Written by Pamela Scott-Crace, Interview conducted by Rose Doyle
The DT Bootcamp experience and where it led for one aerospace engineer
Ricky Huff is a product engineer based in Seattle. Before that, he worked in the skunkworks division of an aerospace giant in California. But he always felt that the design processes he found himself immersed in were missing the human element. Researching human-centered design led him to a DesignThinkers Academy Bootcamp in Charleston, S.C.
Ricky considers himself lucky. His boss in the aerospace firm encouraged him to find a training program that ran counter to the culture that he chafed in. His realization, after the “learning by doing” approach of design thinking, was that he loved the human element of design. “I’ve been to a lot of training courses, and I hardly remembered anything,” says Ricky. “The DT Bootcamp was a real contrast to that.”
Since the DT Bootcamp, Ricky has assumed a new product development role in a large Seattle design firm – a dream job for him. Having experienced the highs and lows of life over the past year, Ricky, his wife, and their five children are much happier. “I want to make a difference with the gifts and abilities that I have as an engineer,” he says. “In my mind, all of that ties together with design thinking.”
Describe the DT Bootcamp in a phrase
Part amazing race. Part sticky-note storm.
What were your expectations?
Learning by doing. Not just consuming. Experiential.
Your biggest takeaways:
More moments beyond my comfort zone than I was expecting. Exploring at a different level. The pace was so fast … I experienced discomfort with the new tools, but I know that was part of the learning. The guest coaches added a ton, and I appreciated their different perspectives. I remember thinking, “Maybe this will work in aerospace?”
How are you applying your DT Bootamp skills?
I have worked on so many amazing projects in the last year! Empathizing with users! I’ve led a short course with my co-workers. I’m engaging on a level that is more personal. Hey, let’s sit and laugh and learn together. I haven’t applied all the tools in a formal sense, but there is an underpinning of desire to put users first and fail fast.