What is fuse16?

Fuse is a unique design thinking experience, hosted and facilitated by the Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation (MVIFI). In June 2016, for the fifth year of the event, fuse16 provided educators and folks from other industries an opportunity to learn design thinking by doing design thinking!

At fuse16, we partnered with four Atlanta nonprofits connected through Plywood People - Love Beyond Walls, Paint Love, Wilderness Works, and Refuge Coffee. After organizing the fuse16 participants into four "bases," the Flight Crew (coaches) from Mount Vernon Presbyterian School and the Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation guided these four powerful teams of design thinkers and doers on a mission to make a difference with our nonprofit partners while learning DEEP design thinking methods.

Our nonprofit partners left fuse16 with viable prototypes for opportunities ahead of them, and our design-thinking participant learners left with strong experimentation about how to spread such community-connected work to their schools and organizations.

We believe that this model of authentic collaboration and learning by doing not only can change school, but can also change the world.

The goals for fuse16

Make an impact in an issue alongside several Atlanta nonprofits
Learn design thinking as a practitioner, rather than in a “classroom” setting
Model the possibilities and opportunities for doing school differently

How was fuse16 structured?

We are design thinkers; we listen to and incorporate feedback from our users to create a better and more enriching experience each year. For fuse16, we incorporated feedback from our past attendees to run fuse16 as a set of modules that allowed participants to tailor the event to meet their needs. The three modules we offered were: a Design Thinking 101 Lab (pink), the fuse16 core experience (green) and a DEEPr series (orange) that helped folks more intentionally infuse design thinking into their organizations when they returned from fuse16.


LAB: Design Thinking 101

Wednesday, June 15, 9:00a - 1:00p
(Check-in at 8:30a)

MVIFI and MVPS team members ran an optional workshop focused on introduction to DEEP design thinking. For those new to the concepts and tenets of designing thinking, this morning module generated shared understanding for fusers to more easily on-board for the fuse16 core experience. For fuse16, people could register for this lab separately (for a great half-day of professional learning) or include it as a warm-up/complement to any other fuse16 module/ticket.


fuse16 Core Experience

Wednesday, June 15, 5:30p - Friday, June 17, 12:45p
(Check-in at 5:30p)

The core experience of fuse16 immersed participants in complex, people-centered problem solving by using design thinking in service of Atlanta nonprofits. Participants discovered, empathized, experimented, and produced solutions for local users. MVIFI believes deeply that transforming education requires a blurring of the lines between school and real-life. Fuse16 was an expression of that mission made visible. Registrants could register for this core experience separately or complement it with any other fuse16 module/ticket.



Friday, June 17, 1:00p - 4:00p
(Check-in at 12:30p)

Attendees looked DEEPr at infusing design thinking into their schools and organizations. These optional afternoon workshops from 1:00p-4:00p included sessions for organizational leaders, faculty, staff and students. Attendees could register for this lab separately or complement it with any other fuse16 module/ticket.


The Whole Shebang

Wednesday, June 15, 9:00a - Friday, June 17, 4:00p
(Check-in June 15, 8:30a)

The full experience of fuse16 provided the following: 1) a solid primer in DEEP design thinking, 2) an immersive core experience applying DEEPdt to a real challenge or opportunity faced by Atlanta nonprofits, and 3) a set of workshops and consultations for taking design thinking back to one's workplace. Registering for this option gave people access to the entire event from start to finish.


What did People Take Home with Them?

Creative Confidence

This was just a beginning. Design thinking is both a process and a way of being - by experiencing fuse16, participants not only increased their own creative confidence, but they learned also be a better teammate, leader and teacher. Designers developed a greater sense of empathy, a deeper understanding of how to make thinking visible and a newfound ability to turn problems into opportunities. Fuse inspires and equips people to bring all that they've learned back to their schools and organizations to build a design thinking culture among their co-workers, peers and students.