MDES 12 – KissKissBankBank, Post-it Parties, and Make Paris Great Again

MDES-12-05

After our inspiring weekend in Amsterdam, reality hits us hard back in Paris: thesis proposals are due at the end of this week. Well, some of us shall see the library for the very first time from the inside, we keep going, throwing great post-it parties for our social entrepreneurs and Vaila turns to me with a twitching eye: “help me, loving Paris again”. Her words should be heard and SMarti invites us all for a wonderful thanksgiving with amazing vegan food, delicious chai and well, it’s SMarti’s party: dad jokes.

Thanksgiving at SMarti’s place

It’s Monday and we are all busy writing abstracts, literature reviews and research methods for our thesis proposals. However we are all following different strategies, from pages long thought dumping, desperately diverging, or heavy structuring, we all share the creative chaos. Explaining the thesis project in French class, well in French, to my fellow classmates leaves them with a rather confused face expression, which does not make me any more confident.

Tuesday is a whole day at MakeSense, yeah! Which literally is a whole day from 10am to 10:30pm. Starting off with leadership class we summarize what we learned from the MakeSense community programs so far, since each of us were in charge of one of the three tracks: people, ecosystem and tools and innovation. Amy’s and Vaila’s cherry from the people track was the video from Pauline about community development:
Dessert. This means you find little engagement in your communuty. So it is about defining a desire and identity.
Oasis. Here it is all about beginning a trend and building trust in a leading person vs. online.
Little forest. Leading a small closed group means being a good facilitator.
Rain forest. At this stage the community is larger and self-sustaining.

During lunch time we get to mingle with the MakeSense people which feels very good, since even though this community is open and welcoming, it can be quite hard to figure out where your place is. This problem seems way lighter after a good chat over a cup of coffee. It’s design thinking time and Alistair and Khadija join us and we’re heavily into event management planning.

This team unites an amazing skill set to get these projects done: planning, imaginary, troubleshooting, connecting, organising, socializing, solution oriented, and foolish minds. WHAT ART CAN DO is rolling and we have great speakers like Jeanne Granger, founder of La Reserve des Arts; Dan Dorell, architect and one of three finalists for Tokyo 2020, and Bryan McCormack, artist engaged for refugees and unheard minorities: his work was displayed at the Centre Pompidou.

Rica and I went to meet Sophie from Kisskissbankbank, a crowd funding bank, who will host us for the event now at the 14th of December. This is the kick off event for a whole series of WACD events. We are jazzed!
Vaila’s social entrepreneur Clothparency is the star of the night and we get all brainjuices flowing at a Hold Up to find a tool that engages people for more conscious decisions when it comes to buy clothes. Participants come up with fashionista moodrings that change color according to the sustainability level of a piece or a browser plugin shopping buddy. A lot of ideas! Normally here is our job done and the social entrepreneurs are in charge of testing and implementing these ideas. This time for social entrepreneurship class we need to get hands dirty ourselves and build a prototype of a salution. What will it be for Clothparency? We’ll find out next week.

Prototype the prototype – videoprototyping

Post-it fun continues on Wednesday for mytroc.fr facilitated by Rica and Hanna. Mytroc is a barter online platform with a complementary currency – noisettes – which aims towards a more fair, sustainable and responsible economy. They already have 10,000 members and want to expand their reach of another 10,000 university students. So this is our challenge for the night! Participants get to test a new prototyping tool: videoprototyping and a-day-in-life canvas. Turns out: less is more and next time we go either for video or canvas. However they produced three fantastic videos focusing on different topics like networking, socialising and bartering university supplies. Un grand merci to all participants! Let’s see how our prototype can take up the fight against the bank system ;)

The research and writing lab session with Karen is incredibly helpful for my thesis. Reminding me that design is so powerful, also because it embraces both fields of research heavily: theory and application. I can get lost in design theoretical discourse about speculative design, participatory imagination and so on, but also spending hours and days in draft lab crafting my applied project of worm bins. Anyway, I love what I’m doing!

Thanksgiving! SMarti and Carlos invite us to a wonderful thanksgiving – the first in my life – with an amazing vegan dinner, handmade paper turkey hands containing hilarious dad jokes, which I either don’t get and make my eyes naturally roll up towards the ceiling. I can’t help it, but SMarti enjoys herself very much with thanking, “peck-niks” and all sorts of thanksgiving themed punchlines :) We spend a great cozy evening and feel the magic over a native American prayer how a bunch of people can form a family. Thank you.

So Vaila back to you: loving Paris. I love comparing a baguette to the Eiffel Tower. I love the hidden bar in that Mexican restaurant. I love that you come in the morning mourning about the streets of Paris because someone got sick on your shoe. I love Amy’s ongoing leboncoin bike deals. I love French customer service. I love the roofs over Paris. I love the “excusez-moi, madame”s and the “monsieur, s’il vous plait”s. I love 1€ espresso at the bar. I love the concerts in front of Centre Pompidou. I love croissants aux amandes, I love And you?