The Evolution of the Design Thinking Experience Program: Winter 2020

An Innovation Hub banner alongside an art installation consisting of coloured sticky notes arranged into the shape of a lightbulb with arrows emerging from it.

Charis Lam, Writer

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”

Lessons in Listening

Innovation Hub members practising their interviewing skills

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”

View from the Inside: To Teach and Delight

Sharon Lam, Data Analysis Assistant

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”

The I-Think Initiative x The Innovation Hub: Reframing Education from Kindergarten to Higher Ed

Innovation at work—students working at U of T

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”

View from the Inside: Coding and Data Analysis

Zahira Tasabehji, Design Research Team Lead

Continuing the View from the Inside series, Zahira Tasabehji reflects on the coding and data analysis process.

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!

Continue reading “View from the Inside: Coding and Data Analysis”

View from the Inside: Watch and Learn

Celeste Pang, Design Research Team Lead

In the latest post of the View from the Inside series, Celeste Pang discusses the Innovation Hub sessions on participant observation and alternative methods for data collection.

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”

Join the Design Thinking Experience Program!

Julia Smeed, Innovation Hub Project Leader
Charis Lam, Writer

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!”

The Outlier in All of Us

Charis Lam, Writer

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”