Innovation Hub Big Ideas Kick-Off

Headshot of young woman with dark brown hair in a red shirt By Sneha Dasgupta, Innovation Hub Blog Editor

By early 2017, the Innovation Hub’s research survey of the U of T student experience was complete. We used this research to come up with  25 innovative ideas designed to create a better student experience. Of these 25, the following five ideas emerged as the most promising:

  • Chill Spots
  • U of T Concierge
  • Neighbourhood Communities
  • Future Readiness Course
  • Student-Faculty Exploration Cafe

Recently, we assembled teams of students and staff from across the University of Toronto to conduct a viability assessment for each of these ideas.  Essentially, each team will explore the following question:

What would have to be true for this idea to come to life at U of T and actually meet the need it was intended to meet?  

Over the next few months each team will conduct research with stakeholders and explore opportunities and constraints for their idea.  The UX Prototyping team will support this process by creating prototypes and testing them within the community.  Teams will make a presentation of their findings and recommend their first steps to senior academic leaders in March 2018.     

On the 21st of November, we hosted the Big Ideas Kickoff event where team members convened to explore and ideate on the viability process. We used the World Cafe Method to engage dialogue between team members from different divisions of the Innovation Hub. To achieve this, we divided the room into 3 “stations”. Each station had a question that team members were asked to consider:

  1. What key questions do we need to ask to determine viability?
  2. Who are the key stakeholders that need to be consulted when thinking about the feasibility of the Ideas?
  3. What are all the possible constraints and challenges that might be face if this idea were to be implemented at U of T?

Participants then, added their thoughts by sticking post-its on the respective posters. At the end of this activity, all the posters in the room were colourized with ideas!

This activity really helped teams get a sense of their next steps. It helped them deeply consider the viability of their ideas. But, most importantly, the Kick-off gave team members the opportunity to engage with one another!

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