Dark Horse Prototype California Edition 2017
At the start of the new year all SUGAR Network students set off for Silicon Valley in California to join their partner teams from around the globe for the Dark Horse Prototyping events.
In the Dark Horse phase it's all about challenging assumptions and increasing the level of disagreement. The goal is to reframe the challenge by leaving out one of the assumptions the team has about the challenge. The best outcome of a Dark Horse prototype is the realization that the assumption that the team did away with was never necessary in the first place. Even if this does not pan out, though, the teams gain valuable new insights into their challenge by looking at it from a new perspective.
One example for an assumption that gets excluded in the Dark Horse process would be that a product or service costs money. Leaving out money makes the team members think in new ways about their challenge: By making something cost-free, they can imagine what people would do with large amounts or what it would be like if everybody could use it. Using this example, it becomes apparent that the Dark Horse phase makes the teams imagine radical scenarios, freeing their minds from earlier beliefs and therefore forming new mindsets.
Apart from that, the Dark Horse Prototype event was also one of the few chances for the global teams to work together in the same place, at the same time. One of the challenges for the student teams of the SUGAR network is to work across distance and in some cases even time zones. The time they spent working on the Dark Horse Prototype will pay off in the future as students learn more about their teammates' working styles and develop a deeper trust among each other.
After one week of heavy prototyping, the participants left Silicon Valley again with fresh ideas and a foundation for better teamwork. They will continue to work on their projects, culminating with a final prototype and an accommodating presentation at the beginning of June.