Category Archives: DPSI Wrap-up 2013

Reflections on the 2013-2014 Pilot

In the past couple months we (the DPSI team) have been reflecting on what we learned from the experience of piloting the Harvard Digital Problem-Solving Initiative, together with the insights and inputs of the participants who helped mold the venture and friends who helped nurture and guide it.

We’ve been buoyed by promising findings gathered through earnest reflection and feedback. There’s a strong sense of shared purpose among participants and an affirmation of the value of learning-by-doing. Teams’ outputs are doing real “work” out in the field and in the world.

On the whole, the results are encouraging. The process of channeling all this learning into the design of DPSI 2.0 is already underway.

Rather than hurdle down that path, however, it’s helpful to take a moment to meditate on what’s past.

“DPSI in 90 Seconds” offers a flavor of the experimentation, collaboration, and types of engagement that were central to the pilot. Collectively, the five use case teams brainstormed, iterated, and dove headfirst into multifaceted inquiries. They faced challenges and enjoyed successes. Between the initial guiding questions and the teams’ journeys over the course of a year, DPSI-ers studied innovation and “creation spaces,” both the world over and close to home (at Harvard’s iLab), plumbed datasets and privacy law with HarvardX, got the scoop from undergrads about how they do—or don’t—want to interact with Harvard on social media, encouraged HILT to explore new modes of practice, and flexed their curation and design skills in partnership with theHarvard Art Museums.

In addition to the video above, we’ve produced other works over the course of the year that help tell the pilot’s story. The videos explain the missions of DPSI broadly and the teams specifically, and also illustrate the ways in which participants connected to the experience, the subject matter, and to one another on a personal level. We’ve highlighted a few of them here:

  • For an overview of the pilot, including some of the students, faculty and team projects involved, watch the video below.
  • Recent HLS alum Elise Young, gives her mid-year impression on the progress of the ‘big data’ project and what her group hopes to do for the rest of the year.
  • Nieman-Berkman Fellow and BBC journalist Hasit Shah discusses designing a new digital news service with the DPSI team members, who helped guide a product for people coming online for the first time.
  • Dean of Harvard Law School, Martha Minow, encouraged DPSI teams at the Mid-year Workshop by highlighting how Harvard was already being changed for the better by the DPSI projects.
  • Mentor Matthew Battles gave a brief overview of the Lightbox Gallery team’smidyear progress, and shares what is involved in the team projects.
  • Throughout the program, ‘lightning’ talks bring expert practitioners from across the Harvard community to talk to DPSI team members and inspire new ways of thinking. For example, founder of The Experiment Fund Hugo Van Vuuren gave a talk on the ‘interoperability of physical spaces’ to remind us to find common time despite our digital life.

What’s Next?

Please check back soon here to see how you can become involved in DPSI 2014-2015. We encourage students, faculty, and staff to reach out to us about any and all questions concerning DPSI. We look forward to more participation and even broader collaboration in DPSI 2.0 as together we cultivate digital competencies, foster collaboration across layers and schools within Harvard, and challenge the way we think about problem-solving.

-Nathaniel Levy