Impactathon Preparation: Key Mindsets and How to Prepare

As you prepare for this weekend’s Impactathon, here’s some tips on how to prepare and what you can practice during the weekend.

What to expect this weekend:


During the Lab Impactathon, you will be asked to create a low-fidelity prototype that can be tested and iterated on. You will have several chances to gather feedback on these early prototypes from real people. This may seem intimidating, but keep it simple! You should be curious about what you've seen or heard so far. Now is the chance to test some of your assumptions and gather further information (input and feedback) in a targeted and condensed fashion.


How to prepare:

  1. Consider the "take-aways" from your research and workshop activities so far. Take some time to individually synthesize and notice if patterns or commonalities begin to surface. Perhaps this is a phrase, something that someone said and was repeated again in another way by someone else; a habit, that you observed or heard about and then saw supported or replicated elsewhere; or just an anomaly -- a pink elephant that seems to appear in a few different contexts across the people you've listened to or places you've visited.

  2. Compare your findings with teammates. We'll have a chance to discuss together on Friday, but use our #research or #design Slack channels to flag key findings and call attention to them. They may become important during the Impactathon. We'll be working together to catalogue collective insights on Friday evening as well.

  3. Complete the service blueprint. You may wish to return to the Service Blueprint activity that we began last week as a group. This may look like completing the one your group worked on in the session, or starting a new service blueprint for an area more specific to your design challenge and FMA. For some instructions on how to go about doing this, check out the Key Milestones for Lab Challenge #2.

What to practice:

Finally, this weekend will be a chance to actively practice key design mindsets. This will include the following:

  • Take action -- One  of the common phrases in design thinking is "bias towards action." This  simply means -- get going! It's easy to feel a bit overwhelmed by the  largeness of your project design challenge or the pressure of crafting the perfect question or design. But the lab format is meant to be a place to practice and implement. If you're stuck or need some help, don't hesitate to reach out -- we're in your corner!

  • Be flexible -- Whether you are interviewing to gather feedback or prototyping with a partner, here are a few ways to have a flexible mindset:

    • Gather stories not information -- Remember, getting to a story about why or how  is a great way to practice listening and get some good take-aways that  will help you later on. What your top three questions? What would you say to get people to share a story or show you something related to  your inquiry?


    • Use the power of creative observation -- You can learn a lot from simply observing. What is an analogous experience relevant to your inquiry? What could you learn from a seemingly unrelated environment or occupation? 
What can you "build" to have people interact with so that you can gauge their reactions?

  • Stay curious -- Keep asking questions. You'll have to begin to make assumptions but during prototyping and feedback sprints, consider this your change to question what you think you know. Use the prototype to validate and test, gathering feedback on an early hypothesis or assumption.