Issue One Contributors: Jerónimo van Schendel and Begoña de Abajo

Jero and Bego wrote an article about how IDEO reimagined and recreated the San Francisco Unified School District cafeterias into a more welcoming environment for students. Jero and Bego share lessons learned from an interview with the masterminds behind SFUSD’s school lunch project and discuss their own thoughts on the design approach as a problem-solving tool for educational communities. You can read their full-length article in the Community Issue of the Ottiya Magazine.

J E R O 

How would you introduce yourself in 10 words or less? 
“What if?” Is my life motto. Boundless curiosity, enjoyment with creativity, and some risk too.
What is your favorite children’s book? 
Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach: About a mixture of perseverance and deep enjoyment, that has a lot to do with creativity. The Baron in the Trees, by Italo Calvino: about the world that opens to your eyes when you take a different path. Tintin.The whole Saga.In French: about the adventures of living a multicultural, complex and uncontrollable world.
What was your favorite way to play when you were 9 years old?  
Amazingly, Begoña and I shared the passion (hitherto unknown haha) of creating caves with the cushions of the couches, in our respective houses. Me and my brothers have nice histories down there.We have more unknown things in common apparently hahaha. One of my nicknames as a child was momo, because of Bego’s favourite book.
Climbing in the trees, pretty high, and moving from one to the next one with friends. My school was full of trees & grass and at that time, for many reasons, it was doable!
What is community to you?
The magic that occurs when your definition of yourself, includes an essential reference to other people. A social way of understanding existence. 

How would you introduce yourself in less than 10 words? 
Begoña is an architect that believes in the potential of the design process as a mean to empower communities and as a tool for learning and developing important abilities for the 21st Century.
What is your favorite children’s book?
It is difficult to choose just one. I remember that I enjoy a lot reading classic novels like Around the World in Eighty Days or The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but my favorite one could be Momo.
What was your favorite way to play when you were 9 years old?
This one might sound freak but it is true: I loved building forts with the couch cushions and playing Lego with my brother. I would also mention that I keep very good memories from “doing bread” at my grandparents´ bakery.
What is community to you?
Community is the addition of people that share something and that when brought together represent much more power as a whole than each of them individually. 

How do you think can architects and educators collaborate more?
The first necessity is building deep interprofessional trust. Beyond that, one collaboration terrain is crafting experiences that teach students to deal with uncertain or undefined scenarios (the default of our time), yet enjoy, produce and extract great content and conclusions from them. We’d dare to say that Innovation, happens ONLY in those scenarios. The second one is more direct: collaborate to define (we are lacking consistent & conjunct theoretical approaches), and then build spaces where those values associated with innovation and free exploration are enhanced. Bringing back the learning by doing pedagogies, and introducing design processes in the curriculum can foster creativity, problem-solving and critical thinking, which are among the most important abilities in nowadays careers, and we use those constantly.
What are 5 keywords that describe your article?
Design Thinking / Collaboration / Innovation / User Experience / Exploration
What are the strengths of IDEO’s approach to problem-solving?
The approach of Human Centered Design is powerful for the education environment. Its development in iterative design phases, that evolve essentially based on user interactions or reactions, allows each of the social groups involved (educators, teachers, managers and so on) to externalize thoughts or needs that are generally hard to grasp, hence hard to transform in design solutions, but have tremendous impact in each of the collective’s daily lives. Especially considering that educational centers are, fundamentally, places for coexistence.

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