Mobilizing Superpowers

We took on a minor side project last week—to create a movie about our classmates’ internship experiences this summer:

As we are most definitely going to create more videos in the future to tell our thesis story, we thought this was a good opportunity to practice. We used the same formula as for our video for King of Two Wheels to try to make the process as smooth as possible. We learned: (1) we will never edit in iMovie ever again; (2) to create a video always takes longer than expected, even if you get better at it, seriously; and (3) do not take on side projects if you want to move forward with your main projects.

That last one is only halfway true, though. Showing our video to a room full of people at our department’s Open House on Saturday, led us into a few interesting conversations with people—conversations we made sure evolved around biking, of course! And as we were distracted by internship stories and video editing most of last week, the guilt forced us into having an epic thesis meeting for about 6 hours last night at a new cafe we found in our hood, Two Moon:

We spent a few hours doing some final edits to a blogging scholarship application essay, and gave it the title Human Superpowers and Talking Helmets. After the application was sent, our conversation went from mainly being about talking helmets, to evolving more and more around the superpower part; how to get people in touch with their human superpowers through biking. We talked, we role-played, we drank mulled cider, we drew on the back of napkins:

Napkin about the commitment curve, painting a city through biking, and personas. Yeah, we need to create some fake people!

Napkin about building a platform for behavior change. Big words from little women. Yup.

Nothing is formalized yet. We’re just publishing some napkin material to remember our conversations. But I think we felt last night that our thesis is going more in the direction of motivation and superpowers than toward the talking helmet. We are in no way giving up on the helmet. However, maybe it will play a smaller role than we initially thought.

4 thoughts on “Mobilizing Superpowers

  1. don’t think of pivots as the failure/abandonment of the initial idea, but the refinement of it to a point where its material form is no longer sufficient to express its core qualities. *wink wink wink*

  2. I second Tina’s comment. I’ve been trying to find the balance of influence of audience, content and form with my thesis. You have a well-defined audience, so will your content help determine what the form will be, talking helmet or otherwise? Also, what exactly do you mean by “how to get people in touch with their human superpowers through biking”? What superpowers are you referring to? Can you include in your thesis all the things that happen around biking that make for a pleasant experience, aside from the biker themself? Their biking environment, how they interact with their surroundings and how that physically/mentally affects their ride?

  3. I love the idea of granting superpowers to riders. Riding, of course, feels like flying, so I can see this as a logical first step. Animal Superpowers ( augmented our senses with that of animals—a giraffe’s elevated vision for example. Usman Haque—another Talk to Me alum—granted flight to residents of Toronto earlier this year: The takeaway for me, is, props count.

  4. You’ve really done an amazing job in documenting your process. It is incredible to read through these entries and know the ins and outs of each conversation had or experiment done.

    Making more videos sounds like a promising endeavor. I would try to be as specific as possible when choosing topics or areas for more videos because as you stated, they do take up a lot of time between the shooting and the editing.

    It seems that you are moving in the direction of changing people’s behaviors. Maybe check out some social psychology articles to gain insight into techniques that make this possible (because it is very hard to do). Can’t wait to see how this continues on!