Monday, July 14, 2008

826 Valencia

The 826 Valencia tutoring program Dave Eggers started in San Francisco is about writing skills but, as each storefront tutoring location opened across the country, the founders used the creativity of design thinking.

826 Valencia is an after school tutoring program in the back but has a store front that is a working Pirate Supply Store where you can purchase planks by the foot, scurvy remedies, peg legs, eye patches, replacement eyes and anything else a working buccaneer might need.

The New York (Brooklyn) version has a Superhero Supply Store (left) complete with capes and secret identity kits. The Chicago version is the Boring Store with all kinds of reasons you wouldn't want to go in (because it is secretly a Spy Supply Store and the spies can't have others see them inside). LA's version of 826 is a Time Travel Store where a sign on a vending machine says "Out of Order - Come Back Yesterday". The Seattle 826 has a Space Travel store where you can buy gravity by the pound. The Boston 826 has a Sasquatch Research Institute. The new Ann Arbor, Michigan 826 is a Robot Repair and Supply Store (right) for robots who might be seeking spare parts or an implant of emotions.

These are after school tutoring programs for writing. Imagine the fun if design students created their own imaginary theme stores in their schools.

Click on the heading above to see a video of Dave Eggers at the TED conference.

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