Contributor: Harriett Middleton

New Delta Client

Innovation Diploma (ID) is an original program created by Mount Vernon enabling students to work with external partners helping them create solutions for lingering problems. In ID, when companies come to Mount Vernon and propose a problem to us, we call that relationship a design brief

Dr. Willy Barnett, Innovation Consultant at Delta Air Lines reached out to us and presented us with the question: How might we entertain and engage customers throughout their waiting experience? Our new Delta clients also asked if we could “gamify” the airport. They wanted their travelers to really enjoy the Delta experience and to realize that every traveler is valued and every travel experience is unique.

This Delta design brief was a six-month long journey where we designed, produced, did empathy work, interviewed, and finally determined a step by step guideline of how we might build our airport simulation for our presentation. Every month, our design brief team would email our progress and main insights to our client. We made numerous trips to the airport to help us better understand the gate experience and functionality. This would include how security works, how individuals board the plane, the process of line waiting, and the common human interactions of the airport.

Ideas Began To Spark

As we collected our research by observing how people reacted in the airport to specific situations, measuring anxiety, and learning more about the journey from car to plane, our ideas began to spark. After a couple of days designing ideas, our team realized that the strength of the ideas were too strong to stick into a standard PowerPoint presentation. Instead, for our official presentation, we created an airport-like environment in our HIVE at Mount Vernon. Within our airport simulation, we would then present our ideas with respect to each passage journey. For example, our team thought of three new app integration ideas. To present them to our client, we created a replica of the plane train, and asked Delta representative to walk through the app with the client.

Unlike Anything

After our final presentation, the Delta team gave us a lot of positive feedback on our ideas. They congratulated us on our capability to pull off such an extravagant final presentation. “This was unlike anything we have seen before, so much better then a powerpoint presentation,” commented our primary Delta client, Barnett. During our debrief, our clients said they could most definitely see the Delta community using our products. They discussed how they would set up small experiments in the airport to test our products and get feedback from travelers.

Innovation Diploma has prepared me to feel more confident in approaching companies, and not being afraid to ask questions. By using feedback skills, presenting skills, and design process skills, Innovation Diploma has made me feel like I am prepared to take on the world. I know that there is still more to learn about how to work with larger companies, but Innovation Diploma has put me one step closer to feeling like I can make a difference in the innovation world.

Innovation Diploma has prepared me to feel more confident in approaching companies, and not being afraid to ask questions. By using feedback skills, presenting skills, and design process skills, Innovation Diploma has made me feel like I am prepared to take on the world. I know that there is still more to learn about how to work with larger companies, but Innovation Diploma has put me one step closer to feeling like I can make a difference in the innovation world.

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