Samsung #NotASchool 2020- My Experience as an Architech- Respecting Individual Differences Online

Samsung’s Not a School (NAS) is a creative problem-solving course tackling today’s biggest social challenges. Usually the course is carried out at Samsung KX (Kings Cross), but due to covid19 the course was administered online using Bluejeans and FutureLearn. But the Samsung team were great, in that, they delivered free Samsung Tablets to our homes (to help you complete the course you are given a free Samsung Tablet).

This year’s course covered four main themes which were Respecting Individual Differences Online (How a difference of opinion can bring us closer together online?, Turning Anxiety Climate Into Positive Action (How can technology unlock activism in everyone?), Solving Inequality in Education (How can technology allow us all to be ‘educators’?) and finally Building Human Connection in a Digital World (How can we use technology to end isolation?). The course I took part in was Respecting Individual Differences Online from Monday 14 September – Friday 25 September 2020. The courses are targted at 18- 25 year olds living in the UK, from any background.

Application Process:

I heard about the Not A School course from B+A last year, but this year I came across it on LinkedIn and decided to apply for the programme. The application was very simple; especially the types of questions which were asked. I had the impression that the application is designed to understand how you think about topics in order to place you into the right cohort as there are four topics covered on the course. My best advice is: have honest answers in the application process, take your time to fill it out and most important be yourself!

A few weeks later, I received an email stating that I was successful- which I was the over the moon about!

The Course:

The course was very insightful, from hearing from guest speakers to hearing from my peers about their own lived experiences. The question that my cohort tackled was “How can difference of opinion bring us closer together online“, we had supportive mentors who really helped us break apart the question to have a better understanding of it. I chose to answer the question from a career’s perspective and my solution, in essence, to the brief focused on tangible ways that leading companies can ensure their talent pipeline is more diverse.

Before even creating the solution, we took part in design sessions. For instance Samsung’s Design Thinking session where we learnt how important it is to have the user’s needs at the forefront of everything we do, especially in devising our solution. The 5 stages of design we looked at were empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test. We also learnt about the 5 Why’s- which is asking why 5 times to have a more comprehensive understanding of one’s thought process.

In addition, to working on the brief we had many expert sessions topics such as the power of unity was discussed and how to demonstrate empathy online.

We also had a quote of the day segment and a quote that stood out for me was “cultural differences should not separate us from each other, but rather cultural diversity brings a collective strength that can benefit all of humanity” – Robert Ala

The course took me on a journey to reflect more about what “difference” of opinion online truly is, and how to build bridges with people regardless if I agree with their opinion or not. We also learnt how the use or lack of use of emojis can convey a tone online which can come across as disrespectful to others.

In one of the sessions we reflected on ways we could communicate better. For instance, being more intuitive about our actions and considering: “how does my tone sound?”, “am I choosing the right words?”, and “how am I making the other person feel?” But of course with balance as we still have our unique personalities at the end of the day.

Overall, the course I took part in was very insightful. It helped me to become more aware of my actions and how it can impact others. It also made me appreciate differences more and to understand that differences does not have to divide, when actually it can unite.

-Sarah Nganwuchu, Samsung #NotASchool Alumni 2020 ~ Respecting Individual Differences Online

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