What’s the Bigger Picture?

Shawn Park | 9/26/20

There is so much that I want to talk about when it comes to my experience at P33.

Even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, when the notion of “work” has shifted away from the office to the desk at home, I can proudly say that working with P33 Chicago this past summer has been one of the most formative experiences of my professional career and personal life. I’ve learned so much from the talented individuals behind the organization, but I wanted to focus my response today on what I believe were my two most important takeaways.

Be Confident and Flexible

P33 have been continuing to refine its long-term outcomes to create positive impact for Chicago. As a result, there needs to be a way to define what that impact is, and how to measure the shortterm progress of these outcomes. My task was to answer these questions by creating metrics for all of our different outcomes and representing them in a way useful to P33 and its stakeholders.

I understood from the beginning that the scope of my project this summer was incredibly large. P33 is ambitious and comprehensive in its initiatives to improve Chicago, which was one of the reasons why I was so eager to join this organization in the first place. On the flip side, this means that there was much to learn. Creating metrics for our talent initiatives, for example, means that I had to study the logistics behind Chicago’s talent pipeline, from K-12 Education to Executive Leadership. The same goes for the work behind ventures and deep tech; I had to understand not only what was happening within these fields, but also what P33 was focused on improving.

While creating my final product, a metrics library for P33 to keep track of their most important metrics in one centralized area, I had to grapple with many issues, such as choosing to add more functionality to the library versus simplifying the content for easier usability. I believe that I was able to complete this project by balancing my mindset of confidence and flexibility. Throughout the process, I was met with great feedback and constructive criticism for my representation of metrics data. It is thanks to my peers and mentors that I was able to deliver a stronger product with more confidence, and I will always remember their contributions in the work I presented.

What’s the Bigger Picture?

Throughout the internship, my supervisor Nuwan would always challenge me to ask myself: “What’s the bigger picture?” He would say that it is easy to see what the data might be saying in an absolute sense, but it is harder to ask oneself how this is relevant to the project at hand.

I think, however, that Nuwan’s message applies to more than just my work studying the metrics and data. When considering the bigger picture of my internship and perhaps of P33 in general, I feel blessed knowing that I had the opportunity to connect and collaborate with people who all ultimately want to help Chicago grow. My internship with P33 may be over, but my love for this amazing city has never been stronger. As we all take our next steps, I am eager to see how P33 will strive towards improving “the bigger picture”: a better Chicago.