THE FUTURE OF LEARNING
Episode 3: Kylie burrett
THE FUTURE OF LEARNING
Episode 3: Kylie Burrett
design that makes a difference
WITH KYLIE BURRETT
In a rapidly changing world facing exponential change and challenge, the next gen will need a reliable toolbox of skills and mindsets that will help them deliver ground breaking solutions. In this episode, Kylie Burrett shares how equipping youth with design skills today will enable them to build a better tomorrow for us all.
Kylie Burrett (Lawrence) is a dynamic educator and award-winning designer who aims to help teachers and students fulfill their creative potential for success in STEM.
With qualifications in Film & TV Production, Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Health Science, and a Masters in Education (Information Science) Kylie has over 20 years of experience working in education and media, and has worked at and consulted for ABC TV, alongside teaching in both International Baccalaureate and Reggio Emilia schools.
Kylie’s love of early education and media has seen her work with some of the world’s most creative minds in children’s entertainment, including the Academy Award-winning team behind Weta Workshop (NZ) and Keith Chapman Entertainment (UK). For the past 7 years she has been collaborating with industry and schools to resource and develop innovative STEAM programs.
As co-creator of the Splat ® – Engineers Australia sponsored 3D design tool – Kylie’s creative out-of-the-box thinking is helping students develop their design and spatial skills for improved STEM outcomes. Her exceptional capacity for innovation and developing tools, that support diversity in design, has seen her ideas adopted by STEM programs throughout Australia and overseas. For more on Splat 3D, visit https://splat3d.com and connect with Kylie over on Instagram and Facebook using the handle @splat3d
“There's 100 different ways of expressing ourselves. And when we limit that we really do miss the gold.”
~ Kylie Burrett
Mariane Power 0:00
Welcome to Classroom 5.0, a podcast that uncovers industry insights, cutting edge research and practical evidence-based strategies that help us all to imagine and design learning environments and pathways for this ever-evolving world so that together, we can best support the next gen to uncover and deliver their unique potential. This episode has been recorded from our hometown of Port Macquarie, which we’re grateful to share and enjoy alongside the traditional owners of Birapi country, whose ongoing cultures and connections to land and waters we celebrate, and whose elders past, present and emerging we pay our respect to. I’m Mariane Power, co founder of the Posify group and your host for today’s episode, and I’m thrilled to be joined by Kylie Barrett who is one half of the Splat3D team. Glenn Lawrence couldn’t be here today because he’s working in industry. But we’re so thrilled to be joined by Kylie. Splat3D is a company whose mission it is to empower educators to teach creativity and the engineering design process – K to 12 – with ease and confidence so that together all teachers and students are equipped with knowledge and skills to design a better future. Their focus is to create innovative tools and training programmes for teachers and students to support their development for design skills and visual spatial ability required for success across all STEM fields. Hundreds of teachers and 1000s of students have benefited from their products and programmes, and the Splat tool has even won a prestigious Gold Design Award and featured as one of Australia’s top innovations for 2019 on Channel 10’s Australia by Design Innovations TV show, that’s a huge accomplishment. Having worked collaboratively with Engineers Australia, Regional Development Australia, New South Wales Department of Education, STEM and schools’ partnership programme, and Google education, I know they’re gonna have a lot to share on all things design and the future of learning and education. In fact, oh, Kylie, I think our biggest problem today is going to be how we’re going to fit all of this into our very short podcast episode. But we’re going to give it a go welcome, Kylie. Thanks for being here.
Kylie Barrett 2:03
Hi, it’s fantastic to be here. And to join you in this discussion. I’m really excited about diving into some of these questions today.
Mariane Power 2:11
Oh, likewise, and you’ll be pleased to hear I even put my Post It Notes because we’re gonna be talking all things design, Kylie, you and I first met at Clubhouse, and I was so inspired by your story of how you’ve moved into where you are now with Splat 3D and become an edupreneur. But for some of our listeners today who might not be so familiar with what an edupreneur is, could we start there? And then would you mind sharing a little bit about your story?
Kylie Barrett 2:33
Okay, thank you, well, an edupreneur is very similar to being a teacher. And it doesn’t matter what you’re teaching, but instead of actually being paid for those services by an organisation or a school, you’re looking at actually creating your own products, systems, and processes in which you can then drive an economic benefit from. So basically, inventing, designing, sharing, consulting, anything around that education space. And predominantly, it’s because as edupreneurs, we’re driven by wanting to see change more than we are driven by wanting to see dollars in our bank accounts.
Mariane Power 3:12
That’s a big distinction, isn’t it? So, it sounds like with edupreneur, you’re really solving a problem, that’s first and foremost, and doing things in a very innovative way, as well. And tell me how did you come into this space? What’s your background?
Kylie Barrett 3:25
So, I have actually worked with many edupreneurs and entrepreneurs over my time. So, my background is not a traditional pathway into education. I actually started at university in a psychology science degree. That actually led me into television, believe it or not –
Mariane Power 3:43
I did not know that. See I learn something about you every time we catch up!
Kylie Barrett 3:48
Yeah! And I worked in education for the ABC in Sydney for many years. And then I transitioned out of that to work on a massive event called the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Yeah, oh my gosh, just seeing the Olympics at the moment has brought back a lot of memories. And so, I was part of a very small development team that worked for the managing director of Westpac during that year of the Olympics, and being part of industry really shaped my outlook before jumping into education. So, it was literally my experience at Westpac that led me to my education degree. And it wasn’t because I had this deep desire to be a teacher. It was literally because I was advised as a high potential person at the bank, that the education degree was the best pathway forward with my skill set. And so, I took a blind leap of faith and I studied education and so I’m a real mix of education and industry.
Mariane Power 4:50
That is incredible. And no wonder you’re bringing such amazing solutions to the table. I think now more than ever, we really need to be closing that gap between education and industry. So, to have your experience and your background in forming what you do, is really beautiful example of what we call Wayfinding. With your career too, you know, careers aren’t linear anymore, and you’re a perfect example. So, thanks for sharing your story. I want to move a little bit into design, because it sounds like your career is almost a design piece in itself. And we’ll get to that later. But for our listeners, again, who aren’t really familiar with the design terms, and how design is being used both in education and industry, could you give us a little design 101?
Kylie Barrett 5:31
Yeah, absolutely. So, design essentially, is the transformation of knowledge into a creative solution. So, we’re actually taking the knowledge that we have, and in response to that knowledge, we’re creating a solution. That is slightly different to representing something in art where the actual response might be an emotional response. So, in design, it’s primarily looking at the knowledge behind that decision making process and how we can apply it creatively. That doesn’t mean that there’s not design in art. And that doesn’t mean there’s not art in design. But essentially, when we even move further into, like engineering, design, and industrial design, we’re looking at the application of sciences creatively, I mean that, that knowledge, that pool of knowledge to solve a problem, so yeah, that’s probably the best 101 that I can wrap it up. There’s a lot of different design processes out there and theories. But fundamentally, it is using your knowledge in a creative way to create a product process or system.
Mariane Power 6:37
And it sounds like that key point is around the function. So, who it’s designed for, or what it’s designed for that solution aspect. Have I got it, right?
Kylie Barrett 6:45
Yeah, absolutely. So, with that knowledge, what you want to do is you want to take complexity and make it as simple as possible and intuitive for the end user. So, if you are trying to solve a problem, you want to make it as easy for the end user to engage with your solution, whatever that might be. And that’s where the power of knowledge and having transdisciplinary skill set is so important in design. Everything counts.
Mariane Power 7:13
Yeah, sounding to me, we talk a lot about the importance of communication and empathy. And we use the five-point framework for design thinking, and I know empathy is at the top there, but really understanding who it is you’re solving the problem for, or what the need is, sounds like it’s a key point as well.
Kylie Barrett 7:30
Yeah, it is a really key point. It’s also a key point to understand that there’s not just a primary user, that often there’s a secondary user. And then we need to consider that it may be that you’re not empathising with an actual person, you might be empathising, with the person and a cockroach, if you’re working on, you know, for a Mortein product, or, you know, like there’s just so many different layers to design, which is oversimplified a lot. So, it is really important to understand that the process can be broken down into different phases. And each of those have an explicit skill set, like you mentioned there, like empathy. Well, that’s a very higher order skill. How do we teach that? How is that broken down into its simplest parts? And that’s where I come into the process as an educator in the area of design.
Mariane Power 8:14
Fantastic. That’s a really good point, too, is thinking about who the multiple stakeholders are, who all your users are. And you’ve got a fantastic two-hour free introductory course on design for engineering. So, we’ll be sure to put a link to that in our show notes because I’m sure our listeners would love to jump on board. So, as you know, here at Posify, we’re also inspired by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans’ work about career by design and thinking about following closely the research coming out of Stanford D school. And the design process, we think lends itself beautifully to the big question that young people are working on as they transition from school through to life around, you know, what impact do I want to have created? To your point, who am I impacting? What more than just one person but the system that I’m impacting as well? What do I stand for? And how can I use my skills, strengths, and values? And for us, these questions are far more effective when we’re working with youth around, around their careers in the traditional kind of counselling questions like ‘what do you want to do when you leave school?’ But I’m wondering, in addition to being a critical skill for STEM and useful for say, we use a career design, are you seeing any other industries, or can you imagine in the future, where design might be really taking us forward?
Kylie Barrett 9:22
Well, I actually believe that there’s no area that isn’t touched by design, that were actually born designers. As human beings, our primary energy is a creative one. Throughout history, if we look across at the different generations and how they’ve solved problems, the most powerful solutions have always been focused on that sort of design mindset. So, for me, I don’t like to silo industries. I truly believe that it’s a process of cross pollinating and understanding the power of design in every pocket within our world. So…
Mariane Power 10:03
I think that’s such an important point for everybody to be thinking about is ‘how can we bring a multidisciplinary approach as we’re starting to move forward into our future to solve some of our greatest challenges?’ But I want to just if I could, let’s take a dance back to 2019, because there was a big conversation around at the time pre-pandemic, how automation and globalisation was changing the future of work and education and that some jobs were going to be replaced and others hadn’t yet been figured out yet. And I guess there’s been even more disruption now hasn’t there, we’ll get to there in a second. But I wonder if you can first explain where design thinking sits in this conversation. So as a skill, and I’m hearing there’s that kind of multidisciplinary, interweaving approach, but where do you see it sitting in terms of future of work that’s automated? Is it going to be relevant?
Kylie Barrett 10:48
Yeah, it’s a really great question. So, I’ll answer it in two parts. One, design thinking, the power of it is actually based in empathising and creativity. Now, those two skill sets are the hardest skill sets to automate. And we know that they drive profound economic return.
Mariane Power 11:11
Okay, tell us a little bit more about that. Because sometimes we get the criticism that all this design stuff, it’s a little bit fluffy, let’s just get to the doing. So, what’s the what’s the return all about?
Kylie Barrett 11:21
Well, bad design costs companies every year, a lot of money. And if large organisations can innovate, even their margins, something in their practice, even by one or two percent, that can change and drive a huge economic profit for that organisation. So, imagine if innovation is occurring at 6%, we’re talking very small percentages to basically create significant change for large organisations. And we’re also seeing that the ‘think local act global’ mindset of procuring stuff locally and changing the way that we’re thinking is really changing the way that we operate and have services. And I think that that is under the lens more than ever, because of the current climate, with COVID. And being able to access resources and having to, you know, stay in certain areas and not being able to travel like we, we always would, or buy something from overseas and expect that it’s going to be delivered within 48 hours, you know, there’s been a real shift there. So, all that’s happening right now, is that we’re seeing a hyper focus on an area that needs further development. And the only way we can develop that is through technology and creativity. So, I hope I’ve answered that, in my view.
Mariane Power 12:42
Oh, you so have. So many things are coming to mind. It’s really that collision, isn’t it? It’s that collision of, of human creativity, and human empathy. And all of those capabilities that we have that, like you said, are really difficult to replace, and automate, but then utilising in a really productive way, exponential technologies, so that we can, we can get really a little bit of momentum happening on these solutions. I mean, the last 12 months, 18 months in particular, it’s been outstanding, and I personally can’t wait to see some of the design solutions coming to more about you know, SDGs as well around how we’re going to look after our planet. And we could go on for days, but we won’t because we’ve only got one show for it. But yes, you’ve got my mind-blowing Kylie! Thank you. And you know, on that point, given that the pandemic has catapulted us so much faster into the future than we could have thought I’m wondering, have you and Glenn noticed any really unique design solutions that you’ve, you’ve sat at home and wondered about, I should have mentioned Glenn’s your partner, as well as be your business partner. So, I imagine you have juicy conversations.
Kylie Barrett 13:42
Oh, Glenn is always inventing something every second of the day, like he’s one of the most creative minds I’ve ever come across. And I’ve been very, very fortunate to work with some of the most creative minds in the world, I genuinely mean that. It’s one of the things actually that drew me to him. He definitely sees things in a different way, and often quite an out of the box thinker. And so, for me, yes, we have seen so many incredible designs on two different levels I’ll speak one is we ran a campaign with the New South Wales Department of Infrastructure for a competition called the Core Controller Competition. And basically, it went out to 2000 schools around New South Wales, and it asked students to partner with the Department of Infrastructure to design a new console smart device to regulate air temperature, and thermal comfort in classrooms. So, it was really extraordinary because it was a real problem that the Department of Infrastructure had, and they were running that, and it was based on SDGs. And it was absolutely fascinating to see what was coming out and what the next generation were providing. And that was such an interesting time during the pandemic and we’re using technology and the students were innovative and sending images in. And it was really phenomenal to see their, their level of creativity and design, so that from a work base level, something we’re all working on was fabulous. The other thing, I think, on a global level was the collaboration around designing the vaccines, that has just taken collaboration to the next level. I wish I could say the same around the design processes of rolling the vaccine out. And we’ll get there it’s a stretch goal.
So, a lot of discussion has actually been around the focus of the intensity and the success of the collaboration across countries with scientists like we’ve never seen before. For an outcome for greater good, that’s been phenomenal. And that is a clear application of knowledge to you know, provide a solution to a situation. The other side of it, where you see bad design is that you know, like so many of the people in our world are suffering don’t have access to that vaccine. How do we then globally support that? How do we take wealth from one area and resources from one area and create equitable distribution? So, I guess they’re some of the things that we talk about, and technology can’t be extricated from that. Technology is part of that just because I’m not talking about an app or something really cool that I’ve seen on TikTok, it doesn’t mean that the level of technology and innovation behind those practices occurring aren’t significant.
Mariane Power 16:36
BREAK: Hey there, I wanted to tell you about an exciting and innovative solution we’ve been designing to help solve this problem of how we best prepare the next gen for an ever-evolving world and future workforce that’s going to demand a whole new set of skills and mindsets in order for them to thrive. The Posify Academy is Australia’s first student-led evidence-based and curriculum aligned wellbeing and career development platform, helping young people aged 10 to 14 uncover and deliver their unique potential. It’s the first of a trilogy series that’s helping young people move seamlessly and with confidence from education and into industry, as they design a life and a career of impact. Teaching skills like communication, compassion, creativity, critical thinking, agility, curiosity, resilience, problem solving, all those human capabilities skills that we talked about here on this podcast and connecting them with a sense of purpose. To learn more, you can visit the posifygroup.com.au/posify-academy. Now, back to the show.
I really liked that you brought up that point of coming together for the design of a product to solve a real problem. But then there’s the design of the distribution and what that looks like and all uh all the differences of understanding each other’s needs and perspectives, which is actually a really nice segue. I’m glad we spoke about equity because the other thing I’ve noticed at Splat3D that you’re talking a lot about is diversity. And I’m keen to talk a little bit more about that because I noticed a very quirky post on your Instagram that was kind of flipped upside down. So, I encourage anyone to jump in and have a look at it, you might find it. But you said that diversity improves engineering design. And so, when I think of diversity, and it’s where I want to check in with you, I think of all the different types of people and their cultures, and their beliefs, and their sexuality, and their gender, and their backgrounds. And I think about their physical and their mental and even then, you’re at a vergence and and all the differences that that brings, and how important and valuable if we can get those people together in a psychologically safe way to spark creativity and innovation. Because we know diversity is is great for creativity with different perspectives. But I’m wondering, because it seems like in addition to it being the kind thing to do, it’s kind of a smart thing to do. But I might be on my own little path there. So, is it the same in engineering? What is teaching diversity for designers? Is it different, same, similar? Are we on the right track?
Kylie Barrett 18:57
Okay, so it’s really interesting what you just said, and you’re 100% correct. Think about all the differences, all the different people, all their different needs, their values, their context, a situation like we’ve just looked at, yes, great. Australia is getting the vaccine. But what about the people in Kenya? What about the people in India? They have different cultural needs, how do we access them, even just people in pockets of Australia that aren’t getting the message? So yes, you’re 100% right. But the missing point is that we’re not discussing, and the reason why I’m so passionate about creating change and teaching diversity and diverse perspectives, is because most of our modern world is based on what is known as the ‘Reference Man’. So, the ‘Reference Man’ is you know, x height, x weight, white, and our aircraft, our kitchen bench, our police wear, the suits the astronauts wear, the cars that we drive, the size of the phone that we hold in our hands, are all based on this concept of the ‘Reference Man’. Now it’s also one of the reasons why men have more accidents in vehicles, but women are more likely to be injured. Because in traditionally, everything has been engineered to the actual formula behind this ‘Reference Man’. And it’s very damaging. Not only does it have serious health consequences when we’re looking at medical devices, but it also has incredible simple every day impacts on the lives of people. So used to be that a police officer would be wearing 15 kilograms of gear, or may still be now, that’s designed on the ‘Reference Man’. How does a policewoman that’s maybe 45 kilos go, you know, with her hips? Every day? So um, I guess the thing that I’m passionate about is what you actually said is 100% true. But when they go up in the pipeline, we’ve got this ‘Reference Man’ model that we need to break, we need to shatter it. And we cannot do that if we do not inspire students on the ground to get involved and make their future look different. If you want the same, same, that’s what you’re going to get, right. So, we need people, diverse people, of colour, a background, of agenda, all joining in, and you’ll find that in furniture design, you know, look, historically, at design, every single thing in the built world is problematic for anybody that doesn’t fit the ‘Reference Man’ mould because of this, and there’s a great book called ‘Invisible Women’. I’ll have to you can put the link in (definitely), incredible read and yeah, it might just offer some insight into why I’m so passionate about diversity in design.
Mariane Power 21:47
Oh, absolutely. And I mean, as you’re talking, and I might be wrong, so please correct me. But it’s it’s that shift, isn’t it between the ‘Reference Man’, to then my brain goes, well, the ‘Reference Woman’, but then what about everything else that we’ve got as well. So that’s, that’s kind of a physical thing in one way, some of the examples that you were giving, but then I’m thinking about mobile disabilities, and I’m thinking about, you know, different brain types and different cultural expectations. So, having all these different references, I mean, I know in marketing, we talk about the ideal avatar, and from what I’m hearing from you, actually, we need multiple avatars and be designing across each of them and checking our designs and yeah, are we really inclusive in in what it is we’re putting together? It’s a real design challenge, I would imagine.
Kylie Barrett 22:28
It is, and who are you speaking to? (Yeah) Who are you speaking to? And what message are you sending? I mean, I couldn’t go – oh the stories that I would have in terms of disability and and products not being suitable. I could just go on and on for days, I mean, this is literally the tip of the iceberg and an absolute fascinating area to investigate. So yeah, it’s, it’s definitely a conversation that we all need to have.
Mariane Power 22:52
Oh, absolutely. And I think I might have shared with you, I recently got an adult diagnosis of ADHD myself, and, and it was only through a few friends pointing out and going, ‘you know, have you kind of thought of this before?’ And I was like, ‘What, stop it. I’m a psychologist, don’t you think I would have picked that up?’ And I thought, hang on a second, I’m gonna check in on myself here. And yeah, when I went back through my childhood, and was going through the screening tools, and started thinking about my own nuances, and how it shows up for me. And then I was blown away to find out that again, from a screening perspective, from an assessment perspective, from the way that we even had the criteria. We used the ‘Reference Man’ in psychology. So, no wonder there’s so many girls that aren’t being picked up in terms of these neuro-diverse profiles and getting the help that really can make such a huge difference.
Kylie Barrett 23:38
Yeah, and it’s it’s the archaic system, you know, that is in education, too. It’s this ‘Reference Man’ that we’re looking for. It’s why probably 50% of our most gifted and talented like, genius level children, are missing in the system. Because the system’s looking for the ‘Reference Man’. It’s not looking for the incredible, neurologically diverse thinking and ways of expressing and, you know, from my teaching in Reggio, you know, they really believe that there’s, you know, 100 different ways of expressing ourselves. And when we limit that we really do miss the gold.
Mariane Power 24:16
Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, one of the populations were so passionate about amplify and supporting, and to your point, because it just going unrecognised, is what we call Twice Exceptionals. And we’ve spoken about on the podcast before, but that profile of being gifted and neurodiverse, and you’re right, they’re just missing. And all of these things are key points. But I’m also aware thinking about our listeners in the audience who are thinking don’t give me something else to think about. Education is so big right now and it’s blowing my brain. Can you break it down for us? Are there some practical tips that we as parents or educators or even industry members wanting to support the next generation? How can we teach diversity in design?
Kylie Barrett 24:58
I think one of the most profound moments in the classroom, when I was teaching, I was instructing we were having a design lesson and we were copying sort of a product. And I went over to this students desks they were a Year Four girl, you know, really into it. But their image was like back to front. And my initial thought was, ‘Oh, do you want to piece the paper to start again?’ And something intuitively, this is something else that, you know, it’s really important in design, like not everything’s logical, some things are intuitive, and we have to fail away and understand the power of empathy in that respect. And instead of coming down and go, ‘Oh, you’ve got it wrong, do you want a new sheet of paper to start again’, I was like, ‘Oh, like how you going with yours?’ And and she actually commented that she was doing it inverse image. And it was fascinating. And the outcome was phenomenal, right. But if I had taken that piece of paper from her in that moment, thinking that she’d got it wrong, then I would have lost my own incredible learning opportunity to to see actually where she was going with that. So, there’s a couple of things, there’s three profound areas that can affect a child, and that we need to be really mindful of developing these like, shutting everything else out the areas of communication. So, literacy, and being able to communicate and collaborate with others and share your ideas. Visual spatial understanding, so how we navigate the world, how we express that, how we move through our physical world, and also how we’re preparing to move move through our virtual worlds. So the development of visual spatial ability, and also the other one, which is not coming up in mind at the moment, but it will just in a second is what we’ve been talking about all along. It’s empathy, right? (Yeah) It’s emotional intelligence and development (Yeah). Now, the reason why I target those three things, is because they are the three foundational areas that will help your child excel across all domains of STEM, and also protect them from losing a midline or a lower-level factory job to automated processes. So, they’re the three that I’d focus on. And I’d say, don’t necessarily look at traditional pathways in design, everything counts. And don’t get caught up too much on what do you want to do, but look at it as who you want to be? What do you want to stand for? You know, how can you see yourself becoming a contributor? That’s probably it. That’s probably enough.
Mariane Power 27:32
I love that. And as you were talking, a few things were coming to mind for me in terms of how we can practically do that in the classroom and, and thinking about strengths and knowing what your strengths are, but also what the strengths of your children in the classroom are, and really capitalising on those and drawing those to a child’s attention, you know, how could you use your creativity? Or how could you use your humour in this particular design problem, or to design a solution? And I also heard you talking about communication and keeping that, I guess, that beginner’s mind, and that sense of curiosity? You asked a beautiful question to that child, you know, tell me more about what you’re drawing and modelling to that child that you’re interested, you’re curious, you’re giving them space in a psychologically safe way to share what’s going back. And I’m going to imagine that removing that piece of judgement is really important as well. So, offering feedback around what’s working well, and how can we do more of that, as opposed to shutting down? But you might have seen things differently in design, what do you think about the feedback question when it comes to design?
Kylie Barrett 28:31
Oh, it’s incredibly important. Feedback informs everything. Failure is incredibly important. You know, like, people talk about failure, often as like a negative type of thing, or we failed at something. But really, what we need to look at is failure has a function (Yeah). And it’s a very, very important function. No one really fails at anything until you’ve quit. So, I wish there was a new word that could be invented. But feedback is kind, timely feedback (Yeah), effective feedback is very important. Applying it down the track, a month, a year later, or it doesn’t have the same power as it being in the moment and conversational and having a connection with that person. So, feedback is is very, very important part of the process. And it should be the focus often in design, people talk about like, oh, you’re designing a product. But what we’re actually wanting to do in education is really harness those skills in the process and provide feedback in the process, as opposed to providing feedback just for the product.
Mariane Power 29:37
Yeah, so it is a process as opposed to an outcome deliverable, isn’t it? Yeah. And that collaborative spirit as well. I’m hoping that little bells are going off for our listeners in the same way that they’re going off for me. This is so helpful! Well look I’m curious about your own creative process. So, if you haven’t checked out Splat 3D’s YouTube, I highly recommend it. You and Glenn make me laugh out loud I’ll be in some quiet space with my little earphones happy to have a bit of a chuckle. But there’s so much thought, so much colour, so much imagination, that goes behind those, those little snippets that we all get freely accessible. Tell me a little bit about the design process because I imagine you just didn’t go there and splattered all over the page. With some of these things come from what was the iterative process there? What were you thinking?
Kylie Barrett 30:21
Okay, so it’s a really great question, because I can answer that probably in two parts. So what you’re seeing is the end result of the process. The process that Glenn and I have generally is a lot of fun, we really enjoy working in that process together. But what’s important is, is that it has a synergy. And so when we’re collaborating in a creative process with someone, you really want the outcome to be greater than what you could do individually in that it does have that synergy. And that’s really important. The other part that’s really important is the practice behind that process. So we hear about the process all the time, and kids want to jump in when we’re doing design and get the materials and all that sort of thing. But what is really important to understand is that the design process has different stages, like you said, you use a five-stage model, each different stage has an explicit skill set, that’s very different. And it’s really important to hone your skills in a daily practice. So, when I jump into the process, it is literally the opportunity of that process. And that moment meeting with my mind which is prepared because I can pick up a pencil and draw my idea. Or I can write a pitch, or I can empathise and understand the right way to form a question to ask somebody how they’re responding to a product or service so I can get the information I need to do that iteration. Yeah, so practice and process are two different things. And my biggest push is, is around the practice, if you want to have a lot of fun in the process. The process is killer fun for anyone that has a honed skill set.
Mariane Power 32:10
That is so true. And it’s funny. Just before, do you mind if I share? Just before Kylie and I jumped onto this podcast, we had a total technical error. And I have to say, if I hadn’t practised doing this type of interview before honing skills in being okay with doing things on the run, keeping my cool, I think I would have been a stressed-out banana, and there’s no ways we would have got this interview done. That’s just for me speaking personally. But it also speaks to that idea of failing forward. I mean, we can practice a skill until we’re blue in the face. And then some external situation comes and flies in there. And we’ve got to have that agility and that adaptability to jump on the phone with Kylie and say, ‘Hey, so this is what I’m struggling with. Have you got some ideas?’ And you and I, we found a solution together. And that’s a skill within itself, too, isn’t it?
Kylie Barrett 33:01
Oh, absolutely. Often, there’s a point of hesitation. And that’s why I’m really passionate about early childhood. Because it’s at that point where something happens that you get that split moment decision, you either move forward and happily fail forward, or you step back. And in that moment of hesitation, the real difference is the foundational skill set (Yeah). And without that foundational skill set, you’re not building self-efficacy around what it is you’re working on. And people that don’t have that self-efficacy from a sound skill set are much more likely to jump forward and go, hey, let’s just, let’s just wear it, let’s just see what happens. Let’s be curious. And if it doesn’t work, we’ll book another time we’ll do it we’ll you know, like, it’s not a concern for them. It’s not how they base their decision-making process around, you know, will I fail or not fail?
Mariane Power 33:51
Like I said, at the top, I was very grateful to be failing forward with you, my friend. Of all people! Look, I’m gonna throw a spanner in the works, because we didn’t talk about this before. But I’m curious about the role of perfectionism in design, do you see it showing up in the classroom or with with children in particular, or in the design space? And if so, what’s your thinking around it? How do we handle that little perfectionistic monster that can sometimes sit on that shoulder and be a little bit over critical?
Kylie Barrett 34:20
I like to say, as you’ve probably seen many times on social media, “progress over perfection” (Yes). And I say that, in the spirit of I give myself a finite time, because industry, you have a finite time, and it’s what you can do within that timeframe. Now, I have my own child that has perfectionist tendencies, which are very, very difficult. You know, she’s very neurologically diverse, and she really struggles with perfectionism, particularly in a school day where you’re swapping and changing different lessons and you never really get to finish something. So perfectionism has I guess it’s like the light and dark, the Ying and yang, as a tree grows so does it shadow, you know, like, it’s good because people that like perfectionism, they’re more likely to practice a skill set.
Mariane Power 35:10
Yeah, I didn’t think about it that way, actually, that’s a really good point.
Kylie Barrett 35:13
And often they struggle with moving on and changing routines, and all that sort of stuff that you can often see with students on the spectrum or ADHD or anything like that. So it’s because the system is not really designed for them, and for them for mastery. And that’s a significant issue. So the other side of that is not being agile, and not being flexible. So you can have someone that is after perfectionism, but they know that they’ve got a set amount of time. And that’s the limitation. And they’re okay with that. And so that nuance is what really needs to be worked on. The student and the people have to understand that ‘I have to let go, now, I have to be flexible. They were the constraints. And now I need to move on’. So it’s helping people around their tolerance level for perfectionism. Because perfectionism, like so many things I said, that has the duality. Perfectionism is an important part of the process, right? You want to get it right, it drives us. But we also have to work within constraints.
Mariane Power 36:17
That’s such a valid point. And again, it makes me go back to the strengths you know, what we know with character strengths is that we can have that sweet spot where we use a strength at its maximum potential and its impact but we can under use the strength and not bring it enough, and for perfectionists maybe they’re underutilising their specifics and their attention to detail, but we can overuse that, like you mentioned to the sacrifice of of the overall good, or the greater projects that we’re working towards, a solution we’re designing for. I think that’s a really nice way to start thinking about rather than perfectionism being a bad thing that we have to get rid of is actually, ‘Well, what are its good, shining light aspects about it?’ And then ‘How can we kind of massage it a little bit, so it shows up at the right time and appropriate time, and also can have a little pat on the head and say, time to roll on over?’
Kylie Barrett 36:59
That’s right. And I think we if we look at it in terms of practice, you’ve got to understand that you know, you may not get it perfect today, but you might get it perfect tomorrow. And in order to go through that process. You have to accept that it may not look like you want it today but keep practising and it might tomorrow. And it’s having that ability to see forward.
Mariane Power 37:22
I love that. Thank you for sharing your thoughts (Okay). Well, speaking of perfectionism, I’m going to throw that out the window, because this is the time of our podcast where we would normally play a bit of a fun game but given your love of design, and I know that you and Glenn are super playful at Splat3D. I’m going to suggest if you would like to throw me a game and put me in the hot seat but if not, that’s okay as well. I’ve got one in my back pocket, what would you prefer? Are you the design game thrower or the receiver today?
Kylie Barrett 37:51
I think I’m gonna let you go because I would need like a pencil and paper and some props or something. So I’m a bit underprepared. I could do a handstand against the wall; we could do a challenge (Oh wow!). I’m not sure that my my setup would cope with that. So I’ll throw it to you and you can be a bit more cerebral. I’m a bit physical in my challenge.
Mariane Power 38:12
Okay, on one condition then because I love that handstand against the wall challenge. So you and I are going to meet up some time on Instagram Live and we’ll do our handstand challenge, but okay, look, invitation accepted. And let’s throw. So one of our favourite brainstorming games, and we know that brainstorming is such an important part when it comes to our prototyping those early design phases of really getting in and we like to flare out. So I want to let everybody know that first of all the rule is there’s no judgement and no idea is a bad idea. And we’re going to let go of any preconceived ideas around that perfectionism. This is the game we like to call ‘Yes. And’, and today we’re going to be designing a Classroom 5.0. So a learning space or opportunity of the future. And the only rule is that between our turn taking, we say “Yes. And”. So the reason we do this, just to give you some context is have you ever been in a brainstorming session where someone says, ‘Yeah, but yeah, I don’t think that’s gonna work. I mean, have you thought about the budget?’ It’s a real buzzkill. Whereas ‘Yes. And’ invites that great lack of judgement, moving forward, accepting your idea, let’s build and we get that positive upward spiral of emotion and motivation to be contributing. So again, ‘Yes. And’ we’re going to be designing Classroom 5.0. I’m happy to go first with an idea. I’ll throw it over to you with the ‘Yes. And’. You ready? (Yes!) And. Classroom 5.0 is going to be filled with lots of natural greenery and nature, whether it be in a fixed space, or if we’re adding nature itself.
Kylie Barrett 39:48
Yes. And we’re going to have access to beautiful materials that are environmentally friendly and can be shared in abundance for creativity.
Mariane Power 40:03
Yes. And we’re going to have opportunity in our creative spaces and learning that if we just need to defrag, we can take some time out from others so that we can come back into the space and collaborate in a really lovely, kind, generous way.
Kylie Barrett 40:20
Yes. And we’re also going to have incredible opportunities to meet people from outside of our learning space that we can collaborate with and do amazing design thinking.
Mariane Power 40:36
Yes, I love that one. And when we meet with those people outside of our learning spaces, they’re going to be so excited about our big ideas that we’re finding in our learning spaces, that they’re going to want to help help us, help them take those solutions into their own learning spaces to build them even bigger.
Kylie Barrett 40:54
Yes. And then we’re going to have a universal collection of beautiful, creative ideas that have come out of this natural space through learning journals.
Mariane Power 41:06
Yes. And those learning journals will be kept so that intergenerationally we can all learn from each other in a way that progresses society.
Kylie Barrett 41:14
Yes. And then we’re going to be knighted.
Mariane Power 41:21
It’s a very utopian learning world that we’re going to be in and I’m so thrilled that we got there with you Kylie. Thank you for joining us today. Is there one wish, or hope, or message for the next gen that you would like to leave us with before we finish up?
Kylie Barrett 41:34
Yeah, I guess for me I’m really super passionate and my kids have heard me say this over and over again. Don’t wait till you finish school. You’re on this journey. Now if you’re 11, 12, 14, 16 just start! Get involved, learn about the wider world and how you can actually have an impact and also an economic benefit for maybe yourself and others through your gifts and talents. So don’t wait for someone to come and knock on your door get out there and start seeing yourself as capable now.
Mariane Power 42:10
Oh, I hope everybody hears that message. And if you do, please tag us in @posifygroup and Kylie in it @splat3d because we would love to share your ideas far and wide. Thanks Kylie. What an important message for the next gen and thank you to our listeners for listening as well and being here for more about information about Splat3D’s wonderful work you can visit splat3d.com and be sure to visit their very exciting social media channels for all things design inspiration, their handle is @splat3d and of course the YouTube channel too. You’ve been listening to Classroom 5.0, thanks again. See you later alligators.
Classroom 5.0 is brought to you by the Posify Group, a socially conscious education company arming the next gen with a sense of purpose and the future skills they’ll need to thrive in this ever-evolving world. We’d like to say thanks to our editing guru Richard Pennington, who helped us put this show together. For today’s show notes, links and more episodes just like these, you can visit the theposifygroup.com.au/podcast. Thanks for helping us imagine alive the future of learning. See you next time.
“What we need to look at is failure has a function... and it's a very, very important function. No one really fails at anything until you've quit.”
~ Kylie Burrett
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