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Train Scrappy Teams


Using the assets in your studio is key to learning and saving resources as the teams kick off the beginning stages of creating solutions!

Output: Teams know the next steps for how they will build their ideas.

Effective ways to build and develop ideas on a budget:

  1. Have teams figure out key questions to build their ideas.
  2. Remind teams of the resources on campus on campus.
  3. Talk about 3+ ways teams can start to get scrappy.
    • Always think low-fi first - Follow the principles of build and only create the functionality and form that needs to be tested. Building to learn means you don’t need a fully automated system or a fully working prototype to test core parts of your design.
    • Look for free/cheap materials - Your university’s shop/makerspace is not the only place that has scrap materials that can be used to make a quick prototype. You and the studio can save up cereal boxes, paper, and old class supplies. Collecting what’s unused and available will go a long way.
    • Use the materials in your DFA studio-in-a-box from Leadership Studio - We sent you off from Leadership Studio with all you would need to build quick prototypes. Use the Play-doh, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, rubber bands, etc.
    • Use Adobe - You can get professional-looking renderings, images to use on prototypes, storyboards, and wireframes using Adobe.
  4. Help teams leverage resources and define 2+ next steps for prototyping.
    • If the team is looking into submitting a grant application, review what was already done and make sure other teams are aware of the opportunity. Grants and competitions on-campus help fuel early prototypes with it’s lower barriers in attaining the funding. Once the team have proven and developed your ideas through low-fidelity prototypes, applying to the grants are a great way to take the prototype to the next step.
  5. Share with all the teams so that other teams can be inspired and/or provide extra help to a team.
    • Give suggestions on how a team can use these resources so they are more likely to follow through.

Network Best Practices

Use prototyping materials in DFA-in-a-box from Leadership Studio

At Leadership Studio, DFA National provided a DFA-in-a-box to each studio. This box is full of resources, including post-it notes, markers, play-doh, and even M&M’s for some brain power. DFA teams consider the DFA-in-a-box as a great resource for the Immerse and Build stages!

Use the local recycling center to find cheap prototyping materials like DFA RISD|Brown

In the Build stage, DFA teams require a plethora of materials to make both low- and high-fidelity prototypes. If DFA teams are creating physical prototypes, they may need cardboard, foam, dowels, foam, paper, scissors, and glue. DFA RISD|Brown got a bunch of prototyping materials at a cheap price at their local recycling center. You can also consider using scraps at shop spaces and classrooms on campus or asking for donations from other student groups or organizations.

Enter a competition for funding with lo-fi prototypes like DFA Yale

DFA Yale’s Illumiloon team produced a video explaining their idea by using simple materials that represent what a final prototype would be made of and by using renderings in Adobe photoshop to show prototypes in use. The team used this video to enter the 'Design4Disasters' challenge hosted by the Field Innovation Team (FIT) and AIGA. The team won a cash prize, got published by the AIGA, and won a visit to a FIT bootcamp to learn more about implementation. Watch the video here!

Make simple, customizable prototypes that let people see your idea like DFA Stanford

DFA Stanford’s Pair Eyewear team tested their idea with a huge number of people by participating in a local Maker Faire. The team used simple cardboard versions of their customizable, child-targeted eyeware and let families make their own glasses with markers. This technique let the team test the customizable feature of their user without having to figure out all the details of a final idea.