On February 24th, students, community members, and faculty gathered at the Taylor Center to tackle a challenge for a special edition of Taylor’s human-centered public crash course, Design Thinking and Donuts: Mardi Gras. During this two hour, hands on session, participants used their various Mardi Gras experiences, and in some cases inexperience, to redesign the parade experience.
The design thinking facilitators Dr. Laura Murphy, Maille Faughnan, Javier Gonzalez, Kristen Hill and Jordan Stewart split the workshop into three phases: Discover, Dream, and Do! During the discover phase, participants “downloaded” experiences and did a visual and writing activity in which they shared their personal parade experiences and frustrations on an “inspiration wall”.
Allison, a New Orleans native said, “I love Mardi Gras for the creative expression and fun release. We are a unique place and it brings us together. But I’m starting to hate trash piles and plastic beads because of the waste.”
After a gallery walk of the inspiration wall, the group came together for the dream phase in which they shared insights and identified users like the novice parader, the New Orleans native, or a young parent. The group organized into smaller design teams and brainstormed ideas for the different users and developed four “How Might We” questions to address the challenges of Mardi Gras which included reducing waste, making the parade accessible to more people, welcoming novice parade attendees, and making the logistics of parading, like finding a bathroom, fun.
In the Do phase, the participants –in four teams –addressed one of the challenges surrounding Mardi Gras. During this fast paced round, participants created storyboards, role-played, and sketched their solutions which included a land ferry to help get people to the parades, an art installation created from Mardi Gras beads, and a welcoming krewe for parade novices.
At the end of the workshop, participants reflected on design experience and the human-centered approach for solving problems.
One participant said, “I liked how the process was inclusive of all ideas. The fast paced nature let us consider everyone’s thoughts.”