Stanford University’s d.school

Innovation leads, Lorraine Sarayeldin and Hannah Lewis, were given the opportunity to be students at Stanford University’s d.school – the ultimate hub for innovation, collaboration and creativity. Over four jam-packed days, Lorraine and Hannah worked in teams of four to help General Motors come up with innovative solutions around the future of mobility for millennials. 

The Innovation team at Lendlease has been applying their learnings from d.school in the innovation space. Their approach to innovation has shifted to a customer-led one to ensure they are creating new products and solutions for customers. They are using various tools to develop rapid prototyping processes to ensure they test concepts before taking them to market, warranting they meet customer needs. 

“We are also using the skills and training to improve the way we work internally,” Hannah said. 

“We are using the tools on projects focused on the business’s key strategic areas such as affordable housing.”

Read more about Hannah and Lorraine’s experience, day-by-day, below. 

DAY ONE

The group were given an outline of what the four days would encompass and were put into their teams of four. Their day one challenge was to reimagine the wallet. 

DAY TWO

The teams were dropped in the middle of downtown San Francisco at Pier 27 and given the challenge to reimagine next generation consumer luxury transportation for Cadillac. They were to explore enhancement of all aspects of millennial and gen X lives including technology, mobility, productivity and connectivity. The day consisted of talking to real users and customers.

“We asked them open ended questions in our quest to uncover stories and insights that would help us create solutions that General Motors could provide to their customers,” Hannah said. 

From there, within their teams, Lorraine and Hannah worked on customer journey mapping and persona development. In doing so, they could really empathise with the users – the key step in creating life changing and disruptive solutions.

DAY THREE

“We then rapidly developed prototypes using very lo-fi materials in a quick, cheap way,” Hannah said.  

The groups were again bussed out of campus to then test these prototypes with real customers – the millennials in downtown Palo Alto.

“It was a strong reminder that customer feedback should be sought as early as possible,” Lorraine said. 

“With the assistance of a prototype, we tested our assumptions, analysed the results and refined our idea.”

DAY FOUR

The final day saw the teams doing more iterating and refining of their solution based on customer feedback. They then presented their solutions to the class and senior executives from General Motors.

“We also had a surprise activity where we lead a group of students through a 90 minute ideate, prototype and test session – putting what we had learnt over the past few days into practice,” Lorraine said. 

This was following the school’s theory that the best way to learn is to see a demonstration, do it yourself and then teach others.

“It was an amazing, informative few days where we were pushed well outside of our comfort zone but we left with a lot more expertise on human-centred design and how to rapid prototype,” Lorraine said.

“We also met some incredible people from some of the world’s most innovative organisations including General Electric, GoPro and LinkedIn.

“Since the training, professors are now coming to Barangaroo to give our senior executives a crash course in Design Thinking.” 
 
Stanford University’s d.school