We realized quite early in the program that, with Germany being 6 hours ahead of EST, we would have to navigate working collaboratively across time zones. We all met from 8:00 a.m till 12:00 p.m. EST which is 2:00p.m to 6:00 p.m CET. During this time, we worked rigorously in adherence to the central idea of Design Thinking to ensure that we “build the thing right”, rather than simply “build the right thing”. Aside from that, we Americans also met between 6:00 p.m. EST (midnight CET), while the Germans were asleep, to work for an hour or two on the next phase of our project. Then, while we were asleep, the Germans met in the morning to work on that phase as well, before we all met at our regular time of 8-12 EST/2-6 CET to brainstorm through the ideas on Mural.
There was such easy camaraderie between all of us which made the experience even more interesting! We had so much fun getting to know each other. Each and every contribution was valued. We deliberated on every idea and offered constructive criticism where necessary. When we felt exhausted, such as on day 4, we played the game “two truths and a lie”. Such activities helped us know more about each other, navigate cultural differences or discover cultural similarities, and further built our team spirit.