Got Drought? Design Thinking Bootcamp Offers A Method To Quench The Problem.

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Bay area residents work with the Field Innovation Team, local businesses, and the California Lieutenant Governor during two events that explore issues of the drought and design solutions that alleviate the challenges.

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California's twenty-first century drought challenge demands a twenty-first century solution

Out the of the planet’s 2% fresh water supply, California’s portion is shrinking fast. The complexities of the drought are numerous, affecting everyone and everything, and the stakes are high.

With the drought at the forefront of people’s thoughts, the Field Innovation Team (FIT), the California Lieutenant Governor’s Office, and a crew of problem-solving designers are joining forces and diving in to address the issue during the Design Thinking Bootcamp.

The Design Thinking Bootcamp is a one-day workshop on Thursday, June 25 from 8:30 to 5:30 at the LogMeIn building, downtown San Francisco. Participants will learn how to apply design thinking skills to business problems and the current drought challenge in California. Participants will also have the opportunity to meet Gavin Newsom, Lieutenant Governor of California.

“California's twenty-first century drought challenge demands a twenty-first century solution, and the world's home of innovation is home to an abundance of imagination," said Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. “That is why I am excited to work with the Field Innovation Team and their creative problem-solvers on drought solutions that will be innovative, interactive, practical, and above all, prototypical California.”

This drought provides a challenging puzzle with environmental, political, and socio-economical pieces. Given the need to understand many sides of a nuanced large-scale issue where all perspectives are valid and need to be heard, building empathy to appreciate all sides of the debate is necessary. FIT will lead attendees through its highly interactive 3-step design process. Reactions to the drought crisis will be explained through the perspectives of personas – storytellers who embody a fictitious character based in reality.

Teams will work together and use templates to deconstruct the problem into manageable pieces. The goal is to arrive at new or hybrid drought solutions. Helping guide the teams are volunteer expert designers from Spring Studio, a San Francisco based design firm. “We use Design Thinking everyday to effectively meet customer needs in the finance industry and beyond. It is a thrill for us to share these powerful collaborative tools and processes to address an issue that affects us, our families, and the community we cherish,” said Mary Wharmby, Spring Studio’s UX Design Director.

Technology tools, including Rescue Lens by LogMeIn, will be integrated during the day. “All sectors in the community need to design pathways for resolution to the water crisis. It is important for the current challenges faced as well as preparation for future crises,” said Desi Matel-Anderson, Chief Wrangler at FIT.

This workshop is part of twin events celebrating how design can help people look at water as a commodity, and not an unlimited resource. The sister event is being held the night before on Wednesday, June 24, at Spring Studio, who hosts FIT and the Interactive Design Association (IxDA). IxDA is a non-profit dedicated to improving the human condition by advancing the discipline of Interaction Design, and has more than 70,000 members globally. Designers will hear from DaVita Village Emergency Response Team (DaVERT), of DaVita Healthcare Partners, who will showcase their efforts at mitigating water use for renal dialysis patients. “Water is a critical component of the thrice-weekly treatments dialysis patients need to sustain life,” said Shaun Collard, Vice President and Executive Director of DaVERT. “We recognize that severe drought conditions exist, and we are constantly exploring water-conservation efforts. In fact, in the past five years DaVita has reduced water-related processes in its dialysis centers across the country by as much as 30 percent.”

FIT is a nonprofit that empowers humans to create cutting-edge disaster solutions. Matel-Anderson worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to design its think tank. Design Thinking Bootcamp is a part of FIT’s Disaster Do Tank series, which are community-based disaster risk reduction events aimed at fostering resilient communities.

More information and tickets for the Design Thinking Bootcamp can be purchased on-line here ( More about the Design Workshop can be located here:

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Tamara Palmer
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