Calling Women in STEM
Summer of 2015, an acquaintance from my Women in Technology classes at the University of Washington Information School reached out with a big idea. We quickly became business partners, and after countless hours of brainstorming our vision, building content, networking, cold-calling, and recruiting, we launched Tech++, an organization at the University of Washington focused on providing resources and community for women pursuing a career in STEM.
We launched Tech++ with a vision of standing out from other stem organizations before us. December 4th, 2015 we hosted a Tech Fashion Show at Galvanize Inc. in Pioneer Square (Seattle, WA). Our team included runway coordinator and conservationist, Ava Holmes, Forbes "30 Under 30" entrepreneur Tyler Menezes, as well as an amazing team of fellow students from the U.W. Information School.
Tech++ continues to host events and workshops for students pursuing STEM degrees and careers in various industries. Our occasional fashion shows have been known to catch the eyes of GeekWire, Seattle Met Magazine, and other local organizations, like GlobalGirlsGive.
GV's Mini Design Sprint
After attending Google's Women Tech Maker Event and participating in a design sprint based off of Google Venture's Design Sprint Book, the ladies and I over at Tech++ decided to host a mini design sprint of our own. Our 3 hour design sprint took place at Miir Coffee in Fremont where we taught concepts from the book, sharing ways to quickly address critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers.
Being a women focused organization, attendees were placed into groups and given the following prompt: How might we help temporarily homelessness women in Seattle find housing? Each groups conducted user interviews to learn more about the user’s needs, mapped potential solutions on sticky notes, then clustered them together as patterns emerged.
The GV design sprint focuses on converging and diverging throughout the process, allowing team members to brainstorm independently, then share their ideas as a team. This is a powerful technique for ensuring everyone's ideas are heard.
At the end of the sprint each team pitched their ideas - from helping women purchase feminine products in bulk and store in storage lockers to working with hotels to give homeless discounted prices on empty hotel rooms. It was remarkable to see the passion and innovation among this diverse room of strangers on a Saturday afternoon. There's only one thing that would have made it better - turning these ideas into action.