Design Thinking: What can we learn from Mexico's informal economy?
This winter we will be sharing our passion for design and inspirations from the informal economy (check out our partner design firm: Groupshot) on our second annual Mexico City Educator Design Sprint: Tacos!
The design sprint weekend will be an all field-based design research and brainstorming trip. A sprint is a quick design process, and that’s just what this trip will be. This year’s challenge:
How might street vendors and taco stands play a role in preserving Mexico’s iconic (UNESCO designated) cuisine?
The purpose of the trip is to allow a mix of educators with a range of interests to get more exposure to the ins and outs of a real-world design project.
Our travel team will think about how rapid field research, anthropology, and empathy can inspire innovation in Mexico and abroad. Expect real-world exploration, team brainstorming with colleagues and experts, and maybe even some quick prototyping. As we go we’ll discuss how we can use similar design thinking strategies with students. Oh, and did we mention lots of tacos?
"I had a wonderful experience exploring Mexico City with Atlas Workshops! As an experienced trip leader but someone relatively new to design thinking, this workshop helped me consider new ways to design effective student travel programs."
-Julia Dunbar, The Pingry School
Mexico City is one of the largest, most dynamic cities in the world. It’s the type of place we immediately fell in love with. The mixture of neighborhoods, people, transport, food, and style makes for an incredible microcosm to learn about the world.
What’s Design Research?
Design thinking is a creative problem-solving process that is increasingly common in classrooms, boardrooms, and labs across the country and globe. This iterative process begins with an investigation before developing and testing ideas.
Design research is the first phase of a good design process, and if you ask us, it’s the most important. This approach is very different from traditional academic research. Any good innovation will be derived from thoughtful and real insights about the world. Design researchers work to do just that — using curiosity and creativity to explore the world and gain insights about a topic or issue. These small insights can help to confirm or shatter our assumptions and inspire new ideas for the world.
Focus and Experience
This year’s trip will be framed around Mexico’s rich food culture and the overlap and contrast with taco and food vendors around the city. We will explore how Mexican food has been designated “intangible cultural heritage” by UNESCO and think about how all the different sides of the taco economy in the city can help preserve and advance this cultural heritage.
We will work both as a large team and in small groups to meet with experts, taste and try different foods around the city, and spend an afternoon bringing together our findings and brainstorming new ideas in a local co-working space. Expect a lot of delicious food and a new love for all things Mexico City.
We will travel with a mix of old friends who are looking to get some new experience with design thinking and research in the field, as well as newcomers who are looking for a unique experience with a new group of colleagues. We will have one or two design leads (professional designers) with a mix of backgrounds joining our team of teachers.
Professional Development Outcomes:
Experience applying design thinking in the field
Exposure to complex economic and development issues in Mexico City
Place-based learning experience and ideas for bringing these skills home
Real-world practice in Spanish (or research paired with a Spanish speaker)
Professional connections with local experts, designers, and educators
New curriculum ideas and approaches for design thinking and project work
Case studies and materials for your classroom
Design teamwork experience with like-minded leaders and experts
The program fee ($750 USD) is all-inclusive besides airfare. This will cover hotel accommodation in shared twin rooms, or single rooms for an additional fee ($150 USD). The base fee for the program includes three nights in a shared room at a hotel in Roma Norte. This price also includes all meals on the program including an upscale final dinner, soft drinks, public transport and some private transit in the city, private airport transfers, and all programming.
Just like all of our Atlas Workshops programs, this price is truly all-inclusive so you won't need to add any extra money for gratuities, activities or surprises. Your only extra expenses will be your flight, personal expenses, souvenirs, drinks, or extra tacos (actually we can get those tacos too!).
Registration and Flights
To register for the Mexico City Design Sprint Program please complete the form below. We will contact you as soon as possible to confirm your spot and discuss flight arrangements. We are happy to assist with booking flights or can review your itinerary before you book to coordinate meeting plans and transfers. You are also able to register more than one traveler.
If you want to add an extra day to the start or end of the program, we can help with logistics or even schedule a custom PD program. Last year we ran a one-day trip leader training around the Historic Center of Mexico City.
Standard registration will remain open until Friday, December 13th, at which point we cannot guarantee the price or availability of the group hotel. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.