Black, white, blue, purple, orange; you see these colors. Chocolate, chalk, periwinkle, fuscia, dirty old sock; these are still colors, but they hold much more nuance - evoking feelings, perceptions, even biases. And those biases not only shape how we interact with the world around us, but also how we perceive it - essentially, our perceptions shape our mindsets.
Each day, Fellows in our lab jumpstart the innovation process with a source of personal inspiration. Not only does this set the tone for the rest of the day, but it's a gut-check of sorts. Why are you in this work? What motivates, drives, compels you forward?
Recently, Elie Hudson, 2015 Lean Lab Fellow, showed us Neil Harbisson's TED talk, "I listen to color," for one of these inspirations:
Like Harbisson, Elie challenged all of us in the lab to think beyond color, food, and music, and delve further into how our views shape who we are. She asked us to imagine "If you were a food, what would you be and why?" emphasizing that the answer is potentially very different than your favorite meal. Conversely, she then asked us to think about what our favorite food is and what song that food would be. Here are the results:
If you were a food, what would you be?
Elie Hudson: Sourdough turkey panini with spinach, cucumbers, tomato, and a dash of honey mustard.
Why: "Because it's light and summery, with the honey mustard adding a bit of something interesting."
Jeanella Clark: Spaghetti
Why: "Because it's adaptable and can assimilate to several different environments (think of all the sauces)!"
Emily Grand: Grapefruit
Why: "I'm feeling...juicy? I don't know...I'm an acquired taste. Sweet AND sour."
Catina Taylor: Neapolitan ice cream
Why: "It's sweet, smooth, and I melt very easily. Plus, you get a lil' bit of everything."
Katie Gore: Pomegranate
Why: "I wouldn't eat it. It's hard to eat, and I'm picky. Sometimes people perceive me as hard, but I'm sweet."
Imani Malaika: Pupusa
Why: "It's a San Salvadoran dish that's hot & greasy. It's diverse."
Katie Laird: Black coffee
Why: "Coffee is raw, valuable to all classes and races, which I hope to be."
Kirsten Brown: Kale
Why: "It's mean and green - I strive to be healthy and full of energy."
If your favorite food was a song, what would it be?
Elie Hudson: Sol Tacos' burrito from St. Louis
Song: Arctic Monkeys sound like what a burrito would taste like
Jeanella Clark: Italian food
Song: Definitely morning jazz
Emily Grand: Birthday carrot cake made by my mom
Song: Obviously "Happy Birthday"
Catina Taylor: Potatoes...any way
Song: "Chips" TV show theme song
Katie Gore: Apple pie
Song: Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A."
Imani Malaika: Mango
Song: "Hey, Soul Sister" by Train
Katie Laird: Coffee or sour beer
Song: A folk or blue grassy sound
Kirsten Brown: Lulu's pad thai with chicken
Song: "That's a really good question..."
Here's why this matters:
Innovation in education and, even, our greater world, oftentimes get confused with something new. However, if Neil Harbisson can "hear" a human face, it is not the face that changed, nor was it even the technology that transformed Harbisson's ability to, quite literally, listen instead of just look at another human being. Rather, it was a shift in concept, in mindset, that altered Harbisson's ability so that "after some time, all information became a perception," he says. When this shift occurred, intangible concepts like beauty were not recreated, but transformed.
Changing perceptions, altering mindsets, this what The Lean Lab strives to accomplish on a larger scale through the solutions Fellows in our lab build. Cohort 2 is there - they know the power of transformational change when we begin to view our assets in this city as its students and the people ready & willing to make a difference.
The question is, are you?
To witness the passion behind the Fellows' solutions first hand, join us for Launch Day on Friday, July 17 at the Sprint Accelerator.