge.

Bernat Fortet is a designer and developer with CG art, programming and graphic design backgrounds. He’s currently an experience designer at Yahoo! We were excited to see Bernat's passion for education innovation at an OpenIDEO Meetup during the research phase.

Julia Rose West is an UX designer at  Currently, Julia is also pursuing her Design MBA in Strategic Foresight at the California College of Arts. She is a designer who's interested in discovering what people need and uncovering actional plans for their preferred futures.

Snapshots of Bernat Fortet

What is prototyping to you?

Rob: It’s very quickly validating that your idea will solve the problem you set out to impact. It’s making sure your assumptions are true and by getting real feedback instead of imagining scenarios in your head.

Justin: To me prototyping is about understanding the human experience of a product, service, or design. So much of the creative process is internal; only by trying out our ideas in the real world do we get a rich experience that we can use to better fit our ideas to reality. There's humility in admitting that you can't imagine all the facets of an experience before you actually experience it, and testing ideas with this humility in mind leads to an expansion of the spectrum of information you can glean from prototyping.

Bernat: Prototyping is the art of answering questions using the least amount of effort. This requires us to think in creative ways to think how to craft ways to validate our ideas. It could be to just interview some people, or maybe draw some concepts on napkin, or maybe create a few animation and show them to somebody or, eventually, create a whole application

Snapshots of Julia Rose West

What excites you the most about the Higher Ed Challenge?

Rob: It’s exhilarating to imagine that your work can affect millions of people over time; changes to the education system has ripple effects that go beyond what we can imagine. This challenge is exactly that, potentially removing hurdles from millions of lives and pushing so many people forward.

Bernat: A better understanding about how the Higher Ed system works can tell us how to make it cheaper. Making it cheaper means more people getting a degree on what they are passionate about. More passionate people working on what they are passionate about means awesome things created in the world. In the end, we have a happier society : )

Julia: Education is a fundamental human right and is an essential tool for growth and transformation. Muhammad Yunus wrote in Building Social Business, “Every human being is born into this world fully equipped not only to take care of himself or herself, but also to contribute to the well-being of the world as a whole. Some get the chance to explore their potential, but many others never get the chance to unwrap the wonderful gifts they are born with… the world remains deprived of their contribution." This challenge aims to reduce the financial difficulties that prevent some people from ever reaching their full potential – that possibility really excites me!

Snapshots of Justin Bean

How might you support the Refinement idea during prototyping?

Justin: By helping the teams think through why any given prototype could be helpful. It's important to consider what the objective of the prototype is and what do you expect it to prove. I would also challenge the team to continue testing different types of prototypes until they come up with surprising outcomes - surprises can be incredibly valuable, saving you many hours and/or dollars further down the road.

Bernat: I’m a jack of all trades and master of some. I can scrap pieces of hardware, draw, design all kinds of things, program, create systems! Let's just figure it out together. I can be of service.

Julia: I want to to help innovate on diverse ways to prototype – from science fiction prototyping, writing a design fiction, developing a working app, or experiential performance prototypes. I am eager to explore these different types of prototyping to be used for distinct needs, audiences, and phases of the refinement process.  

Snapshots of Rob Han

Join Rob, Justin, Julia, Bernat and the rest of the OpenIDEO community in the Higher Ed Challenge!

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