On Thursday, January 9, the Innovation Hub launched the third edition of our Design Thinking Experience Program (DTEP). As in our February and September 2019 programs, we are working with participants to understand and solve challenges at UofT using human-centred design thinking and empathy-based approaches. This time, in addition, we’re thrilled to welcome staff members back to our design teams. Continue reading “The Evolution of the Design Thinking Experience Program: Winter 2020”
By Anusha Arif, Writer
To design for students, we need to understand the student experience. Thus, the Innovation Hub prioritizes learning to listen—interviewing empathically and attuning ourselves to the world revealed through participants’ words. Though ‘listening’ is a basic skill, listening deeply is another art, and learning is an important part of the process. Some Innovation Hub members come with experience from anthropological, sociological, or other human-centred research, but many others are new to empathic interviewing. How does this learning process go for them? What do they find challenging and interesting? Continue reading “Lessons in Listening”
For the final View from the Inside post of this semester, Sharon Lam reflects on how we share our insights at the Innovation Hub. To read more reflections from Sharon, click here.
One of the final stages of Innovation Hub projects is reporting on our findings. This may be in the form of written reports, but can also include presentations and visualisations. Depending on the project, the audience of partners and stakeholders receiving our insights differs, but in each case, we want to clearly convey our insights, so our partners can use them to ideate and prototype. We do this in the form of “Design Principles”—aspirational themes to inspire and guide our partners as they develop solutions. While reports, presentations, and design principles need to be accurate, they also need to be memorable and moving. Continue reading “View from the Inside: To Teach and Delight”
By Eddie Huang and Charis Lam
Solving the problems of an increasingly complex world requires the education of critical and creative thinkers. Empowering educators to develop students’ integrative thinking skills—to help students “face … the tension of opposing ideas and … generate a creative resolution … in the form of a new idea [that] … is superior to each”1—is essential to developing the next generation of students. The I-Think Initiative works with K-12 students and educators to teach integrative thinking practices and explicit thinking techniques, which participants use to tackle real-world problems. Similarly, at the university level, the Innovation Hub gives students the tools of design thinking to tackle issues in campus life. Together, we see a need to reframe education at all levels to reflect the challenges of the modern world. Continue reading “The I-Think Initiative x The Innovation Hub: Reframing Education from Kindergarten to Higher Ed”
Zahira is studying Political Science, Psychology, and Education Studies at UTM. She’s passionate about transforming education, so her role at the Innovation Hub is the perfect place to use her leadership and creative skills to enhance the student experience!
Celeste is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology. She works in ageing and health-related research, and brings extensive experience in ethnography to her role in the Innovation Hub, where she leads the Family Care Office design team.
“Watch and learn.”
As a researcher trained in anthropology, asking critical questions and learning through observation and participation—ethnography—is a skillset that takes years to build. Yet ethnographic research draws upon, and builds from, basic aspects of human sociality and relationship-making. We talk to people (often through informal or semi-structured interviews); we engage with our communities of study in their day-to-day life (participant observation); we build rapport (or relationships of trust); and we strive to be continually reflexive and aware of ongoing ethical issues and power dynamics in our work. We may be studying a community or an issue that touches us personally, or we may find ourselves further afield. Either way, we aim to “make the familiar strange.” We critically, deeply, and with attention to detail, hang out. Continue reading “View from the Inside: Watch and Learn”
In January 2020, the Innovation Hub and the Centre for Learning, Leadership & Culture will launch a Design Thinking Experience Program for students and staff. Building on the success of the Innovation Hub’s student-exclusive design thinking bootcamps, this program will continue to address challenges in the student experience at UofT while providing participants with hands-on training in design thinking; moreover, it will bring staff and students together to encourage dialogue and broaden perspectives on what is possible at UofT. Continue reading “Join the Design Thinking Experience Program!”
In many fields, outliers are seen as a nuisance. We run tests to justify ignoring them; we explain them away; we resent their intrusion on our neat results. Design thinking, however, asks us to do the opposite—to forgo the blinkers that constrain us to staring at the centre of the bell curve, and to take a good hard look at the outliers. Continue reading “The Outlier in All of Us”
Continuing the View from the Inside series, we reflect on the first two weeks of the Design Thinking Experience Program, in which we discussed the Innovation Hub’s focus on empathy- and equity-based design.
In this post, we hear from Sharon Lam, Data Analysis Assistant. Sharon worked in education after completing Bachelor’s degrees in English, History, and Education, then started a Master of Information degree in User Experience Design and Information Systems and Design. This is her first year with the Innovation Hub.
During the first two weeks at the Innovation Hub, we spent a lot of time on reflection. This may seem counter-intuitive since we are just starting our projects, but it actually makes a lot of sense. By beginning with reflection, we recognize that we each bring a lot to any starting point and that there is a lot of context to every situation. There is no truly blank slate. This is both encouraging and humbling. On the one hand, we bring value based on the unique perspective formed from our past experiences; on the other hand, how we see and interpret our research is limited by the degree to which we can understand what is outside of our realm of experience—in short, our ability to empathize. Continue reading “View from the Inside: Reflecting on Empathy and Equity”
This academic year brings new and returning faces to the Innovation Hub. As always, we have assembled a team with diverse disciplines and interests but a shared excitement for the work we’ll do, including:
- Working with the Presidential & Provostial Task Force on Student Mental Health,
- Improving the experience of student parents with the Family Care Office,
- Creating ideas for space redesigns with the Transforming the Instructional Landscape Project & our Kinesiology and Physical Education partnership,
- Gathering student feedback for the Division of Student Life,
- And partnering with Rotman I-Think.