With restrictions in place in many of our communities being flexible and responsive to new ideas has become essential. By finding creative ways to work around limitations, design thinking has come to the forefront. Organizations (like the Innovation Hub) are using design thinking to solve their own unique set of challenges, and nurture mindsets that inspire change. Since the lockdown, our Leadership Team has been navigating and responding to internal challenges in new ways and are continuing to do so – many of which are explored in this post.
By Philippa Gosine, Senior Research Assistant
Through our user-centered consultations, we’ve realized that learning spaces are extremely personal and important places for the people that use them. Instructors and students have a strong sense of ownership over their classrooms and want to see their individual needs and preferences in the design of learning spaces.
By Betelehem Gulilat, Lead Writer and Editor
What makes the international student experience different from those of domestic students? Since the pandemic, a new set of challenges has emerged on top of the pre-pandemic realm of campus life that international students are valiantly navigating. In turning to our vibrant and diverse community at UofT, we hope to spark discussions by bringing student stories to light.
By Terri-Lynn Langdon, Lead Editor and Writer – in collaboration with Johanna Pokorny (Ethnography and Insights Team Lead) and Danielle Baillargeon (Data Analysis Team Lead)
At the Innovation Hub an intended focus of our research as a by and for student research Hub at U of T is empathy and the tapestry of it in the development of our questions, writing, and its role in research findings.
The research process at the Innovation Hub includes design thinking supported by ethnographic research methodology, which seek to understand people in context. Where other qualitative methods (like survey work) operate through “extracting” data, ethnography is wholistic and expanding. The goal is not to be ‘statistically significant’ but rather to identify insights and themes from a few rich and unique stories.
Written by Terri-Lynn Langdon, Lead Writer and Editor
I am a wheelchair- using mother and a PhD student at OISE in Social Justice Education. When the lockdown in Toronto began we lost access to daycare and we also lost more than one support person (Nurturing Assistants) who felt that their own lives were too disrupted by the pandemic to continue to provide ongoing support to us. Without this direct support neither myself nor my child can shower safely, and I have no means of taking my twenty-one month old outside on my own. On top of which our building has been plagued with significant apartment maintenance issues all summer which has meant I have had to solve big family pandemic issues for 4 months and counting….
Written By: Terri-Lynn Langdon, Lead Editor and Writer, Innovation Hub
At the Innovation Hub one of our projects focuses on engaging International students. International students currently make up 25.4% of the undergraduate and graduate student population at U of T.1 Questions around how the University of Toronto can support this group in the best ways possible and how their needs differ from domestic students is extremely important to the work that the Innovation Hub is engaged in, not to mention that, student engagement and a project by and for students is our bread and butter.
Meng Xiao recently wrote a book titled Student Engagement in Practice: Chinese International Graduate Student Engagement Handbook which is a book inspired by her own doctoral research from OISE’s Doctorate of Education Program at the University of Toronto.
Written by Terri-Lynn Langdon, Editor and Writer
June is National Indigenous History Month and The Innovation Hub wishes to celebrate this month and Day (June 21st) by celebrating the lives of Indigenous communities and acknowledging the richness and diversity of Indigenous knowledge, histories, and world views.1
In recent years, our work with Indigenous Student Services (also known as First Nations House) has focused on engaging with spaces, services, and needs for Indigenous students on campus. Through these projects, we collaborated these spaces from 2018-2019 to foster spheres of community on campus. The Innovation Hub then explored the core needs of services that are needed on campus for Indigenous students to feel supported and engaged throughout their respective studies. It’s through these integral community partnerships and our design thinking processes and resources that we continually work to address realities that Indigenous lives, spaces, and communities face in a Canadian context (and beyond).
By Celeste Pang, Sauliha Alli, Sanja Ivanov and Heather Watts
Design thinkers at the Innovation Hub share the backstory of the Redefining Traditional virtual community of student parents and their supporters.
How Imagination Drives Innovation
By Darren Clift, Writer
It’s easy to exercise creativity during childhood, when imaginations are unrestrained. But as we grow up, we learn to leash our imaginations, to criticize our own creativity. The open parks of childhood become the closed spaces of our grown-up selves.
Design thinking seeks to re-liberate our creativity, but the forces and learned behaviours pushing against it are strong. To see how design leadership can nurture fresh ideas, I spoke to Gabriele Simmons, a Senior Project Assistant at the Innovation Hub.