For the final View from the Inside post of this semester, Sharon Lam reflects on how we share our insights at the Innovation Hub. To read more reflections from Sharon, click here.
One of the final stages of Innovation Hub projects is reporting on our findings. This may be in the form of written reports, but can also include presentations and visualisations. Depending on the project, the audience of partners and stakeholders receiving our insights differs, but in each case, we want to clearly convey our insights, so our partners can use them to ideate and prototype. We do this in the form of “Design Principles”—aspirational themes to inspire and guide our partners as they develop solutions. While reports, presentations, and design principles need to be accurate, they also need to be memorable and moving.
For Alternative Reading Week (ARW) last month, the Innovation Hub worked for three days with a group of students interested in design thinking, discussing design thinking principles, working through collaborative data analysis, and creating art to represent the themes we uncovered.
Solving the problems of an increasingly complex world requires the education of critical and creative thinkers. Empowering educators to develop students’ integrative thinking skills—to help students “face … the tension of opposing ideas and … generate a creative resolution … in the form of a new idea [that] … is superior to each”1—is essential to developing the next generation of students. The I-Think Initiative works with K-12 students and educators to teach integrative thinking practices and explicit thinking techniques, which participants use to tackle real-world problems. Similarly, at the university level, the Innovation Hub gives students the tools of design thinking to tackle issues in campus life. Together, we see a need to reframe education at all levels to reflect the challenges of the modern world.
Continuing the ViewfromtheInside series, Zahira Tasabehji reflects on the coding and data analysis process.
Zahira is studying Political Science, Psychology, and Education Studies at UTM. She’s passionate about transforming education, so her role at the Innovation Hub is the perfect place to use her leadership and creative skills to enhance the student experience!
Each cohort of students arrives at UofT with unique considerations and learning style preferences. Today’s students are digital natives; technology is a fundamental tool for socialization and self-improvement in their lives. Since students’ needs have changed, classrooms and teaching methods must adapt. A standard room with standard desks might not favour learning, while a standard lecture style might distract rather than inspire.
In the latest post of the View fromthe Insideseries, Celeste Pang discusses the Innovation Hub sessions on participant observation and alternative methods for data collection.
Celeste is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology. She works in ageing and health-related research, and brings extensive experience in ethnography to her role in the Innovation Hub, where she leads the Family Care Office design team.
“Watch and learn.”
As a researcher trained in anthropology, asking critical questions and learning through observation and participation—ethnography—is a skillset that takes years to build. Yet ethnographic research draws upon, and builds from, basic aspects of human sociality and relationship-making. We talk to people (often through informal or semi-structured interviews); we engage with our communities of study in their day-to-day life (participant observation); we build rapport (or relationships of trust); and we strive to be continually reflexive and aware of ongoing ethical issues and power dynamics in our work. We may be studying a community or an issue that touches us personally, or we may find ourselves further afield. Either way, we aim to “make the familiar strange.” We critically, deeply, and with attention to detail, hang out.
Since September, I’ve led the Innovation Hub team working to gather student insights about mental health in partnership with the Presidential and Provostial Task Force on Student Mental Health. I’d like to personally thank everyone who came to our events in September and provided us with your thoughts. We appreciate you. We heard you and your voices matter.
In January 2020, the Innovation Hub and the Centre for Learning, Leadership & Culture will launch a Design Thinking Experience Program for students and staff. Building on the success of the Innovation Hub’s student-exclusive design thinking bootcamps, this program will continue to address challenges in the student experience at UofT while providing participants with hands-on training in design thinking; moreover, it will bring staff and students together to encourage dialogue and broaden perspectives on what is possible at UofT.
Continuing the View from the Insideseries, we reflect on early weeks of the Design Thinking Experience Program, in which we discussed participant interviews and transcription.
In this post, we hear from Max Yaghchi, Writer. Max is a PharmD candidate volunteering with the Innovation Hub.
In September and early October, the Innovation Hub team was trained in participant interviewing, interview transcription, and participant de-identification. We want to generate data that will help us improve the student experience, while protecting participants from potential repercussions due to their involvement.
By Sujaya Devi, Design Research Team Lead (Student Life), and Cynthia Zheng, Writer
Each student’s journey through the university is unique. Yet most students spend a significant amount of time on campus—going to classes, studying at the library, hanging out with friends—and the services, resources, and student services at the university play a crucial role in their experiences. Among other services, the Division of Student Life handles Health and Wellness, the Centre for International Experience, the Career Centre, Academic Success, and Housing, and thus it provides a space for students to get support and strengthen skills, including mentorship, leadership, and time management.