The Innovation Hub

Get Involved

At the Innovation Hub, we use design thinking and qualitative research methods to gain deep understanding of university life, designing with the people whom it is for. We’re seeking students, staff, and faculty from all walks of UofT life — join us to help build a better university for us all!

Do you have unique insights about UofT that you think could make a difference?

Our team is made up of students from every part of the University — the next one could be you!

Do you want to learn more about design thinking? Consider this free, fun, and valuable program!

SHARE YOUR VOICE

Meaningful innovation comes from bringing people together — everyone has lived experiences that could improve UofT. We want to know what yours are! Are you a student with ideas to improve your course delivery? Are you a faculty member who is concerned about your pupils? Are you a part of an equity-deserving community whose perspective is critical? We want to know your unique perspective on the existing UofT experience, so that we can build a better one — together.

Icon: Person behind whom are pictured a speech bubble, a light bulb, a microphone, and a hand holding a paper

What Can You Expect From Us?

We follow best practices in all of our research projects — in fact, we’ve written a report about what meaningful consultation looks like for students. When being interviewed by our team, you can expect:

  • Student-led conversations that are built on empathy and compassion;
  • Strong respect for informed consent in all of our projects;
  • A positive, safe space to share your thoughts, feelings, grievances, and suggestions;
  • Complete anonymity and anonymization of all your data;
  • Our commitment to sharing themes and insights from the data to create change

What Will Your Input Do?

The Innovation Hub consults on every facet of UofT. You feedback will:

  • Contribute to quality assurance evaluations on every aspect of the University;
  • Build on our aspirations to foster the ideal learning experience for all students;
  • Inform campus projects rooted in design thinking methodology.

Want to Know More?

Our strong history of empathy, equity, and excellence in research can be found in our past projects. Please take a look as well at our current projects to see which projects are in progress. Have something you want to share?

  • Contact us directly if you have any questions about our sessions
  • Subscribe to our blog to receive weekly updates about our work
  • Take a look below to see if there are any sessions available that you would like to participate in

Current Available Sessions 

  • There are no sessions currently available to participate in. If you would like updates on future sessions, please subscribe to our blog!

JOIN OUR TEAM

The Innovation Hub is built on empathy — we know that the best people to study the student experience are students themselves. Our teams are made up of students from all fields of study at all levels of study. If you are a first-year undergraduate or a final-year PhD candidate, we want your unique skills and understanding!

How Can You Get Involved?

There are many ways to get involved with the Innovation Hub:

  • Paid student opportunities — We hire students during the Summer and Fall-Winter work terms and occasionally on a longer-term basis. Call for work-study applications are posted on the Career Learning Network in April and August respectively. Casual opportunities are also posted there as required.
  • Volunteers — We look for enthusiastic students to help us with special projects throughout the year. Postings are published on the Career Learning Network, but subscribe to our blog for the most up-to-date information!

These are just broad categories — specific positions range from researchers, to artists, to writers! Check out our current team to get an idea of the different parts that everyone at the Innovation Hub play.

Who are We Looking For?

We want you on our team if you are:

  • A lifelong learner and creative thinker;
  • A social change-maker passionate about improving your local community;
  • A dynamic team player ready to be a part of a multidisciplinary, multicultural, and diverse workplace;
  • Good at maintaining a balance between work, studies, and life.

What Will You Get Out of It?

All positions are certified on your co-curricular records, and work-study and casual employees are compensated by the University. In addition, everyone in the Innovation Hub community benefits from:

  • Hands-on training in design thinking, qualitative research methodology, and data coding and analysis;
  • Mentorship by more senior students and young scholar-professionals;
  • Connections and networking with a community of like-minded peers;
  • The ability to make a lasting, positive contribution to UofT!
Icon: Three hands, two holding papers, one writing on a paper with a writing utensil

Some Tips for Applying

We promise that this isn’t a scary application process. We don’t want to know your test scores — we want to know you! When applying to work with us, consider the following:

  • Do you have prior experience with design thinking or qualitative research? If so, how would you use your Innovation Hub experience to build on these foundations?
  • What unique lived experiences do you have that could inform positive change at the university?
  • In an academic context, what do equity, accessibility, compassion, and empathy mean to you?
  • What will motivate your work with us? What do you hope to learn here?

Have questions? We’d love to chat about them! Feel free to reach out!

Current Opportunities

We are not currently recruiting for any paid opportunities, all future opportunities to apply will be posted on our blog when they become available. 

DESIGN THINKING EXPERIENCE PROGRAM

The Innovation Hub and the Centre for Learning, Leadership & Culture (LLC) are proud to offer a ten-week Design Thinking Experience Program, designed for members (both staff and students) of the University of Toronto community who are passionate about improving life for students on campus. As a participant, you will learn to apply equity-centred design thinking through a hands-on project that tackles a genuine challenge in the University of Toronto campus experience. Space is limited, and both staff and students are invited to apply.

Applications for the Winter 2022 program are OPEN! See below for more details on how to apply.

Applications close Wednesday, January 19th, 11:59PM 

A blue and white graphic that reads 'The Design Thinking Experience Program' with colourful icons representing innovation and collaboration

About the Program

The core of the ten-week program is experiential learning, as we help you spearhead a project that will tangibly improve the campus experience. You’ll collect data through empathy-based methods — like interviews, discussions, and observations — while uncovering insights into unmet needs and prototyping potential solutions. In the process, you’ll learn and practice design thinking and qualitative research. The skills you’ll gain are highly transferable to any work or academic environment, and the connections you’ll make will be with like-minded peers from across the University. Teams will be a mix of staff and students, so you’ll have a chance to see UofT from different perspectives during this powerful opportunity to inspire change.

Program Specifics: 

  • Length: 10 weeks (includes weekly sessions with your teams)
  • Program time and dates: Weekly Wednesdays, 2:00-4:00PM, from February 2 to April 6, 2022 
    • Includes weekly sessions with your teams. 
    • Commitment is intensive: the two-hour workshop each week is mandatory, with three hours of additional work expected. Because we work on genuine projects with deliverables and deadlines, we ask that participants commit to full attendance and participation.  

What Will You Learn?

  • Empathy & design thinking
  • Various models of design thinking
  • Equity & ethics in design thinking
  • Qualitative data collection methods including interviews, observations, & alternatives
  • Transcription & data analysis
  • Ideation & prototyping
  • Testing & implementation
  • Reporting & presenting design-based research projects

Information Sessions: 

Information sessions are in Eastern Standard Time over Zoom. 

1. Wednesday December 15th, 12:00-1:00PM - Register here (Register online by December 13th)

2. Tuesday January 11th, 2:00-3:00PM - Register here (Register online by January 7th) 

Interested in our program? Feel free to take a look at one of our information session recordings from Summer 2021: Design Thinking Experience Program Information Session 

Thinking about Applying for Current or Future Programs?

Things to consider before applying:

  • Have your work and/or program of study information readily on hand (e.g., contact information, work schedule, timetable, etc.)
  • Consider experience you have with design thinking and/or qualitative research — how would you like this program to build on your existing knowledge?
  • What motivates you to improve the UofT experience?
  • What do you hope to learn? How will this impact your work and/or your professional and educational goals?
  • Can you meet the time commitments for this program and attend mandatory weekly meetings?
  • Can you commit 3 additional hours each week to the work, outside of the weekly meeting?

Additional materials needed to apply:

  • If you are applying as a Staff member at UofT:
    • Staff must obtain a letter of support from an immediate supervisor or manager. The letter (which can be an email) should include:
      • An endorsement of your participation;
      • An acknowledgement of your capacity to meet the commitments for the program.
      • Supervisors should send their support to innovationhub@utoronto.ca.
  • If you applying as a UofT student:
    • Students must ask a referee to submit a letter of reference. The letter (which can be an email) should briefly speak to:
      1. Your ability to commit to and participate fully in this program;
      2. The unique thought and character that you would bring to the program.
    • The referee does not need to be academic; it can be someone familiar with you from a job or volunteer position.
    • Referees should send their support to innovationhub@utoronto.ca

APPLICATIONS FOR THE WINTER 2022 PROGRAM ARE NOW OPEN!

Applications close Wednesday, January 19th, 11:59PM