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LEADING IDEAS TO ACTS By Min Wen Yeh Post-graduate Fellowship Project Documentation

Copyright © 2014

Copyright Š 2014 by Min Wen Yeh Illustrations copyright Š 2014 by Min Wen Yeh Design by Min Wen Yeh All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced mechanically, electronically, or by any other means, including photocopying without written permission of the publisher. Please contact for permission:

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From Ideas to Acts Roadmap Design in ESLI Program The Roadmap in Scale Outcome & Reflection






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THE BEGINNING A Post-Graguate Project It started with my previous thesis work, THE BRIDGE, which includes a toolkit for students bridging highly motivated mindsets to positive cultural adaptation behaviors. During my time as a post-graduate fellow in the Design for Social Impact program, I further developed the thesis work through design/ educational tools in the ESLI program at UArts, and built a “From an Idea to an Act Roadmap� model.


THE BRIDGING Toolkit works as a boundary object to connect different groups.In this picture, one student is mapping out her current situation while having a conversation with her instructor. 5

“Mindset to Behavior Learning Path� was developed in THE BRIDGE thesis project to explore how design tools can lead learners to activate their ex/in-ternal learning process.


A Concept Model and the Practice Mindset and behavior change does not happen through knowledge gained from either the head or hands separately. Design methods/tools serve this capability of connecting the internal to external world and accelerating our learning process. This paper will illustrate the steps I took from developing the model in details to engaging users in the cases with design methods/tools. The “From Ideas to Acts Roadmap� presents the process of navigating from an idea (internal) to an act (external), with touch points along the route where a thoughtful design would potentially play a role in moving a project forward.




We’ve all had the experience of getting lost in the city. Some people find their way by intuition or physical memory, others rather asking people for directions. To navigate our way internally or externally have been bridged by a map. Advancing from that, we’ve built digital devices to locate ourselves, which seem to perfectly synchronize our thoughts with our movements. Whether they are the routes recorded on paper, a device or in our mind, we recreate our own maps by experiencing the real world.


How might we turn a great idea into a meaningful act? The loop of learning usually starts from a map A (a boundary object) that connects the ex/in-ternal sides. It is considered an efficient way to accumulate information over time and find opportunities in a systematic view of reality. However, every idea/ opportunity needs to be built and put into the world to count. That is the second cross section on the roadmap of ex/in-ternal --Build B (prototyping). This learning journey would be completed by tracking the new information upon the map and learn from those data for the next move. For each touchpoints: Map, Compass, Idea, Imaging, Build, Wayfinding, Adventure, and Tracking shows key questions should be asked in the idea-to-acts journey.


Chart: From Ideas to Acts Roadmap 11


Co-Design with ESLI Educators This is a case of co-design a class engagement & self-reflection tool with faculty of the ESLI program at UArts. The three sessions of mapping activities help students who are starting their journey in a new environment to discuss and reflect on their learning experience. Students show and talk about their maps after completing each mapping activity. The process leads students through a visual exercise of synthesizing their experience by reflecting, mapping, discussion and sharing.


The Past Map: Students will reflect on their past experiences, motivation, and inspiration that contributed to their development as artists, musicians, or designers. They will add keywords to a timeline of their past.


The Past, The Present and The Future Maps

How it was used

Partners: University of the Arts (UArts), English as a Second Language Institute (ESLI), Writing Studio Participants: Mara Flamm, Nicole Dupree, instructor; HighIntermediate/Advanced ESLI Writing Studio students Timeline: 80 minutes Location: UArts, Philadelphia

This collection of tools and the accompanying workshops were used to facilitate the writing process and meet the learning objectives of the My Multimedia Autobiography Project (My MAP). For this project each student writes a three-part essay about their lives as artists--one for their past, present, and future. These tools offer the opportunity for students to express their stories and identify their goals. ESL students leave the workshops with ideas and a plan--not only for their essays--but for their future as art and design students.

The Present Map: Students will identify places or people on a map of the city that (1) inspire them, (2) help their growth, and (3) encourage them.

The Outcome “ From my perspective as the instructor, the results of using these

tools were overwhelmingly positive. Students were able to leave each session with material to construct the content of their writing. Additionally, the tools asked the students to share their stories with the class; thus, providing an opportunity to further build and develop their ideas while meeting learning objectives of practicing their verbal language skills and presentation strategies. --- By Nicole Dupree, instructor.

The Future Map: Students imagine “heaven” and “hell” states for their academic, social, and personal life in their near future (next semester as matriculated students). Students will write down keywords as a small group. Later, each student comes up with the academic/social/personal goals for the next semester and write actionable steps they are going to take to fulfill their goals.


Create Your Motto as a Future Reminder Partners: University of the Arts (UArts), English as a Second Language Institute (ESLI), Writing Studio Participants: Nicole Dupree, instructor; High-Intermediate/ Advanced ESLI Writing Studio students Timeline: 80 minutes Location: UArts, Philadelphia

A design tool for creating a future reminder: How can students recognize their strengths and motivate themselves to their challenges? How can we help them see themselves with a different mindset?


How it was used The tool was used as described above with four male international students. When students talked about the super powers they saw in other students, they picked up the LEGO character representing their classmate’s future self and talked directly to it. This brief conversation helped them to articulate the special quality they saw in their friend, or the thing they thought they would benefit most from. Students were very supportive of one another. They concluded with a super power.

The Outcome “This tool was used in the last class of the semester just before

final presentations. It was a great activity to bring closure to the semester. Here is some of the feedback from the students: 1. This project helped me with my future to think more honest to myself and not to be regretted. 2. I think that this project makes me more confident and independent to face the challenges in the future. I will keep on trying. 3. It is great and inspirational. Seeing my challenges through other people’s eyes was interesting. “

--- By Nicole Dupree, instructor. 17

THE ROADMAP IN SCALE Moving Forward: a Sustainable System What raises the scale from act vs. idea to action vs. plan will depend on our learning in the loop to iterate a prototype for its sustainability. A sustainable learning process can serve user’s needs over time and gradually form a habit/goal. Eventually, it would achieve the scale of behavior and mindset changes in an individual or organization. What would be the key forces for a learning process to be continued and scalable? That could be suggested by the result of the next iteration on prototype testing in the next step.

There is always a question being asked in the design research process: how much time is enough time for discovery and ideation till launching a product? The development of a robust structure of navigating in both micro and macro scales, like this model, might create a way for balancing both ex/in-ternal sides of work. Furthermore, evaluation of whether the knowledge gained in the process informs the next-step actions. 18


OUTCOME& REFLECTION Learning by Doing This model has been built along with the education, commercial strategy, and community engagement cases I worked on. Learning and inspiration from how crucial a rapid prototype could be in the design process helped me re-shape my understanding of design. It is a parallel learning process for me when the outcome of implementation has been synthesized with my reflection on the design process. Putting an idea into action is never an automatic process. There are methods and tools that would potentially guide users through learning and collaboration more easily. 20

Creating a user journey map with a startup in a workshop. 21

Testing THE BRIDGING Toolkit with DSI first-year students in the end of semester: Students map out their challenge timeline over the semester and gain trouble-shooting-suggestions from the others. 22

Some measurable outcomes The measurable outcome from this project will be represented in “My Journey Maps,” a tool that has been fully documented and implemented in the ESLI program at UArts. This is the result from co-design with educators when they saw the value of how a boundary object is able to bridge students’ ideas and actions together. Later the “From Ideas to Acts Roadmap” model had been visualized and tested with a Philadelphia local startup --- a commercial video firm: Spirit Animal Collective. The model is currently guiding their business to the development of a first actionable prototype. We started with the customer journey map and landed in co-designing a rapid prototype. They found the opportunity of reframing storytelling in their current business to a potential brand design service.


As a designer focuses on making social impact, I am looking forward to introducing and implementing this learning model with a change-making function at both individual to organizational levels in future projects. Min Wen Yeh

Leading Ideas to Acts  

Post-graduate Fellowship Project Documentation by Min Wen Yeh, Fall 2014. DSI Post-graduate Fellow Min Wen Yeh spent the last several month...