Group Project - 2013

[4 week sprint ]

Art Center College of Design


Proposed timeline - 2023

Field of Play


A profitable, future after-school program model addressing shifting parent needs, technology, and worklife.



My role included trendscraping and analysis, team creative alignment, subject interviews (parents, SMEs) and presentation writing and pitching.

Customer story: The Logan family

The Logans' profile is based on discoveries and pain-points from interviews with several different families in our target demographic.

This is the Logan family.  John is a business exec, and Brenda, an entertainment lawyer, both highly educated and motivated.

They work over 50 weeks a year, and, though they like their jobs, like many parents they face the catch-22 of trying to provide for the children they love, by working in careers that don’t allow enough time to spend with them.

Their son, Henry, is 10 years old. Digital native isn’t even a term anymore; Henry is simply connected, all the time, seamlessly to friends and social portals.   The private school he attends has a rigorous curriculum, where all the books are digital, and standardized tests and homework take up much of the day.


Their world has become exponentially competitive.  Money and GPA don’t even equate to a place in top schools, and businesses are increasingly looking to enroll and hire those with something called “character”.

Insight into opportunity

Socializing has become a passive, clickable pastime of convenience. Henry does have friends, but without the benefits of much physical interaction and engagement.

The Logans know that it is a crucial time for Henry to start making value-based goals, and understanding the connection between work and reward, thereby ingraining the cyclic habits of success.

The Logans think about Henry’s future and do what they can to ensure his success. For a future that is less and less predictable, this means teaching him how to quickly overcome obstacles and seize opportunities as they arise.

Treehouse is a workshop where kids build and make stuff they love, at a state of the art facility, guided by experts who know the crafts kids want to learn.  


It connects kids to what they want to do, while structuring it in a project based learning intensive that instills in them crucial social skills and collaboration tools, and shows them goal oriented paths to success.

Treehouse, clubhouse, workshop

Learning while creating what they love

Kids choose from 3 different branches offered per semester to experiment with subjects like digital story craft, toy design, and game development.

Currently, Henry is in the semester long fall workshop, where he’s doing digital story crafting. Kids are challenged to make their own short pieces in a specific genre.

They learn the process of breaking down the their individual scene into assets...

...shooting the scenes...

...creating a backdrop and scenery...

...animating the CG characters...

...and editing them together.

In this process, Henry learns how to tackle a complex problem, one that needs people to get done. He understands the need, and effectiveness, of being able to enlist the help of others. By working in teams, Henry’s gaining key social skills that will get him an advantage in high school and beyond.

With his teammates, Henry rotates through roles like writer/director, cinematographer, and editor, each in turn collaborating on each one another's short pieces.

Set in a converted 7000 square foot commercial space, the Treehouse is built out in way that’s conducive for kids creativity, while making them feel like they’re part of the coolest club on the planet.  


Treehouse is open to kids every weeknight from 5-8, with guided expert interaction 3 nights per week, and one additional weekend workshop.  Technology allows experts to interact from anywhere.  It also lets kids work with friends in other areas, or group with team members in a different city.


It’s staffed by great peer mentors that guide and help the kids, at a 10 to 1 ratio.

The right market for the expenditure

Subjects like making a toy, or game design, digital storytelling, are an ideal way for kids to skillsets that will prepare them for future careers in anything.  It also keeps their interest, because it’s what the kids want to do.  But it’s not about the subject matter.  It’s about kids learning to work together in a special club and see the accomplishment they can achieve. 


Henry knows that he is part of something special, something sought after.  When you belong to Treehouse, you belong.  Kids learn how to make something together, in order to be able to tackle just about anything.



Research, ideation, and aligning 

on the right idea

Getting on the same page


Reflective of a process of collaboration and and the vitality of alignment, much of the work for this project, and often the hardest work in general, was coming to consensus on not just the 'big idea', but the strong base of 'why'. We interviewed parents and school adminitstrators, immersed in trend scanning, conducted workshops and meetings to oncover a strong solution.  I worked hard to encourage full group participation, remove hurdles in the design process, and help keep on a critical track to meet our stated goals.

Future wheels


Part of the process was to cross different data, trends and future scenarios together for new discoveries.

© 2020 Alexander Livingston