Meet the Innovation Hub Team!

Headshot of smiling woman with red hair in grey topBy Julia Smeed, Innovation Hub Project Lead

A year ago I would have never imagined that I’d be taking on the Innovation Hub project.  I feel that leading the Innovation Hub is the best job at U of T!  I love to see how people from diverse backgrounds and with a wide range of life experiences can come together to create change.  To me, the spirit of innovation is really in the collaboration and creativity of talented people coming together and each contributing in a unique way.  We are living in an age where technology and ideas are moving faster than we can and it is so hard to keep up with the innovation and disruption that exists all around us.  Yet one thing that technology can never replace is that creative spark that happens when like minded people come together with a common purpose. Continue reading “Meet the Innovation Hub Team!”

Innovation & Entrepreneurship – A Place to Start

Headshot of smiling woman with red hair and glasses in blue and white striped top

By Carey Toane, UofT’s Entrepreneurship Librarian & Innovation Hub Ambassador

I hear a lot about innovation in my work. As entrepreneurship librarian at U of T, I work with startups on campus, whether they are taking a course, or enrolled in one of nine campus linked accelerators, or commercializing their graduate research, or working away in stealth mode in their dorms. These students are highly motivated, taking on the “drinking from a firehose” experience of starting a company on top of regular studies and other responsibilities. It’s incredibly inspiring to hear about their ideas and help them find information to support their pitch decks. Continue reading “Innovation & Entrepreneurship – A Place to Start”

The Ambassador Meetings

Headshot of smiling young man with short brown hair in olive green shirtBy Taylor Stinson Student Co-Leader, Whole Student Development Domain

The Ambassador meetings were a time and place to meet, bridge and connect with our new coworkers, the Innovation Hub Ambassadors.  Walking into the room I see a number of faces of people I met with in the previous weeks. The clear enthusiasm they bring is warm and comforting.  The meeting format is similar to the Innovation Hour format. Continue reading “The Ambassador Meetings”

October Innovation Hours

Over the next two weeks we’re calling on students, faculty, staff and U of T community members to join us in creating a map of the U of T ecosystem as it relates to our five domains of innovation.  We need your help!

The Innovation Hour is a great opportunity to come together with like-minded students, staff, faculty and community members who wish to create a more seamless student experience at University of Toronto.

October Innovation Hours will be hosted in the Baldwin Room, main floor of the Cumberland House (33 St. George St.)  Mark your calendar for the upcoming Innovation Hours:

  • Tuesday October 18th from 9:00am – 10:00am
  • Thursday October 27th from 10:00am – 11:00am


Colourful tree made up of small icons of globe, pencil, etc.

Our Student Life Staff World Cafe

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By Ling Lam Student Co-Leader, Future Ready Students Domain

The Innovation Hub was the topic up for discussion at Student Life’s Themed Agenda Meeting on September 20, 2016. This was an amazing opportunity for the Student Leaders of the Innovation Hub to meet with staff members from various departments within Student Life. With the intention of gathering the insight of various staff members of Student Life, our team decided to facilitate a World Café styled meeting. In this style of meeting, each staff member would rotate through a cycle of four tables, each with a question related to the Innovation Hub.

The four questions discussed were:

  1. What questions do you have about the Innovation Hub?
  2. How might we creatively capture evidence/data/stories of the current student experience?
  3. What do we need to unlearn in order to improve the University of Toronto student experience?
  4. What is an example of a UofT student experience that stands out to you?

Using these questions, we were able to generate a great amount of discussion in the room. While each question touched on a different topic, there were some common threads that weaved their way through all of them:

  • Each UofT student is an incredibly unique, complex, intersectional being. There is not just one student experience that can encompass the all of the stories of our diverse student body.
  • Innovation should not be a top-down process – we need to work collectively and build up in order to truly improve the student experience.
  • There is enormous value to be gained from “reverse mentoring” – we need to ensure that we are listening to students and what they have to say about their experience at UofT.
  • In collecting data, there is a tendency of only capturing the voices of those who are successful and willing to participate. We must figure out how to access the voices of students who experience struggle and remain unheard.
  • It is important for staff to recognize that their own student experience is likely different than that of current students.

I was thankful that I had the opportunity to lead the discussion topic 4 (what is an example of a UofT student experience that stands out to you). I believe that so much value is contained within people’s stories – there is so much to be learned through lived experience. Hearing each of the staff members share, it was interesting to hear such a wide array of stories. While success stories were told, it was the stories of students who experienced challenges that stood out to me.

It was reassuring to connect with staff members that recognize how each and every one of us goes through a unique journey at UofT. I could not agree more that our experiences cannot be summarized in one story; there isn’t a magical formula that will generate “success”. I know that my experiences at UofT have differed greatly from the experiences of those of my friends and colleagues. As part of the Innovation Hub, this World Cafe deepened my resolve to find ways of ensuring more students find their stride at UofT and beyond.

We greatly appreciated Student Life’s willingness to share their experiences and knowledge. As we move forward, we will continue to keep each of these meaningful considerations in mind!