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Retreat Homework

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To prepare for the retreat, we are asking you to bring some inspiration to the discussion.  Based on topics identified in interviews with UCSF faculty, we’ve developed several assignments, of which you will be asked to choose one to complete.  Each of the assignments details a theme, a challenge, or an opportunity that is salient to the notion of “Faculty of Tomorrow”, and you are being asked to identify an analogous scenario for one of those assignments, and then learn about it in small groups.  An analogous scenario is defined as an example of a similar challenge, in an unrelated field or industry, where the same fundamental issues are being addressed with unique solutions, just in a different context.  The intent is that these scenarios can provide insight to the challenges we are considering, and that what you learn will serve as inspiration for the retreat.

The goal is for you to share the experience with colleagues, and then to share the learnings from that experience at the retreat, filtered through your own diverse points of view.  


  1. Please organize a team of 3-4 people from the attendee list with whom you’d like to collaborate.  If you prefer to be assigned to a team, please email [email protected].
  2. As a team, choose an assignment from the List of Assignments, and brainstorm a few examples of subjects (organizations, individuals or experiences) that you might like to investigate. 
  3. When you’ve identified 1 or 2 potential subjects for your research, please email them to [email protected]  and [email protected]  with a very brief description of why you think they would provide inspiration for our retreat.
  4. The IDEO team will respond with a recommendation on which subject to pursue and a field guide for how to conduct your investigation.  You and your team should then schedule an hour or two to do your research (ideally, together as a team).
  5. After your investigation, you will be asked to submit photos from your outing and answers to the questions posed in the field guide.  


A Couple of Notes:

  • Examples are given for each of the assignments.  If you would like to actually research the example provided, IDEO will assign those on a first come, first serve basis, as we’d like to see a diverse set of investigations that avoid overlap.
  • Remember, this exercise is not meant to be time-intensive (the expectation is that you’ll spend a few hours on this in total), and the intention is to have fun while getting inspired.  Bonus points for creativity and humor!
  • To give you an idea of how the homework will work, please see this case study. This is an example of the output from a participant's research assignment.  They were given questions to answer about their analogous observation, and they responded with pictures and commentary.