Certain students exemplify the wisdom that what we get out of experiences is what we put in. Ivan engaged in DSI to the fullest. His curiosity, and his desire to make the most of his time with us drove him to take advantage of every opportunity for elective classes and workshops, conversations with speakers, engagement with faculty and internships. For Ivan, it has paid off handsomely.
He’s now back in his home country of Brazil, working at the management and innovation consultancy EloGroup. He was hired to “bring a different perspective on problem solving, as the organization is gearing towards a more human centered way of working on public issues.”
In his new job, Ivan has worked on projects in different fields using different approaches, such as agenda setting for education reform and behavior design for community gardens. He says, “I am working in the way I intended – mixing a design mindset with a more analytical one, as I believe that complex problems need both ways of thinking. Otherwise it will be biased and weak.”
As for what he learned at DSI that has prepared him for his job, he tells us that “A big aspect of my work is designing educational experiences for public servants. The experience I gained working on my thesis, and learning communication design and game design have been instrumental in helping change the way we learn in government.”
“Overall, I’ve incorporated lots of reflections, references and examples that people have never heard of in the work I’ve been doing – and being recognized for it.”
Ivan’s habits of getting the max from his life have not deserted him. In his spare time, he is co-coordinator of a Social Innovation workshop that happens in multiple cities across Brazil.
Drawn to DSI in part because the faculty is composed of working professionals, Ivan felt this would make his learning less academic and more grounded in reality. He also liked the fact that evening classes would accommodate his desire to secure internships. He describes the DSI program as “an intense two year experience that remodels your thinking and gives you the approaches and tools to change the world through empathy and experimentation. The environment is friendly and highly collaborative. Plenty of learning happened during dinner and breaks, as we shared so much and learned so much from each other.”
“It is very intense, as the learning experience is project based — with complex topics. And as we get better in what we do, we get inspired by others and want to go further, and the whole class becomes a virtuous circle of learning and progress.”
For his thesis at DSI, Ivan took on the challenge of bullying. He thinks, “Bullying and our system-wide failure in teaching kids to get in touch with their emotions is a big deal, and I wanted to do something about it.” Have a look at what he did here.
Not surprisingly, Ivan’s advice to people thinking about applying to the DSI program is the simple wisdom that made him so successful here: “The more you bring to DSI, the more you’ll get.”