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.
What is Design Thinking?
In September I introduced you to the Innovation Hub project and explained how we are working on developing innovative solutions to improve the student experience at the University of Toronto. In this post I’ll describe the method we are using to innovate. At the Innovation Hub we are using a “design thinking” approach. This approach has its roots at IDEO, David Kelley’s global design firm, where techniques used to design products were applied to the design of organizational operations and services. You may not have heard of IDEO but you’ve likely been in contact with their design innovations. Among other things that IDEO has patents on are the Apple mouse, laptop computer hinges, and the stand-up toothpaste bottle.
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.
The University of Toronto is home to some of Canada’s most famous research, discoveries and inventions. It’s important to remember, however, that these successes were often preceded by many failures. The Innovation Hub seeks to create a culture where failure is allowed, and even encouraged in the creative process. Our failures spark curiosity and allow us to learn. Failure propels us towards innovation!
There are so many great reasons to fail! Just take the advice of businessman, engineer & inventor Elon Musk: