10 May 2007

KaosPilots' Admission Workshop

As I mentioned before, I was able to observe the KaosPilot Admission Workshop (AW) in Ã…rhus, Denmark. Living up to their reputation, the KaosPilots put on an AW that was fun, unexpected, and a bit chaotic--definitely a breath of fresh air. The structure of the process made excellent use of a great deal of extremely creative thinking about getting to know applications ("test-pilots," as they're called), and while I think their evaluation methodology is flawed in some ways, I also think it's both courageous and corrigible.

I can't give away too much here, but I can say that the AW consists in a series of team-based activities designed to create opportunities for test-pilots to showcase their creativity, aptitude for leadership, and personal courage. Also, while the final decisions are made by KaosPilot staff, it's the first-year students who act as the frontline evaluators. The students' recommendations are generally determinative for admission.

My role, which I was honored to perform, was to act as part of the "Evaluation Team" (also composed of students), which tries to evaluate the efficacy of individual evaluation activities as well as the entire process arc. I found the experience both stimulating and inspiring--I ended up writing a 5,000-word memo detailing my impressions. While I wouldn't exactly say that the KaosPilots opened my eyes to what's possible (their innovative activities resemble strikingly some of the educational activities and projects I've designed myself), they definitely showed me that the key ingredients for creating something new are passion, courage, and faith. I can only hope to emulate them in this regard.