This Capital One program challenged high schoolers to use design thinking to solve a sticky problem - Technical.ly Delaware

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May 4, 2017 12:40 pm

This Capital One program challenged high schoolers to use design thinking to solve a sticky problem

The prompt: How might law enforcement officers change negative perceptions about themselves?

Capital One and Communities in Schools brought together 65 Delaware high school students for an interactive day of learning.

(Courtesy photo)

Executives from Capital One teamed up with Communities in Schools for an event called Random Hacks of Kindness on Tuesday.

Communities in Schools is a nonprofit organization that aims to surrounds students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.

More than 60 students from four local high schools participated in the student hackathon, as part of Capital One’s Future Edge Initiative. The goal of theĀ five-year, $150 million effort is to prepare Americans for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

“Capital One is invested in the community. We focus a lot on financial literacy and workforce development,” Capital One Delaware Market President Joe Westcott said. “The purpose of today was to prepare kids for the jobs of tomorrow.”

Students spent the day getting a crash course in design thinking, a methodology Westcott said the Capital One team uses when developing any new products or features. The process requires users to empathize and define the problem before acting on it.

“Before we start new projects, we conduct empathy interview with a group of consumers,” Wetscott said. “We find out what they value and what the customers’ needs are, and design from there.”

During the hackathon, students were separated into groups and given the task to provide a solution for the problem: “How might law enforcement officers change negative perceptions about themselves?” The groups brainstormed ideas and created a prototype, which they presented to a panel of judges, who scored the concepts based on creativity, ease of execution and feasibility.

The ideas ranged from community days and mentor programs for city youth and police officers to an app that allowed residents to rate their experiences with law enforcement and featured personal profiles of each officer.

A constant theme among the presentations was making the police more approachable and more human.

“Just because a person is in a cop uniform, doesn’t mean they are a bad cop,” hackathon participant Jazmyn Mayo said when asked what she would take away from the event.

Howard High School of Technology student Briana Varady said the exercise helped her realize the importance of teamwork.

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“I am usually shy, but I enjoyed having amazing people to work with,” said the 16-year-old. “Today made me learn about teamwork. In order to be successful, you need other perspectives.”

Wilmington Mayor Michael Purzycki, who served as one of the judges, enjoyed hearing the kids’ ideas and solutions.

“The best part of my job is to be around young people and see the insight they bring,” he said. “I feel really good about the future with all of you involved.”

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