No Right Brain Left Behind / Stopp Inc.
No Right Brain Left Behind
U.S. Education system
No Right Brain Left Behind
How many “right brainers” have been left behind in just the past 50 years. The education system and culture does not value right brain thinking today. This project is notable as it may heighten awareness and support for those who think differently. – Lorraine Justice
Its been said the challenges of the past 100 years are minor when compared to the challenges we’ll face over the course of the next 100 years. Therefore I view this entry as one that offers a great hope that we (all of humanity) will find solutions. When faced with such problems, we can work within the existing system or prototype a different model. As a strategy for success and survival, NRBLB gets my vote. – Don Carr
It is wonderful to see design making inroads to the often frustrating world of national education policy. I am a little jealous knowing kids will now have right brain thinking nurtured and supported, but very happy that is now occurring. – Tim Fletcher
No Right Brain Left Behind
1. The Nutshell: In plain language, tell us what your project is, what it does, and what it’s comprised of.
No Right Brain Left Behind was a 7 day innovation challenge asking the creative industries of U.S. to re-think education and challenge the creativity crisis in schools. We challenged design shops, ad agencies, innovation companies, art schools, and beyond to participate. In 7 days, we received 300 concepts from 150 teams nationally. Top 3 ideas were picked by a judging panel that included by Sir Ken Robinson, Lee Clow, Yves Behar, Daniel Pink, John Winsor, and others. The winning idea from BBDO Chicago is currently in pre-production.
2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
There were 2 main questions we were facing.
1 - How do we tackle a wicked problem like education? Where do we start? The education crisis in US is a well known fact. As part of the education crisis, there is another issue - that of creativity and innovation in classrooms. The creativity crisis - the fact that we are un-educating kids out of their creativity, and therefore losing the ability to innovate in the future. The scores are dropping, and more money is being spent, while the schools are preparing kids for the 21st century with a 19th century model.
2 - How do you rally and unite a whole industry around one cause? The creative industries employ some of the best and brightest minds on the planet. With the notion of creativity being the lifebood of our industries, we wanted to create a platform to challenge this crisis. We imagined creatives, working as one industry towards solutions, sharing knowledge and passion for a burning cause that is close to our hearts. We wanted to break down barriers between large agencies and small shops and have universities collaborating with schools. However, the hardest challenge was the unknown, that of charting new territory. We were passionate. But even with our passion and combined years of experience, we were novices, doing something like this for the first time. Underestimating the interest we received, we had to scale and build 24/7 as we gained more attention and momentum.
3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
The intent was to provide the best of the best in the creative industries with an infrastructure, intelligence, inspiration, and fire to tackle one of the most complex problems of the 21st century. We wanted to prove that creatives are not only artists, writers, designers, or art directors. What unites us is that we are problem solvers. And here is a wicked problem that requires immediate attention. This was also an experiment in the creative process. How would the teams collaborate virtually? How fast could they ideate and prototype? How would they organize around a problem such as this? Here, the creatives would get more or less free reign over their work. No clients to please. No unnecessary mandates. This challenge was not about creating more artist. It was not about campaigning for more drama and dance classes in schools. Instead, it was about providing solutions that are necessary in preparing our children for the 21st century. And we believe that creativity and innovation lies at the core of that.
4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
We got off the ground with zero dollars in budget, fueled by passion end enthusiasm. Starting with a plain concept on paper, we needed a name and identity. Playing off the No Child Left Behind Act, we decided on No Right Brain Left Behind (NRBLB). Next, we jumped on the identity design and created the logo and the look in 2 days. As we started sharing the concept, we saw enormous interested. In 2 weeks, we grew a team of 10 volunteers. Our planning team came from top agencies including Deutsch, 180LA, ChiatDay, Wieden+Kennedy, and others. Drawing upon successful education methodologies and consulting educators, the planning team crossreferenced it with research done on the current education status. The ideas had to work within the educational system, alongside it, our outside the system. The brief had to account for schools, teachers, parents, and most importantly the children. Once we had the pitch material ready - we approached judges, partners, agencies, and collaborators. People like Sir Ken Robinson, Yves Behar,Lee Clow, Daniel Pink, Maria Popova accepted invitations to help us. Participating agencies included 180LA, BBH, Wolff Olins, BBDO, Ogilvy, Saatchi&Saatchi (NYC and LA),DraftFCB, AIGA, Method, Wieden+Kennedy, Eleven Inc. The Martin Agency, Frog Design, Ziba, RedScout, Fallon, Hyper Island, Tribal DDB, and others. We partnered with Social Media Week conference to get more momentum and exposure. Another partner was PSFK, providing media and coverage. Coverage from FastCompany and GOOD Magazine followed shortly. It continued with the blogosphere, at times referring to us as "Top Marketers Who Are Changing The World", and we were mentioned alongside Pixar and Google in GOOD's end-of-year review of Best In Education. Our site was built on the WordPress platform to accommodate all the teams who signed up. Each team received a login and an account. They were able to post inspiration, progress, quotes, and their final ideas. Once posted, all contributions were visible to the public. The challenge started with a live briefing in February 2011, and was streamed from JWT's offices in NYC. Shortly after, the prepared briefs were available for download on our site. Teams were given 7 days to concept for solutions. The submission formats could range from simple write-ups to videos and produced motion pieces, and up to 10 ideas per team. 7 days went by and we received over 300 submissions from 150 teams nationally and globally. Each concept was vetted by educators, creatives, and school principals in 3 rounds of curation. 10 ideas were shortlisted and presented to the judging panel. As the final judging started, Viktor Venson, was invited to do a talk about NRBLB at TEDx Atlanta. This was a perfect opportunity to present the 3 winning ideas as the event would be live streamed. BBDO Chicago's took first place and they are currently in pre-production with their concept. We had less than 5 weeks to produce this from start to finish, and did it while working our day jobs at the same time.
5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
They say that "There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." This project falls under that philosophy. In the current socio economic and cultural global climate, this project proved that there is a thirst in the business of creativity for "doing well by doing good." This is much needed. We showed that a whole industry, can be united as one to serve a higher purpose beyond profits. It became an important step to shift an industry's view of how creativity can help solving problems that matter. We started and showed that it can be done. As this project inspired thousands of people, in U.S and globally, it also inspired creatives to use their skills and challenge the status quo. And it gave us, the team, a new mission, to explore how the business of creativity can be used to solve matters that matter as we plot for future challenges. As for measurable results, we are currently talking to charter schools, such as Green Dot and DaVinci schools in California, about potential collaboration for piloting ideas, such as BBDO's winning concept.
6. Did the context of your project change throughout its development? If so, how did your understanding of the project change?
The context of the challenge did not change much through out it. . We were surprised by how smooth it went considering the impressive response and our ability to scale with it to the expectations.
What changed is our perception of what a design challenge means, and our understanding of the importance and complexity of the actual implementation and execution. We are seeing this as a two stage rocket, where the first stage inspires, organizes, and facilitates the conception of ideas, and the second stage launches them into reality and scales the successful ones.
Furthermore, we realized the importance of being able to implement and run multiple pilots in several school environments at the same time, and have a scalable model to get the impact this issue needs. Only then will we able to see measurable change and impact in student engagement and creative development