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Day 3 of the 2017 Acorn Aspirations summer accelerator took place in Moorgate, at SkillsMatter, a tech company founded in order to drive innovation in software engineering by engaging creative developers to share new skills, enabling the discovery of emerging technologies.

Upon entering the contemporary building, each teen in the accelerator was given a badge with their names on, and then proceeded to go downstairs and locate the room allocated as our venue for the day; all the while exploring this exciting basement-situated office space.

Elena greeted us all, and immediately introduced us to Trello, an easy to use platform which teams could utilise in order to keep track of what we had to complete, what was in the process of being completed, and what was actually finished. As soon as we signed up to Trello, we also began tweeting on Twitter!

As soon as the majority of the teens and all the mentors arrived, we began our final design sprint with Andy Ayim, and focused on discussing how we all envisioned our apps to look like individually by creating simple paper prototypes, then discussing our ideas with our team to highlight the various features we liked about each design. Following this, we then collaborated with some mentors and discussed our designs with UX designers and clarified how our app interfaces would look like.

Following this, we also focused on interview technique and how to ask open instead of closed questions, to ensure that the interviewee could answer as openly and in as much detail as possible. Each team conducted interviews based on their app ideas, gained feedback and suggestions on how to improve their idea and which features the interviewee liked best.

Next on the agenda, we discussed the various processes all of the teens who participated in the design sprint experienced, as well as the mind sets we developed in these three days of design thinking. These mind sets ranged from being a detective at first in order to find the problem, an artist when creating the user personas, a scientist when discovering how various details would link together, an architect when prototype building, and finally adopting a journalist’s mind set when interviewing and note-taking.

After this, we continued working on establishing what our apps would look like, and how they would function, and not long after this, lunch time arrived! After reenergising on coffee, tea, hot chocolate and the popular free biscuits served, teams continued to work on surveys and questionnaires, as well as interviews with our mentors from London Business School, who provided a grilling yet insightful overview of our apps and how we could improve them.

Then, we had a short talk delivered by Ariel Horn, who discussed how we should work closely as a team, and also discussed Agile as a mind set, and how we could use the popular retrospective method to organise the team and explained that it was a simple method of tracking the teams progress and feelings towards what they achieved in that period of time.

Our final interesting keynote of the day was delivered by Alvaro Sanmartin, a growth lead at Skills Matter and previously at Udacity, who spoke about how social media and our dependence on it can be described using the ‘hook’. He discussed how must be a trigger to begin with, then an action, a variable reward and finally an investment. Overall, this keynote was insightful, and encouraged teams to investigate into the triggers users might face which motivated them to use the application.

By Jessica Georgeois

Also published on Medium.

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