When the word “innovation” comes up, it usually refers to technological changes that make life more convenient: computers, smart phones, driverless cars. In equity-related classes, we often talk about the inequalities between the people who can afford such new innovations and the majority of the world, and we criticize innovation for focusing too much on capitalist notions of efficiency.
Two of my favourite innovation stories come from industries that seem very different to our educational context, but can inspire some creative thinking on some of those shared values that we strive for: it’s all about good service and a great experience.
As a recent graduate from the University of Toronto, I know first hand how intimidating and confusing the school can be. While experiencing services and opportunities that are offered was one of the highlights of my time at school, navigating the student experience at the University of Toronto can easily be overwhelming.
That’s where the Innovation Hub comes in.
One of the strengths of the Innovation Hub is its flexibility; the way we can adapt our process to fit the users (i.e. the students). Our goal is to inform our process while gathering information to continuously inform our process. Clear as mud? Probably. The process of innovation that we are embarking upon is quite unique to many processes we are familiar with. Our usual methods of data collection are carefully planned and meticulously executed; however can we really capture our ever-changing student population by narrowly defining what we want to capture? Or might it be interesting to instead tailor our tools to discover how students are captured best. While we don’t want our parameters to be constrictive, parameters are certainly helpful…especially when embarking on a series of student interviews.