Monthly Meetings with the President of MIT

I was chosen to serve on the elite presidential cabinet, reporting in monthly meetings to MIT’s President Rafael Reif. I was asked to represent the MIT community, and I couldn’t think of a better way than design to approach the task. Our largest challenge was to provide recommendations on how to steer the $6 Billion Capital Campaign in a way that would engage our varied customers— from long gone alums to new students and their families. 

Service

Design Research, Organizational Strategy, Storytelling, Brainstorming Facilitation, Executive Liaising, User Discovery, Workshop Facilitation

Client

Office of the President of MIT

Year

2015

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mappingproblems

Mapping out user needs from interviews across the institute.

lifers-engaging

Lively, thrilling discussions with creativity and focus aided by our physical thinking tools.

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Cabinet members capture insights during our workshop— even Dhaval the physicist fell in love with the post-its (well, almost!).

The Process

I took leadership of the cabinet as Head Strategist, providing design direction for how to go about aggregating user insights and developing ideas that were aligned with our customer base. The team trusted me to lead our design-based exploration of what our users needed and what the President's office could do for them. As Head Strategist, I negotiated ourselves a budget (for the first time in Cabinet history) so that we could support our early morning team meetings and increase team spirits. Then, I directed our approach to gathering user testimony across campus, and I convened a workshop of 50 MIT alums, or Lifers, to gather perspective on the future of MIT. 

Stationary

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The Artifacts

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A whiteboard in the President's Office! 

I instructed the rest of the cabinet on how to use visual sketches to convey their big ideas so that we could show, not just tell, President Reif about our ideas. Then I got confirmation that I was the first to ever roll a whiteboard into the president’s office and do a sketch pin-up. Hooray! President Reif was delighted with our novel delivery tactics and encouraged us to keep up the good work. We were known as the team that tried novel methods and achieved results, and some of our ideas presented were used in the subsequent capital campaign, which surpassed its goal of $6B!  

Engage to Disengage

When it came time to gather insights on the future of MIT, we invited MIT Lifers (MIT undergrads turned grads turned staff) for their perspective and collective creative wisdom. I provided some physical thinking tools to spark their reflections and ideation generation. Our Lifers really got going with our mineral clay and were able to keep a playful, high-engagement discussion that surfaced some inter-generational insight. 

To thank them for their time, I designed and lasercut custom MIT Lifer keychains- with 3 meshed gears inside that lined up to read MIT! POMIT and FLOMIT also received their own custom pair.