Study Sync – Rhiannon

November 20, 2020

Throughout Term 2 and Term 3, students were challenged to design solutions to local pandemic related problems including those from isolation, social issues and/or stress.

This required the students to apply design thinking principles including empathy, understanding target audiences and, how to pitch their ideas. Students working, either in teams or individually presented their problem statement, target market and their solution to an internal panel of judges who selected which projects would be presented to the next phase of the YCA Coronavirus Challenge.

In August we had our finals for the Coronavirus Design Challenge where we were excited to see that Rhiannon from one of Yarra Ranges Tech School Partner Schools, Healesville High School, placed equal third with her Study Sync concept. This opened the door for Rhiannon to access mentorship from Telstra. She was also given the opportunity to feature at the Telstra Vantage Conference hosted by Adam Spencer. This event was attended by a national and international audience.

Once it was all done we approached Rhiannon for her feedback on the Coronavirus challenge and the challenges she faced working on her own.

  • You very bravely decided to enter the design thinking competition on your own. How have you found the process being a one-woman team?

Honestly, I was really nervous. Being on my own was ok in the beginning because it meant I wasn’t trying to incorporate other people’s ideas with mine. When I handed in my idea I didn’t think it would go anywhere. We went back to school for two weeks and miss Benham told me that I had gone to the next round. I was quite shocked and really nervous. I didn’t know anyone who was also in the second sprint. Once I was in the meetings and focused though I felt much better and started to design my project.

  • You began this process carrying out a design thinking process at school and from lots of entries your design was chosen to represent the region. How did that feel? Were you surprised?

I was really surprised when my idea was picked to go to the next sprint. I liked my idea, but I wasn’t sure that anyone else would take to it. Being picked gave me a really strange feeling of accomplishment that I hadn’t had though a lot of lockdown.

  • You have had the opportunity to work closely with YRTS, Young Change Agents and Telstra, what is one of the biggest things you have learned or gained from this experience?

One of the biggest things I have learnt over all of this experience is for me to have confidence in my ideas and to really work hard at them. I have also realised how much I enjoy design; it has helped me realise my strengths.

  • If you could go back in time to the start of the challenge, would you do anything differently?

If I could go back in time I would change my nerves from the start and have more confidence in being a one-woman team. I would also not leave most things to the last minutes  

  • Now that you have completed this long design process, what have you learned about yourself?

I have learnt that I really have to have something to focus on. When I really focus I can get amazing things done. Another thing I found I really enjoy designing things. I knew that I enjoyed design, but I wasn’t sure how good I was at it. Now I know that I can design to a certain standard.

  • What advice would you give to other students who are about to start a Design Thinking competition or challenge?

Have confidence in yourself and feel good about what you are doing. This is an amazing experience to learn about yourself and your goals. People like your idea and want to support you with it. Embrace it