Our First Sprint

We are industry people, not educators. We don't really understand the world of education. But we do understand how to innovate. And how to learn.

The agile culture continually challenges us to something audacious. Fast. Six weeks was our Timebox. The launch of Tech for Tomorrow was the Audacious Aspiration. Now we just had to figure out what Tech Tomorrow was and how to put together a team to launch it.

I organized a group of industry professionals and teachers who I knew into a meeting. What could we pull off in six weeks that would give the seniors, at the very least, a taste of the opportunities to be found in this new creative economy?

We quickly recognized that most of these students had never seen our passion. What excites us? Why it is that we are not just working for a paycheck, but, for most of us, something much more. We realized that, to begin with, we needed to tell our stories so that they could see and feel our passion.

Over the next six weeks, we mapped out a series of lunchtime presentations by passionate makers and creators from a wide variety of companies.

To promote these lunchtime talks, we would partner with the students. We were, after all, organizing this program because they asked for it. My daughter stepped up to lead this effort.

The school administrators told us, based on their past experience, we might have, at best, 20 or so student show up. So we booked their largest classroom that could fit 30 and hoped for the best.

The days ticked by. But I saw no evidence of any communication at the high school. No signs, no mentions in any publications or calendars, nothing. We had committed an amazing group of professionals to pull off this series of talks and I began to worry that no one would show up.

The night before our first talk, my daughter came up to me and said, "Dad, I think we have a problem". I turned to her and said with no small amount of irritation, "I know, I am really worried that no one will show up." "No", she said, "that's not the problem, that room isn't going to be big enough".

I explained to her that we had booked the largest classroom in the entire school. The only other room that was bigger was the auditorium. "Well", she said, "you are going to have to talk to the principal in the morning to see if you can book that."