Building connections with

the RCA alumni 

 We managed to do a Design Sprint during a pandemic.

We worked from all different parts of the world, at crazy hours and trying to conduct field research remotely.

It was difficult and not everything went smoothly, but we had a lot of fun!

Week #1:  discovery

– Current experience

– Identify  stakeholders

– Benchmarking and inspiration

Week #2: define

– Define areas for improvement

– Set up work streams

– Contact stakeholders

Week #3: develop

– Brainstorming ideas

– Map out new journeys

– Identify requirements

Week #4: prototype

– Develop target journey

– Create vision and blueprint

– Presentation

Week 1 – Discovery

We started to map out our journey as RCA students and interview alumni from different years.

” I’m happy to help students … I usually do mentoring”

” I would meet students and that network grew…I was able to connect people to other people”

Interview alumni +7 years

Interview alumni +4 years

Week 2 – Define

Once we gathered the initial information we defined our areas for improvements based on the interviews we conducted in week 1.

Emotional connections

Willingness to give back


Utilizing space and resources


Only formal gatherings which are intimidating

We gathered information about all stakeholders involved and talked to everyone that could give us a better understanding of their roles. It was interesting to hear how they all had the same vision but had difficulty executing it because of multiple obstacles (time, budgeting, resources). We kept seeing the potential of using alumni to fill in that gap, but we needed a way of involving them.

Week 3 – Develop

This was the fun part, we brainstormed ideas on digital platforms such as Mural and Miro. After each brainstorming session, we took the time to analyze and further develop the best ideas to see where we could build a new strategy.

New ideas and patterns emerged after the brainstorming sessions.

We kept in mind our three main areas to improve and clustered ideas around them.

Emotional connections

Buddy system/mentorship between alumni


Events and meeting held in RCA spaces that are not being used


Creating a yearly theme that guides the events

Week 4 – Prototype

We worked on creating a workshop to validate our direction and ideas. This was held with 6+ alumni from different graduating years. 

Service design Hub

Final delivery

A digital and physical space for alumni, students and tutors to connect. 

We thought about creating a guide book to help new students and alumni to get into their new role. This guide is full of tips on how to manage time, decide the events, spaces available and who to contact depending on the type of actions.

A digital main version is also available. This allows you to update and change it to make it more and more functional year after year.


• Collection of data of previous years & events

• Provides information and steps to current Rep

• It can be adapted depending on RCA environment

What are the actions to achieve this?

We know we need to first collect data of all the alumni: who are they and where are they know.
The next step is to organize the information and then use it to continue with our vision of involving the alumni back into the RCA system.

What went wrong

” You do not learn anything by doing everything right ”

Mistake #1

We were to focus on gathering information and got stuck in the research phase. Since the topic was so vast we felt the need to hear from everybody.


Understand which are your main stakeholders before interviewing all of them! And don’t waste time with a full interview, sometimes you just need to ask a few questions. Send them an email with your questions and see if that is enough. If not, then reach out and ask clarification.


Mistake #2

We were not realistic with our time. Everyone was working on multiple other projects and Covid did not help! So other tasks got in the way and caused delays.


Just be honest and say that you will not have 100% time and energy to dedicate to a project instead of being optimistic and sacrifice yourself. People will understand 🙂


Mistake #3

A few weeks after we received an email saying that our free trial on Mural was over. We lost our research.


Screenshot everything for the love of god! We had to pay one month of the subscription fee to download the pdf…in the end everything worked out, but that email gave us a few white hairs :O

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