Apricotful Design Thinking: Malatya CIP

Our next station, after Erzurum, was Malatya. In this beautiful city of East Anatolia, we worked with people of Tecde Anatolian Highschool (TAH) and started a project in the company of Malatya Arge. We were a group of people including seven students and three teachers. As the seven students of RC SEC, we had the opportunity to work with twenty two students of TAH and our teachers spent their times with approximately twenty teachers from any highschool in Malatya. Our aim was to experience design thinking stage by stage with our partners from Tecde. The first day was so much fun. We got out of the school and paced the streets of Malatya. In these streets, we met with many people and listened to their stories about their lives. Each of them had different things to tell about, different experiences, different memories. Getting to know the tradesmen in their own shops and trying to learn about their difficulties in life made us to create empathy maps easily. These empathy maps helped us to analyze their lives according to what they mentioned about themselves. With the help of the “empathy maps”, we discovered some problems of people of Malatya. This was our first stage: determining the problems. As a second stage, we defined these problems by following the booklet of Ashoka about Social Entrepreneurship. After deeply ideating these problems we as groups created our solutions. Firstly every member of the groups writes on some cards freely what they think about the problems and possible solutions at the moments for 30 minutes. In the end, by decreasing the number of cards, every group had only one card, which means one and the best solution. We defined the solutions according to what is written on the last card. The defined solutions were the most creative, most thoughtful ones. Each group made their prototypes, which represents the solutions in a most successful way. The students were really much more careful on this stage of design thinking compare to others. Creating something tangible and seeing the products were more magical than only dreaming. The students of TAH were really affected after seeing their own prototypes, own works, own success. Some of them already e-mailed the authorized people connected to their subjects. This was really good to see, and as the students of RC SEC, we understood that working with those people, visiting Malatya and laboring weren’t for just nothing. The students also presented their prototypes to the headmaster of the school and the authorized teachers with all of their feeling. They were so excited. Our teachers also had the same steps with the teachers of Malatya, so we can say that in the city people from fifteen to fifty could have the chance to experience design thinking and feel the joy of doing something for others. By the way, our Malatya trip wasn’t only including the design thinking project. We discovered the city and tasted every kind of apricot. While we were in the streets unexceptionally every merchant who sells apricot made us taste some. As tourists, we were pretty important for them to show our satisfaction about their most important product: apricot. In this city, every single thing had a connection with the magical fruit. Even the ATM’s and the things that prevent cars to be parked on sidewalks were shaped like apricots. The city had two big apricot sculptures. I think the folk of Malatya was crazy about the amazing fruit and they created many other foods including apricot. The apricotful chocolates, dried layers of apricot pulp, apricot, apricot, and apricot… Other than that as I said we worked with the company of Malatya Arge department and Yusuf Hoca from Arge was as much hospitable as the merchants. He brought us to very nice restaurants and made us to taste traditional foods. The foods were so delicious. Also, we have been in “Çiğköfte Partisi” which was prepared especially for us. It was amazing too. We experienced many things about the culture of Malatya so it was pretty pleasurable. As RC SEC we love to participate in such organizations. I hope our next trip to Ankara will be as perfect as Malatya journey.