Guiding Participants

Taking participants through the ideation and prototyping process

In addition to creating a great environment and encouraging the students to work together, a key role of the facilitator is to act as a guide for the students through the Makeathon process. That doesn’t mean that you need to hold their hands or prevent them from experiencing any moments of uncertainty. The journey of discovery is an important part of the Makeathon’s educational process.

However, demonstrating that there is a process and making it clear both that the journey has a destination and that the uncertainty has a purpose is an important part of the facilitator’s role. Here are some ways to guide participants through the ideation and prototyping process:

  1. Start with a clear mission: Make sure the participants understand the problem they are trying to solve and guide them to articulate it as a clear statement, challenge or research question. This will help them focus their ideation and prototyping efforts. Get them to work in their groups on nailing down the clearest expression of their challenge.

  2. Ensure divergent thinking: Encourage participants to generate as many ideas as possible during the ideation phase. This will help them explore a wide range of possible solutions. It helps to assign specific roles to the group members so that everyone feels they have some agency within the process.

  3. Use brainstorming techniques: Introduce and explain brainstorming techniques like mind mapping or group ideation sessions to help participants generate creative ideas.

  4. Prioritise ideas: Once the participants have generated a large number of ideas, help them prioritise them based on feasibility, impact, and other criteria.

  5. Create a prototype plan: Help the participants create a plan for prototyping their solution, including identifying the materials and tools they will need. Mapping or drawing these ideas out on paper can be very helpful in this regard.

  6. Provide feedback and guidance: As the participants begin prototyping, provide feedback and guidance to help them refine their ideas and improve their prototypes.

  7. Encourage iteration: Encourage the participants to iterate on their prototypes and refine their solutions based on feedback from their peers and mentors.

  8. Celebrate progress: Celebrate the progress the participants make throughout the Makeathon, and encourage them to keep pushing themselves to create the best possible solution.

By guiding participants through the ideation and prototyping process, you can help them turn their ideas into tangible solutions that can make a real difference. More importantly, you will be there to help them progress from where they start to the next level in their own personal development.

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