The Innovation Hub

The Design Thinking Experience Program

Apply Today For The Design Thinking Experience Program

Applications are OPEN!

The Innovation Hub and the Centre for Learning, Leadership & Culture (LLC) are launching a Design Thinking Experience Program for University of Toronto students and staff. This ten-week program, designed for those who are passionate about improving life for students on campus, will provide training in equity-centered 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. 

About the Program

By joining the ten-week program, you’ll work on a project to improve the campus experience. You’ll collect data through empathy-based methods like interviews, discussions, and observations, and you’ll uncover insights into unmet needs and prototype potential solutions. At the same time, you’ll learn and practice design thinking and qualitative research. The skills you’ll gain are highly transferable to your current and future work environment, and the team you’ll meet will be a great place to build connections. Teams will be a mix of staff and students, so you’ll get a chance to see UofT from different perspectives and have a powerful opportunity to inspire change. 

What Will You Learn?

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

Program Specifics

Length: March 5th – May 7th (10 weeks)

  • Weekly sessions will be held Fridays from 11:00am – 1:00PM 
  • Commitment is intensive: the two-hour workshop each week is mandatory, plus three hours of additional workBecause we work on genuine projects with deliverables and deadlines, we ask that participants commit to full attendance and participation.


Information Sessions

Due to the high demand for this program, waitlist sections are available for both sessions. The sessions will be recorded and uploaded on our channel.

Online Information Session 1:Icon of hands putting together puzzle pieces.
Wednesday, February 3rd, 12 – 1PM 
Register online by January 29th

Online Information Session 2:
Friday, February 5th, 2 – 3PM 
Register online by February 2nd

Missed an information session? A recording is available herePlease note captions will be available through YouTube captioning by Monday, February 8th.

Want to Apply? 

Before applying – here are some prompts to help consider why you want to apply to the program:  

  • Have your work/ program of study information readily on hand (e.g. program/work information, contact information, schedule of work/studies available, etc.)
  • Consider previous experience you might have had with design thinking/ qualitative research – or what you would like to learn from this program?
  • What motivates you to improve the UofT experience?
  • What do you hope to learn? How will this impact your work, and/or your professional/educational goals?
  • Can you meet the time commitments for this program?
    • Mandatory weekly meetings on Fridays 11:00-1:00PM beginning Friday, March 5th to Friday, May 7th, 2021 
    • Can commit 3 additional hours outside of the weekly meeting to the work
  • Staff must organize a letter of support from an immediate supervisor/manager. The letter (which can be an email) should include 1) an endorsement of the staff member’s participation and 2) an acknowledgment of the staff member’s capacity to meet the commitments for the program. Supervisors should send their support to innovationhub@utoronto.ca  
  • Students must ask a referee to submit a letter of reference. The letter (which can be an email) should briefly speak to 1) the student’s ability to commit and participate fully in this program2the unique thought and character that the student would bring to the program. Referees should send their support to innovationhub@utoronto.ca.  

APPLICATIONS FOR THE MARCH 2021 PROGRAM ARE NOW OPEN. APPLY HERE

Applications close February 12, 5:00 PM

Please subscribe to our blog for any updates regarding future programs!