Off and Running

What idea could possibly unite a designer from San Francisco, a social entrepreneur from Fargo, an engineer from Texas, a business strategist from Chicago, a writer from Northern California, and an artist from North Dakota? Simple, really.

It's the hopeful suspicion that learning through apprenticeships and real-world experiences is a credible form of education and a powerful way to learn how to transform our world.

Earlier this month, we gathered in Chicago for Experience Institute's first meetup. Most arrived by one-way ticket and met in person for the first time, buzzing with excitement, anxiously anticipating the countless unknowns this year would bring.

Before launching into our apprenticeships, we committed the first two weeks to building a foundation for ourselves through Ei's five core competencies of community building, self-awareness, storytelling, operations, and design thinking.

The two weeks were packed with meetings and projects: a tour of Threadless coupled with a class on building community with the founder, Jake Nickell; dined by candlelight with Ei's rockstar professional connectors; designed a bag with Stock MFG at their factory; told our stories with Sandee Kastrul of IC Stars; partnered with the Greenhouse Fellowship Project in East Chicago to develop curriculum for a post-High School experiential education program; conceptually redesigned the "L" train experience as a design thinking practicum; and diligently contacting potential apprenticeship partners as if the next three months of our lives depend on it. Because they do depend on it.

As we begin exploring apprenticeships and companies where we can add value, our class has become committed to this idea of protecting one another’s courage. Here's a quick glimpse of the crew:

About the team

Dane, the writer from Northern California, is approaching advertising agencies, startups, and creatives to begin his work as a storyteller and communicator.

Muffadal, the business strategist from Chicago, is flying to Australia to work in permaculture, develop a myco-halo project, and generate a business model conducive to permaculture design.

Joe, the social entrepreneur from Fargo, is apprenticing with Chicago-based events production company, Redmoon.

Carisa, the engineer from Texas, is heading back to Austin to attend SXSW as an elective, and is working on information architecture and design research.

April, the designer from San Francisco, is researching ethnography and the social good aspect in design.

Jessica, the artist from North Dakota, is beginning by collaborating with Chicago-based artists and holding art workshops in the city.

Needless to say, we're excited for the journey ahead and we're thrilled you'll be along for the ride.

Stay tuned for blog posts and newsletters packed with lessons and next steps.

Thanks again for being a part of this from the beginning.

Here's to the adventure ahead,

Dane, Carisa, Joe, April, Jessica, Muff, and The Ei Team

From Chicago
From Chicago
Student BlogsDane Johnson