Culinary Institute of Barcelona (CIB)
21st Century Creativity & Innovation for the Food Industry
5-Day Design Thinking Bootcamp – Hacking Food Waste, January 2021
Full-time students in the Haute Cuisine Chef Program engaged in a 5-day Design Thinking Bootcamp. Their Design Challenge for the week was to reduce food waste within the food industry. The 30-hour intensive was co-designed and delivered by me and Creativity & Innovation colleague, Andreu Gual.
Over the course of the week students worked in teams to practice collaboration. Each team approached the design challenge using the Design Thinking process and its principles to identify and solve problems for food waste. As international collaborators students found common food waste problems around the production, distribution, and use of seasonal and non-seasonal products.
On the final day each team presented their work in progress ideas to a larger audience. Ideas included:
- An online Food Preservation Dictionary
- A “Wasteless” network of food industry professionals
- A fermentation podcast with expert chefs called “Ferment to Inspire”
The bootcamp closed with a final group reflection.
Student Results & Insights
In the final hour of such an intensive week students gathered together to reflect and discuss their experience. The energy in that moment was very special. Filled with a new sense of trust, students opened up about the challenges they faced over the week, both in their learning process and with their emotions. Individuals revealed reasons for wanting to continue working on patience and creativity. As an international group they addressed cultural and language barriers that took place in their team collaborations.
Overall, the 5-day intensive resulted in:
- an increase in emotional intelligence working in multicultural teams
- a boost in creative confidence
- improved storytelling skills and group sharing confidence
- a practical understanding of how to apply design thinking methods
Beginners to the Design Thinking Methodology require special guidance. Design Thinking as a concept can feel overwhelming and abstract. In this bootcamp we focused on working through the details of specific techniques within the methodology to break down the design thinking process into manageable bites. This approach practices the creative principle to focus on the process, not the outcomes. It also introduces ways one can utilize design thinking techniques in isolated everyday problem solving instances instead of depending on the time and resources of the method in its entirety.
A five-day intensive although effective can create energy meltdowns, especially midweek. We asked ourselves in the debrief, How can we find additional moments to energize participants during such an intensive process?
We resolved that including a short and “fun” exercise midday could help reenergize those mushy brain moments that come to pass during the intense bootcamp format.
I personally love the intensive format because students feel the impact of their learnings in their bodies. Muscle memory leaves a lasting impression.
Photo Credits: Culinary Institute Barcelona