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  • Writer's pictureBaker Institute Team

In Their Own Words: Alea Oakman '20

Updated: Sep 9, 2019

Alea Oakman is a design thinking rockstar. After completing the Hatchery in the summer of 2018, she took on a design thinking independent study with the Baker Institute. Her final project was a children's book, Margie and Mrs. Huntsman Pull the Weeds, and she has since demonstrated design thinking at Creativate, as well as multiple other venues.

In April, she spoke at the Innovate, Celebrate Awards Dinner. Below is what she had to say:

credit: Ryan Hulvat

"I love the sheer simplicity of the process. As I learned to use the 5 steps: empathy, define, ideate, prototype, test, I started to think about how I could teach it to children. So I wrote and illustrated a children's book: Margie wants to help her elderly neighbor pull weeds so she makes her a garden tool. Margie is sad to realize that the tool doesn’t really work for her neighbor. So, as all good storybooks go, she learns what she needs to do, step by step, with the help of others, to accomplish her goal.

She learns what her neighbor’s needs really are not what she thinks they are - empathy

She figures out which needs she can do something about - define

She imagines both ordinary and magical ways to solve the problem - ideate

She builds a new tool - prototype

She watches her neighbor try it and sees it partially works - test

She goes back to step one to apply what she just learned to a new version of the tool - repeat

By the end of the story, Margie is excited and empowered. She really helped her neighbor by creating an innovative solution that really solved the problem she was having. This empowered her to see that by looking at the world this way she can create solutions to any problem she faces. I’m Alea and I’m an entrepreneur."

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