Welcome to the Innovation Hub!

Who are our students, and how is the world changing for them?

Innovation Hub Logo: A yellow piece of paper is crumbled up, with added doodles that make it resemble a lightbulb.These are the questions that underlie our work. The University of Toronto Innovation Hub is an institution-wide initiative that partners with internal divisions, departments, and student organizations to conduct empathy-based research that deepens our understanding of the student experience, so that we can design with students rather than for students.  Situated within the university’s Division of Student Life, the Hub trains diverse and interdisciplinary teams of students who range from first year undergraduate to upper-year PhD in design thinking and other related methodologies to carry out this work.

What Do We Do?

Innovation is at the core of our work because we recognize that existing processes and systems no longer serve the student population in the way they did ten years ago. Using design thinking and ethnographic methods, we focus on generating insights for our partners that become the building  blocks for innovative student-centered solutions to challenging, often systemic problems. Our Five Domains of Innovation  give scope to the development of innovative strategies for improving the student experience on campus.  Our process is led and carried out by an interdisciplinary team of student staff and volunteers, with support from staff and faculty across the university.

The Innovation Process

A vector graphic of two hands shaking; one has a question mark within a speech bubble above it

1)   Collaborate:  We create partnerships across campus that  define our research questions.

A vector graphic of two minimalist human figures with speech bubbles above them, and a magnifying glass between them.2)   Empathize:  We use human-centred design and ethnographic research methods to understand the needs, goals, obstacles and context for our diverse student body.

A vector graphic of a target with an arrow sticking from the centre.3)   Define: We analyze the data for recurring insights and patterns to clarify student needs and inform the definition of the problem(s).

A vector graphic of three gears of differing sizes, with a lit up lightbulb in the largest gear4)   Ideate: We ideate innovative solutions to our partner’s challenges and provide a comprehensive report of our research and findings.

A vector graphic of a paper prototype and a pencil5)   Prototype and Test: We enable low-fi prototypes of design solutions to be user-tested in collaboration with our partners.


See some of our current projects here!

Get Involved

The Innovation Hub is always looking for members of the UofT community to collaborate with. We offer a range of opportunities with varying levels of involvement:

Image with link to information for how students can get involved.  Image with link to information for how staff & faculty can get involved.  Image with link to information for how student organizations can get involved.  Image with link to how to submit a project idea directly to the Innovation Hub. Image with link to our blog.