As part of our entrepreneurial lawyering class in the Reinvent law curriculum, our class was able to attend a weekend "Law by Design" workshop with Margaret Hagan from Stanford's Design School.  Margaret's session focused on showing our class how we can find our own career trajectory.  

Our session began with a six word description of ourselves and what brought us to the session today.  While our class included the students enrolled in the actual class, other participants involved in the Reinvent Law Laboratory were able to attend and be involved.  

To begin with, what is design thinking?  Design is not a branding tool or a magic art.  Instead, Margaret believes it lies somewhere in-between.  It is a skill that you practice, engage, and build.  The goal is to make something that people want to engage in and not skip over.  It also involves thinking from the user's perspective. 

For our design workshop, we partnered up and ran through a design oriented process to help redefine the law school experience, based on what is important to our partner.

The first step in the process is to empathize, which means to feel what the user experiences.  In this area of the process, we want to learn what the user is feeling and experiencing in order to better understand what the actual problem is.  As part of our task, we did a 5 minute interview to understand what was important to our partner to scope the problem.

Our second task was to focus our idea down and hypothesize on what is actually important to our partner?  This stage involved taking time to reflect on what the user hopes to aspire to.

The third step in our process was to "ideate", which is also known as brainstorming.  In this stage we were asked to "flare" and think wide about concepts for our user.  This stage is important to help set the spectrum of what a project is or isn't.  One of Margaret's favorite aspects of this stage is to make sure you visualize your concept.  You need to be concise and specific.  Another important piece of this stage is to be as open as possible and not to judge your ideas or anyone else.  

Our fourth step was to present our brainstormed ideas and to gain feedback from the user, without pitching the ideas.  From this feedback, we then took the feedback and created our first prototype.  This prototype allowed us to explore the user 's experience in a low-cost way.  Users tend to know their own stories, not necessarily how these stories translate into a tangible product.  Its important in this stage to prototype early and often: its better to fail early and often.  Prototyping is important to create an experience that will allow the designer to gain invaluable feedback in an honest way.  

After creating our prototype, we tested our product with the user.  In this fifth stage we did not act as a salesperson.  Instead, we had to watch our user interact with the prototype we created.  

Next, we moved into the sixth stage in the process: branding.  Branding is being able to talk about what you are delivering and how you are different than anything else.  Branding is the perception you create about yourself, your company, or your product.  

Finally, we covered practicality and feasibility, which are often the areas that most designers get caught on to begin with.  We were asked to be objective and seek individuals in the correct areas to give us the best indications regarding our initial scope assessment and the technical success of the product.

In closing, my experience was amazing.  We took the final half-hour to proactively reflect over what steps we can take to achieve our career goals.  I found this reflection to be invaluable because we often spend so much time thinking about things we need to accomplish but so little time actually doing these things.

 

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