Gabriella Levine

ongoing and past work

Unreasonable at Sea day 12

Right now we are stuck at port in Honolulu, it will have been more than 24 hours, but unfortunately we are not allowed off the boat, because we were just supposed to stop here to refuel and pick up mail from the post master at the port. But we are not leaving because of rough seas ahead… hehe. I wish we did leave ! Because I like swells.

You can tell that the waves will be big because the librarians have strapped down the books to the bookshelves:


-I guess people were even informed to REALLY stock up on sea sickness meds… lets see how I feel later on! Because I do not like taking preventative medecine. Anyway, we took off at around lunch time; It was neat taking off – there were tons of whales bopping around the water – well, what I see is spurts of water and small body parts popping up out of the water. Sort of neat.

Here’s the tug boat pulling us out of the cove.

Last land in sight:


So today, Workshop 5:
Our scheduled free day is actually on our international daytime lost day: in other words, we lose january 21st; there is no Monday; we skip the day.
So our 22nd and 25th are free days; the 21st does not exist for us
Too bad it is Pedro’s birthday!


TO DO: figure out getting on intranet and semesteratsea email

Introduced to the new learning partners: 2 from nike foundation, and 1 from microsoft xbox

George, on Reflections:

So, I’m not sure the best way to go about writing a reflection. The first things that come to mind are all the things I actually, like, NEED to take care of: bookkeeping, email Iliya, finish writing for blue trail, write up the course description, do some cinder, take care of all my own receipts and invoices, ugh. But what about the way things have gone during the time I was focused on the NOW, and what I was actually doing?

The good things that stand out: When I do things that are super involved, it is good. Driving a jeep off road was perfect. so glad I did so. I love off road driving now :)

Seeing a beach mottled in rainbow plastic – wow. That is a crazy thing to see, sand that is not rock but plastic debris from fishing trash. I thought it sort of, like, got lost at sea. But I guess a lot of it doesn’t get lost at sea, it washes ashore. The really cool thing too was that the beach was so teeming with wildlife – I took some photos of rocks under water and I found that, amazingly, there were amazing colorful fish IN my photos, little did I expect!

To me it feels like we are doing the best to make our time useful, to meet people who might put autonomous sailing robots to use, and to try to find insight about what type of instrumentation might be good for Proteis. But we are not trying to market to mass consumers, nor to big industry, just trying more to do grounds work and talk to locals. It is an interesting experience to see what the outcomes of the goals are even though I don’t know yet.

The design workshops are quite interesting to me, I need to find a balance between taking initiative and stepping back because sometimes I feel I stay too far in the sidelines. I cannot tell. But I think the thing I like most about what we are doing are the design thinking workshops and the hands on running around (i.e. driving 4 wheel drive off road to the beaches and stuff). The design thinking workshops I hope will impact me in all sectors of life, but I find I especially need help with: making a story; giving that HOOK that George talks about; making a story that sticks. Now I don’t feel like I can do it alone or write compelling stories or wording. I have sort of taken in a lot and vomited it back up, but how can i do it alone for new stories or different stories? How can I continue to practice this at all times? in various aspects and projects I’m to work on? Or on a day to day basis?

To try: try to do this on a daily basis with small stories and goals for little code related projects (arduino, c++);

How would I want to spend my time differently in Japan?
maybe a clearer goal would be good but at the same time i am finding value in just “seeing” what happens, with a few goals in mind; Perhaps it will be good to think about if there are connections I should make that are a bit OUTSIDE the box, outside of what I’m thinking. I am contacting friends from places that aren’t necessarily directly related to Protei. Japan will be a lot of being guided by Cesar because he knows it well; but what about places more foreign to me? Vietnam? Burma? How will this work where the schedule is a bit looser and less directed?

help us reflect and stuff, and publish it for others to see

Questions about marketing & communications: in the folder UNREASONABLE SOCIAL MEDIA AND COMMONS PRESTO…

Ways to increase your communications
to the public
to our team
to ourselves
to our investors/future investors

–>So basically, write a reflection now that will go on the blog
Here is my reflection:

Start here:

Reflections of UnreasonableAtSea day 0-11

What is a reflection, firstly?

Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 11.16.32 AM

Ok I’m going to go with definition 2, a serious thought or consideration, an expressed idea about something; Well, quite broad, but I guess I shall dive in and express my ideas about Unreasonable at Sea, day 0 through 11:

One thing that I am trying to get used to is patience – the learning will come. It is interesting to hear from the description of this project and the captain of this ship, the MV Explorer, say: you will be a changed person in 100 days. How nebulous a statement?! So just like, cruising around the world with some others on board will really make me a changed person?

And, in the UAS description, it said things like “you will be constantly working hard” and “you will be aggressively working”…

I am an impatient person and I like doing intense hands on problem solving work. So, my initial week was a hard adjustment. Because the work here is cerebral and slow. Slow, reflecting, feeding back, talking, problem solving, iterating; But not about rapidly prototyping and moving moving moving ahead. So what I am anticipating is a long intense journey laying ahead, that it will take weeks to begin to integrate.

What I am seeing is that I will be able to integrate this into all aspects of life. In unexpected ways. Here is one example: I am writing a course description, called Exploring Biomimetic Interfaces. This is meant to be a survey and a hands on workshop using nature-inspired designs. BUT: what I have spent a week learning from George is that the problem with one’s solutions very often is solving the wrong problem. For example, a ladder company is trying to solve a problem of allowing people to reach things too high for them to reach. But perhaps the solution is NOT to use a ladder. There are many other solutions: ask for help, wait until you grow 10 inches, get a stool, get an arm extension… Is a ladder really the best way? Out of context, it seems most practical, but perhaps not. So my question to myself was, How can I be teaching a solution (biomimetic designs), if what George seems to be presenting is how not to jump to solutions but always iterate and ideate through the problem solving and prototyping process in a cyclical way: learn about the problem, profoundly, using empathy, in order to really hone in on a possible solution.

Talking to George specifically about this was enlightening – the biggest takeaway is to iterate through that cycle of questioning the prototype : is it really the best solution? So, using nature as an inspiration for a design can still be the solution, but perhaps in order to more understand nature’s wisdom, this is what needs to be treated with empathy.

So, my goal is to try to comprehend and integrate design thinking into my life, across every aspect of my life: Protei, administration, decision making, social, honing in on goals, design prototying. But this is not going to happen from 1 class; and this is not going to happen in a week. This might happen through immersion in this experience, through relaxation and reflection, and through multiple iterations of challenges, on which I am forced to focus (i.e. pitching in front of large audiences).

PITCH # 1:
Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 1.29.54 PM

photo (3)

And here are our slides:

PechaKucha Protei pitch 1 from Gabriella Levine

The most challenging moments I have faced thus far have included the preceding times leading up to the two pitches we have done so far. The anticipation of getting up in front of a lot of people and pitching forces me to focus, hone in, write and tell a story, and learn the story. My goals are to: learn to tell a better story; learn that “platform tilt”, i.e. how to create the hook to really lure in people. I also hope to learn some practical skills about the things I don’t know and don’t want to focus on: strategy, business legal / admin, communications: these are things that are exciting but I hope that they come naturally so I can focus more on the technical work.

But, the Protei Prototypte that cesar built while in Van Couver has finally arrived, we got it onto the boat safely! What a success, because it was in a HUGE box and had some items that are not allowed on board (flammable resin, etc). So, that is so exciting, and I finally last night did some technical work here finishing a small electronics unit that we can put into the prototype as we get it ready to sail in the port of Yokohama.

NOW, onto the fun stuff, out in the wild:

CAR from gabriella levine on Vimeo.

From now to earliest:
My best memories so far are actually exploring in Hawaii. Getting and driving off road. It was the most exciting. I seem to thrive on adrenaline rushes, and do not get this often enough. Public speaking is nice, and the two times Cesar and I have presented Protei have gone quite well. I would like to become an even better public speaker and also, be able to learn to improvise more (rather than repreat the same thing over and over again when I am flustered.

But: my number one moment so far:
Driving out of Kamilo Beach road, after an awesome day, of only getting stuck in the sand once so far (see below), I was feeling a bit overconfident about speeding trough the volcanic dunes at full speed ahead. “I’ve been driving off on a pretty intense rocky road for 2 hours, now I’m pro!”. But, then I drove really off the off-road, it felt like I just climbed up a pile of rocks and sat crooked on a pile of volcanic mounds. I just missed the “road” because nothing really looked like “road”, so it seemed like I actually might be able just to roll backwards, off the pile of rocks that the Jeep Liberty was perched atop, That was when I thought, “OH no, we’re gonna miss the boat. we’re gonna be stuck here.” It was just a split second of fear, just a taste, but I noticed, as Matt got out of the car to try to find a rock to give the tires traction, my right leg on the gas (though not depressed), was shaking as it does when I am rock climbing. It is called Elvis leg in rock climbing terms, and as I do when climbing, I dropped my heel and decided that we’d be out of there in no time.

And that was probably the highlight moment of the trip so far. Regarding the “fun real world” time.

And, about an hour earlier: this is the first time we got stuck in the sand. It only happened because I tried to avoid running over a “rainbow gatherer” who was pretty much lounging spread out in the middle of the road. Granted the road was my interpretation of a more drive-able strip of sand in a massive sandy / rocky beach side. No real road to be seen. Anyway,


Also, the things we found along the way were way exciting:
like a lava tube!

More reflections:

Here’s where we went:

View Larger Map

The plastic beach, “Trash Beach”, Kamilo point beach, on the south eastern coast of the big island of Hawaii, was amazingly beautiful. It was mottled with plastic trash, polluting the seaside with a mixture of PET and Polyurethane, intermingling with the volcanic rock and sand. The entire beach was mottled with rainbow “sand”. What a beautiful creation of human trash.

And what is unclear to me is the impact. Does this kill sea turtles, albatross, fish, humans? Of course, I have seen the horror photos online like this one (cited here:


But there is still so much I don’t understand. The beach was teeming with life, healthy-seeming starfish and fish and snails. . I couldn’t believe it.





And a sea slug !!


For Protei, I am trying to do some what a similar learning endeavor: Come at it with a clean slate: part of a goal is to learn: Is it possible for a business with an IP model such as ours to actually survive self sustainable? And if so, how? Are our goals achievable of simultaneously: proliferating our technology through community involvements and contribution, in addition to creating an online hub of knowledge, as well as getting a viable product to the market?

And besides being around some of the most keen marketers, business professionals, idea – generators, men/women-of-action, I will have to see how much design thinking can really take Protei for a long ride.

class 1: what is it like working with real entrepreneurs
class 3: what is it like iterating through ideology – start with empathy and understand what the problems are. Then Practice that on a gift giving experience.

Get us ready for game time – practice with real projects – tackle a real project, in teams, for the next ten days as a way to practice these methods – use the time from here to japan, practice on something real;

So, today – form TEAMS then expos the project: teams of 3, get creative about this; have a solid foundation to begin working together
–>in 30 seconds each describe your super power and your kyrptonite; or what is one thing people get wrong about each other; or 2 truths and a lie

Three skills – create, manage, sell
-what are you best at?

Water – totally different experience while on board of the ship
There are some places along the journey where we cannot pick up new water – we can make our own water but it is super pricy and takes a ton of energy;
200 tons of water per day used on the boat; 234 liters / person / day is about what we are consuming; but the UN says that 50-100 liters are necessary for people; we are using so much more than needed here on this ship;
Daniel’s SAS ship ran out of water and he had no shower or toothbrush… hehe.

26th the final project is due; 24th prototype testing is due; 20th empathy and define is due; the 21st is GONE


Want to understand the HUMAN experience, an empathy experience; whose life do you want to make better? there are a lot of different stake holders; starting with empahty

WHO to engage?

examples: about water: the crew, the students, the kitchen staff; people with visibility – the staff who cleans the room
-others who know, in developing countries, how to conserve waters;
-EXTREME users
WHAT to do? what is the def. of empathy – feel / experience what THEY feel
-watching is often more insightful than talking so OBSERVE and ENGAGE

–>What does this girl need who is reaching up? a ladder and a stool is not a need; it is a solution: she needs to reach something higher – wait til she’s taller; mane she is not supposed to drink the whiskey she is grabbing for

So now George interviews Emily –
how do you usually get to the airport? my relatives drive me
how long does it take? 45 mins
how much would you pay if it was faster? I like going with my relatives so if they can take me I will go
-Take implicit and ask what is the explicit? what are they thinking and feeling?
How did you get to the ship and how did it go?
… And what happened?
how did that make you feel?
and what happens when you’re annoyed?
Story telling interview story: rapport, building, then down? i didn’t see.

Try a madlib: User needs a BLANK because BLANK

Empathy, observe and engage

–>Having an artifact is a great way to start something with a team; those might be the ways to communicate your stories; here is a point of view statement to share with the group;

who do we want to talk to : come up with a list , then decide from the list
then draft a prototype of open questions that might get some of those stories out; what would they be; tell me your favorite thing to do with water

And now some random photos:

Here is what I eat every day for lunch and dinner: salad with tabasco sauce:

Here’s the lunch room :



And some lovely neon bubbling decoration from sea water?

Cesar and I tried to plan a bit for the next few weeks and days, prioritizing our needs:
See our calendars here and our Japan plans.

Oh … and then, there was a photoshoot:

We all got head shots and 30 second pitch videos:

Then fireside chat with George.
At that point, I was quite tired.

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