In 2017, I participated in MIT MEET: Middle East Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow, a program that brings together Palestinian and Israeli teenagers over three years of learning. In Jerusalem, Julie L. Parisi, Michael Mogensen, and I led the workshop "Make @ MEET" to introduce the students to design thinking, user observation, and rapid prototyping. We took the students to Malha Mall where they were given the broad brief "Make someone's life easier." After identifying their "users" through observation and interviews with shoppers and employees in the mall, they prototyped imaginative solutions for the issues they had identified.
Among the prototypes students created in response to issues they identified at Malha Mall were a functioning manual water fountain, a backpack oxygen tank, an adult-sized kid's car, an addition to an escalator that can carry strollers, and a "lost button" for lost children in the mall who may not speak the language of adults trying to help them.
Our workshop has now been incorporated into MIT MEET curriculum, and we are planning to return to Jerusalem in fall 2019 to implement a longer version of the workshop at an earlier stage in the program.