Design phase:


Reflection is an important part of any learning experience.

Not only will this process help you to understand your experience in a more profound way, it will also help you to articulate and communicate your newly acquired skills to future investors and employers.

During the original Future of Stuff Challenge, we partnered with online portfolio provider Pathbrite. However, you can use any portfolio service or technique you like.

Use the language below to support your reflections and portfolio design. We encourage you to come back to this page often, or print out a copy to refer to, as you are building your portfolio and collecting your assets.

Reflection guide

SKILL 1: I COMMUNICATE IDEAS TO COLLABORATE ACROSS BOUNDARIES: I can use appropriate language, behaviors, and technologies to effectively communicate with diverse audiences.


  • I use various communication styles depending on the diversity of my audience
  • I use various technological tools depending on the diversity of my audience
  • I use visual, mental and physical mapping tools (including diagrams and models) to represent ideas and designs
  • I allow others to develop my ideas
  • I build on the ideas of others
  • I seek diverse interactions and collaborations

SKILL 2: EMPATHY: I can share and understand others' emotions and needs by seeing the world through others' perspectives.


  • I can recognize and describe other people's emotions and needs
  • I can identify and interpret emotion in nonverbal cues like facial expressions, gestures, and tone
  • I can place myself in the users' perspective, rather than my own, when seeking information for the design process
  • I focus prototyping on user needs
  • I use empathy to gain inspiration from the world

SKILL 3: BIAS TOWARD ACTION AND EXPERIMENTATION: I show a bias toward action and experimentation, displaying agility, adaptability, and tenacity when faced with design challenges.


  • I show a bias towards action
  • I show tenacity when working to overcome challenges
  • I am willing to give up my original idea to adapt to new constraints
  • I find needed information through multiple sources
  • I take risks and try new things
  • I demonstrate flexibility through using multiple tools and moving through a variety of design modalities

SKILL 4: ITERATION: I can engage in design as a cyclical, iterative process of moving through multiple versions of any idea or solution by tinkering, prototyping, play-testing, and redesigning, constantly reflecting and integrating feedback.


  • I prototype. I create models to externalize ideas
  • I play-test. I understand the value of improving a design through receiving feedback when testing multiple versions of the design
  • I capture, organize, and use feedback to inform subsequent iterations
  • I learn from what doesn't work

SKILL 5: CRITICAL THINKING AND ANALYZING INFORMATION: I can analyze information and synthesize knowledge from multiple sources to solve complex problems.


  • I gather, assess, and synthesize information from credible sources.
  • I identify deep, non-obvious, user needs and insights
  • I think about solutions through multiple lenses

SKILL 6: CURIOSITY AND IMAGINATION: I can develop ideas, explore multiple solutions to problems, ask questions, and innovate to solve a complex problem.


  • I synthesize ideas in original ways, such as sorting ideas into different categories or combinations across multiple disciplines, to solve a problem, address an issue, or make something new.
  • I reframe or rethink problems to develop more thorough and innovative solutions.
  • I express abstract ideas using concrete examples.
  • I actively seek out new knowledge across disciplines.

Portfolios used to be something only art students cared about, but as we move deeper into the 21st century it is clear that there’s a growing need to build a compelling record of the project work you’ve done. Using an online portfolio like Pathbrite allows you to pull together assets from this project and beyond.

Found a bug in our prototype? Help us squish it.