Event Recaps

Obama for America’s Former CTO Michael Slaby visits the Design Studio@Columbia Entrepreneurship

It isn’t often that you get to sit in a room and hear someone tell a great story about storytelling. But that’s exactly what happened a few weeks ago in the Design Studio when Michael Slaby, the former Chief Technology Officer for Obama for America, kicked off the Storytelling Sprint.

Slaby, currently Head of Mission at Timshel, an impact-oriented technology startup, described how it is critical to weave a great narrative into the heart of any movement, mission, or venture. He began by linking Obama’s change narrative to his first successful presidential campaign.

“Your story is the heart and SOUL of your venture,” said Slaby, “internally it keeps your team focused on the task by crystallizing the culture and guiding decision making across the organization.  Externally, an authentic, well-articulated, and compelling narrative will inspire others to join the mission .” You can see Mike’s personal story in his Ted Talk here.

Designer-in-Residence Adam Royalty

Sprints at the Design Studio are usually highly participatory, and the Storytelling Sprint was no different. Participants, including finalists from the Columbia Venture Competition, designed their own story arc. With the support of Adam Royalty, Designer-in-Residence, teams worked on telling the story of their venture or idea by focusing on the people they were designing for.  This approach not only embodies the human-centered principles of the design process, but also helps ground a founder in his or her roots while making the story more approachable and compelling to listeners.

The Storytelling Sprint was one of many design sprints, 2-3 hour-long experiential trainings, run by the Design Studio@Columbia Entrepreneurship this spring semester. Previous sprints focused on empathy building, prototyping and testing solutions to problems, and the design process from start to finish. Are you interested in joining our next Design Sprint?

For more information visit here  or write us at designstudio@columbia.edu.

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