Week 15 – Chat with Jonas, playing around with new ideas.

The start of this week saw Ashleigh and myself swapping essay drafts and constructing some feedback for each other. I found this really useful, not only was it good to have a fresh pair of eyes look at my work but it was also really helpful to see how she had approached her write up and to note the differences between our styles. Ashleigh’s feedback was positive on the whole which was a big relief and I think we both got a lot out of the experience.

The second major event of the week was my introductory chat with the new tutor Jonas. This was a little more frustrating. He rightfully challenged my decision to exclusively target graduates, telling me that by doing so I was excluding others that might want to take advantage of what my proposed group might have to offer. I did my best to explain why I thought it was important for graduates to feel like this was for them specifically and then we discussed how things can be coded in a certain way to signal to certain groups that something is for them without it being explicit. After some back and forth (I really wanted to cling to the name Graduates’ Guild!) I ultimately agreed with his position. This meant that I had to go back to the drawing board with a couple of aspects of the project though which was frustrating at this stage of the process. If I could have had this chat 2-3 weeks ago before I’d written so much of my business plan that would certainly have been preferable!

Who is the project for then?

I sat down and had a good long chat with my partner after meeting with Jonas. This was really helpful as we really got into the specifics of who I want to help with this project.

In a nutshell what we arrived at was that the project was about supporting overeducated and under stimulated young adults. What we’re referring to here is still predominantly graduates but by focusing on this aspect of what ails the graduate population we open the door to others that meet the same criteria and that want to get involved.

Another key notion that we discussed was the idea of ‘brain drain’ – (I hate the phrase itself but the phenomena is well documented). Brain drain occurs when we no longer engage with or think about the things that we have already learned. When we stop actively engaging in this way it can take a surprisingly short time for us to start forgetting things which in turn makes us lose confidence. I think that brain drain is an important focus for this project and also a potentially viable way of marketing and promoting the idea to others.

Susanna’s webinar – Playing around with Crazy 8 design sprint

In light of the various project changes this week, a chance to work on a design problem with others was very welcome and Susanna’s webinar provided just that. I posed the question ‘If not a Graduates’ Guild then what? If I’m no longer directly marketing to an exclusive graduate market, what ideas and themes can I use to base my marketing and my core ethos around?’

I was really eager to find a better, more suitable focus for the project and through the webinar I was able to arrive at one.

Though Lindsay and I struggled to get going at first, eventually with Susanna’s input we arrived at an interesting idea. We discussed how one lens we could view the project through was that of exchange. At their core many of my ideas thus far have been about exchange – exchanging academic knowledge, exchanging experiences between young adults and local communities, exchanging skills and competencies with others etc. When we think about the project in these terms it actively does away with any previous subconscious and explicit hierarchies.

So that will be my focus moving forward as I experiment and play around with possibilities for how this project all comes together.

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