By Suzette Sandoval, email@example.com
I walked into LinkedIn excited to complete my first Hackathon. After I checked-in and sat at my designated table, I glanced over and recognized one familiar face. I quickly realized I would be critically thinking with a team of strangers for the next 8 hours.
LinkedIn gave us a real workplace challenge we had to solve, so we brainstormed, prototyped, and refined a solution for them. We had to build a team dynamic that was willing to take chances and had positive expectations. We had to build trust. Building trust would encourage risk-taking, enhance productivity, and facilitate information sharing.
Because we built trust, we were able to strategize and blurt out crazy ideas. A team member could express an opinion and we would branch off that idea and the previous idea, until we created the perfect prototype. Though uncomfortable at first, this experience taught me the characteristics that lead to trust.
The prototype we created, UniquedIn, is an added feature on LinkedIn that would allow users to upload video or audio to express themselves on their profile. This feature would create a personal connection to both the user and employer. After going through all 6 steps of design thinking: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test, and refine, my team presented in front of a panel of judges. After the judges deliberated, the winners were announced. Out of 9 teams, our team tied for 1st place!
The simulated workplace experience and added sense of urgency from the time constraint were astonishing. The experience also presented a career path that I did not now was available. Since the Hackathon, I have researched Product Design careers and have become fascinated with the development and process of design. Design thinking amazes me. It is a skill that will allow my team and me to succeed in the workplace.