Fixing Philly schools with 5 senses

 A structured brainstorming session will be held tonight at the offices of ad agency Allen & Gerritsen. (Photo courtesy of Allen & Gerritsen)

A structured brainstorming session will be held tonight at the offices of ad agency Allen & Gerritsen. (Photo courtesy of Allen & Gerritsen)

Because scent can fix Philadelphia’s public schools.

“We all get an opportunity to be really wacky, and dreamy, and out-there with our ideas — and why not? Given the crisis situation that our schools are in,” said Natalie Nixon, the organizer of a Service Jam being held tonight under the DesignPhiladelphia banner.

The idea is to convene thinkers from various corners of the public sphere: Adel Abeid of the city’s Office of Innovation & Technology, Alex Hillman of coworking space Indy Hall, Phil Charron of design firm Think Brownstone.

Nixon, the director of the Strategic Design MBA program at Philadelphia University, will lead a “structured brainstorming” session, relying on design thinking to draft fixes for an ailing school system.

But here’s the catch: potential solutions have to be rooted in one of the five senses — sight, touch, scent, taste and hearing.

No one knows what to expect. Nixon says there’s time for practicality later.

“The objective is to come away at the end of this three-hour workshop with some high-level, conceptual, creative ideas about innovating Philly’s public school system,” she said.

About 30 people are expected to attend. “Subject matter experts” — a teacher, a parent, a student — are also expected to be on hand.

The Service Jam happens tonight, from 6-9 p.m., at the Center City offices of Allen & Gerritsen (formerly the Neiman Group). Tickets are available here.

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