Deep Dive Series for Exploring Careers, Interests and Passions

A deep dive series covering different products, services, etc. end-to-end to help students discover their passions.

Photo of Veronica Lin
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UPDATED IDEA - see the full idea here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B58iixORgV-WYVV0TlZkTjdydDg/view?usp=sharing

The Issue: Only 30% of survey participants know what they want to study in college and what they want to do afterwards.

A deep-dive series provides viewers with a “behind-the-scenes” look at something: a profession, a scientific theory, a court case, a company, an individual, a place in the world, or even a food dish. Each season would cover one product, service, or company, and each episode would cover one phase of the process by doing a “deep-dive” into a role. Each episode has 3 components: 

  1. EXPERT INTERVIEWS: ask questions, crowdsourced from high school students, during an on-site interview
  2. STUDENT PANELS: gather a few high school students to participate in an interactive question-answer session with a facilitator
  3. GETTING INVOLVED: provide recommendations for interested viewers (i.e. “if you found this episode about engineering interesting, look for a local robotics club!”); use weekly challenges or trivia questions, proposed by the interviewed professional, to get users involved

Why a deep dive series?

  • ENGAGING | By leveraging entertainment platforms, we can meet high school students where they are and convey information about careers, professions, and disciplines in a fun, engaging way. 
  • ACCESSIBLE | A deep dive series automatically lowers the barrier to entry - it’s a free, familiar platform that helps spread ideas and knowledge that may not otherwise be accessible to everyone.
  • FEASIBLE | Because each season would focus on one specific product or service, companies have a "free marketing” incentive to collaborate with us and contribute to content creation.
  • SOCIAL | This can appeal to a wide audience and doesn’t isolate users. They can watch with their families and friends, and can share their thoughts through a variety of platforms.

What we've done so far:

Survey: We created and administered a survey to gather information about what current high school students are thinking when it comes to future professions and what they’d be interested in learning more about. The survey served as a proof of concept, and responses were used to inform the design and development of this idea. See the PDF for more visuals and a summary of survey results.

Moving forward:

A deep dive series can be an engaging, accessible, feasible, and social solution to help students discover and grow their passions.

THE NEXT STEP: finding companies who are interested in helping us create content, and crowdsourcing more questions from students. 

After a successful first season, the deep dive series could include even more ways to get students involved:

  • hold weekly challenges at the end of each episode that could involve a trivia question posted by the interviewed professional. (i.e. “Hey fans! Who knows the name of the designer who designed the Apple logo?” An engaging method for cultivating curiosity.
  • hold school competitions where high schools across the country can form teams and create mini-episodes, which are then posted online and voted for by the show’s fans. The winning school gets an opportunity to participate in a future episode. Creates a social aspect, fosters school pride, and encourages collaboration and engagement.
  • hold individual competitions at the end of each season, where fans can submit entries (like a science fair) and the winner gets a scholarship to be used towards college. A great way to inspire kids to take action, get “off the couch,” and apply what they saw to get their hands dirty and explore what they might love.

Thank you to The Teacher’s Guild, IDEO, partners, and all of our survey participants, mentors, and collaborators.

Questions and comments, please contact: Veronica Lin | vlin@wellesley.edu

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ORIGINAL IDEA

I have yet to hear a negative comment about the Serial podcast - besides the fact that it’s “too addicting” and distracts people from doing other things - and let’s face it, almost everyone uses and appreciates Netflix. 60 Minutes is a similar idea... Combining the ideas behind these three platforms, which are especially appealing to many high school and college students, we could create a similar “deep dive” style series to cover a variety of careers, interests, and passions - everything from dentistry to art, rocket science to history. I’ve always been intrigued by deep dive videos, like the countless “behind-the-scenes” Steve Jobs films that have recently been released. Those, for example, gave viewers an intimate glimpse into one of the most secretive companies in the world, and helped people understand what it was like to work with, for, and as Steve Jobs. But that only covers the technology industry - what if we did the same thing for other professions?

Thinking about feasibility, the production of the series wouldn’t need to be quite as involved as the Serial podcast or 60 Minutes - we could crowdsource video footage from people willing to contribute, and could arrange informal interviews or chats (based on pre-submitted viewer questions maybe?) with leaders in their field. I’ve found my passion, but I would be SO interested to know what it’s like to be a Supreme Court Justice or a Macy’s store manager - their favorite and least favorite parts of their jobs, their strengths and weaknesses, experiences and mentors that have helped them get to where they are, what they’d do differently. And what better way really, than using an entertainment platform that is already familiar and popular with the target user group?

My inspiration / background: I consider myself lucky - growing up, I had many ambitious and knowledgeable role models in my parents, cousins, and siblings. They exposed me to range of careers, from finance to medicine to biotech research to engineering, and I developed an understanding of what their day-to-day was like, what responsibilities they had, the pros and cons of their occupations, and best of all, what it took to get there. I arrived at college with a rough idea of what I wanted to do, but didn’t find my true passion until three years later. Fortunately, once I found my passion (hint: technology + education), I knew exactly what kind of information I needed to pursue it, and quickly started gathering advice, building a network, and slowly but surely making my way towards my goals. However, I know this isn’t the case for everyone - for many of my peers, and even for myself at one point, it was easy to feel lost and burnt out with school if there's no clear reason why you’re attending classes and doing homework. And once you find your so-called “passion,” it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, confused, and helpless about where to begin. This idea could be a potential solution for helping people find excitement in their lives - as Debbie Sterling said, “When you’re truly passionate about your work, it stops being work” - and to give them an idea of what it will take and how to get started.

Thinking even further: Maybe it could be an “interactive” deep dive series, in that communities and networks are formed around specific passions. For instance, going back to the Steve Jobs example, maybe a variety of engineers employed by companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc. volunteer to contribute video footage, interviews, answers, and even mentoring students who might be interested in similar roles. And then students can also engage with other students who want to explore similar passions, and they can support each other (perhaps collaborate on projects under mentors, to get a feel for what it would really be like) to really experience and grow their passions. The deep dive series would be an excellent starting point to draw people in and help students discover which areas they're passionate about, and then perhaps it could direct users to passion groups/networks - but the main idea of this idea is the series itself to expose students to a variety of professions, interests, etc.

Have a doc or slides that you're collaborating in? Link it here.

visual PDF - https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B58iixORgV-WYVV0TlZkTjdydDg/view?usp=sharing
survey - http://goo.gl/forms/kLLxiIz4zg
collaboration document - https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uekHbbkitNBcSjDVN2EGdNJrdSSftbhnFOEUGsonItQ/edit?usp=sharing

Evaluation results

4 evaluations so far

1. Do you love this idea?

Yes! I love this idea! - 100%

Attachments (1)

Deep Dive Series for Finding Passions_Veronica Lin_v1.pdf

Includes user personas and lots of visuals to detail the deep dive series idea.

6 comments

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Photo of Pete Kale
Team

I really love this idea. What I think would help advance it is creating a prototype to make it more 'real'. At this early stage, a storyboard could be really effective. You might consider putting together a 'sample' episode or two using a storyboarding tool like storyboardthat.com. Even better would be an actual video production. You'd be able to get to questions like, what formats work best to convey the experience of a particular profession, and what kinds of issues seem to be key in differentiating where the passions lie for deciding one's life pursuit. You could also compare the crowdsourced approach with a more crafted point of view to see the best that each offers.

Photo of Veronica Lin
Team

Pete Kale Thanks for the support and suggestions!! Love your last point about comparing crowdsourcing vs "expert" (for lack of a better word) - I'm creating a survey to send to my younger brother, who is a junior in high school, and some of his friends - let me know if you'd be able to pass it on to anyone of a similar age, or perhaps I could make a different version for professionals. I was thinking that it'd be a good way to get "real" data on what made people decide on their profession, what aspects students would be interested in hearing about, etc. What do you think?

And yes, creating a storyboard is on my list of things to do :)

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