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Develop Resources for Teams


Foster a social impact-friendly environment for your studio that’s open, collaborative, and supportive by making the most out of the resources your campus has to offer. To help teams collaborate more openly, build prototypes faster, receive regular feedback, and push their projects to the next level, make sure DFA members are aware of the tools at their disposal!

Output: Mentors have reviewed your studio’s plan to get resources for teams, with defined deadlines for university budgeting cycles.

Effective ways to develop resources for teams:

  1. Review your studio goals to brainstorm what studio meeting space(s), prototyping materials, studio/project funding, implementation support, and mentorship can help you reach those goals.
    • If you don’t have your studio goals ready, check these 3 pages in “Set Vision & Goals” for resources to help you get there.
  2. Identify 1+ space for teams to collaborate regularly.
    • Most important part about the space is that it should be accessible, have wall space to visualize ideas via post-it notes or sketching, and allow open environment for collaboration among teams. Some important things to consider are: desk space, wall space, storage, and overall ambience.
    • DFA spaces across the network are anywhere from small offices and studios to open classrooms or work spaces where teams can move around and collaborate with each other.
  3. Find 2+ sources of funding on your campus.
    • PROJECTS may need funding in prototyping ideas, recruiting users for research or testing, etc. Look into local competitions, grants, or funds from student activities group/school departments to get funding for projects. Check out “Train Scrappy Teams” for more ideas.
    • STUDIO will need funding to support studio activities and social events. Look into working with your school’s student activities group, launching fundraising campaigns; charging an entrance fee for workshops, selling swag or food, connecting with sponsors, applying to grants to make sure the studio gets the funding needed. Check out “Obtain Funding” for more ideas.
  4. Identify 3+ sources where teams can gain prototyping materials.
    • Consider the different types of materials they will need for the Immerse, Ideation, and Build stages of the process. Some sources could be: Free things in the shop, DFA-in-a-box received from Leadership Studio, theater department, local recycling center, junk yard, saved cardboards, Adobe, etc.
  5. Consider 2+ avenues for implementation support.
    • Some avenues could be: Innovation spaces, Office of Entrepreneurship, Maker spaces on campus, Civic engagement office, Social Entrepreneurship, Local incubators, Office of Research, Interdisciplinary research, Research grants, Internship grants, Travel grants, etc.
  6. Identify 2+ ways to engage with 2-3 mentors in your studio.
    • Ways mentors can engage with your studio:
      • Scope projects.
      • Facilitate workshops & give project feedback.
      • Coach a project team or help implement projects.
      • Share resources and provide accountability to teams and leads.
    • Check out “Welcome mentors to your studio” to find ways to engage faculty, staff, and professional mentors and reaching out to them.
  7. Reach out to your studio support mentor to review your plan.
    • Review your goals and resources ideas with your mentor. Talk about what may be missing and what other opportunities are out there. Talking to your faculty or staff advisors can give you some ideas on understanding the campus resources where you can start to utilize them.
  8. Let teams know what resources they should use on campus.
    • In the end, the ones who will be using the resources will mostly be project teams. Let them know what’s on campus and who they can reach out to during the project.
    • Once teams start to get scrappy to build prototypes, check out “Train Scrappy Teams” to help teams leverage these resources and get them comfortable finding resources and using them to propel their projects.
  9. See if the resources you have are helping the studio and adjust based on feedback.

Network Best Practices

Enter on-campus and student competitions to get early support like DFA Northwestern

The Jerry the bear team was able to submit a number of early, partially-working prototypes to school and student competitions. After winning a few of these competitions, the team was able to win money to continue prototyping their idea and receive mentorship to learn the technical and business skills needed to get their idea into the world.  

Work closely with your advisor/mentor to secure space like DFA RPI and DFA UofI

DFA U of Illinois was able to secure space from the computer science department through their faculty advisor.

DFA RPI worked with their advisor, who is the head of the Product Design Innovation (PDI) Program to secure working space in the PDI's classrooms. They even worked with the PDI department to convert a small office being used for storage into a mini 'DFA office' so they could store materials and prototypes.

Make members aware of the campus resources like DFA MIT

DFA MIT created a resource guide available to their project team members - including faculty mentors, shop facilities, and computer software. Consider putting together a summary of resources for your members to show them all your studio has to offer.

Align studio goals and needs with interests of others like DFA CWRU|CIA 

DFA CWRU|CIA housed at an entire floor of the new think[box] collaboration and innovation space! By connecting the needs of think[box] along with the needs and goals of the studio, they were able to collaborate to benefit all involved.