What’s Your Why: A Curiosity for Human-Centered Design

This blog post is the second installment of What’s Your Why, a new blog series aimed at highlighting the importance of connecting back to the “why” that drives you and the work you are involved in. Each post is a written reflection from our team members, who took the time to graciously share their passions and purposes that drove them to their particular work at the Innovation Hub. We hope these stories inspire you to take a moment to reflect on your own “why”.  

The role of a Digital Storyteller at the Innovation Hub is similar to that of a narrator, bringing the stories from our project-specific data, visions, and insights to life, but through visual design.  

Written By: Anna Tram, Digital Storyteller 

I joined the Innovation Hub as a Digital Storyteller last Fall of 2021 in my final year of undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto (U of T). It was after a brief summer position working in public service (also in a communications role) that I realized I wanted to continue working towards a career in design and communications. At the time I also had a growing interest in design thinking and human-centered design and so working at the Innovation Hub seemed like a great place to apply my existing skills and learn more about the design process. (Spoiler: It was!) 

The Digital Storyteller Experience  

As a Digital Storyteller, one of my main responsibilities is translating key themes and insights that emerge from data collected by our researchers into compelling visuals and layouts. Much of the role is based in knowing how to effectively communicate in multiple forms, whether it be through icons, illustrations, visual reports, etc. 

Essentially all of us at the Innovation Hub are very much the “messengers” between students and senior leadership or service providers at U of T. We carry an important responsibility of ensuring student voices are accurately represented in our work. In my particular role, we consider our audience and present our researchers’ findings in an interesting and digestible format such that our partners get a clear idea of the student experience and can form solutions to improve it. 

Reframing Failure  

This wasn’t my first encounter with the Innovation Hub. I was rejected from the same position when I applied in a previous year. Funny enough, during my interview a large part of the conversation was on the topic of failure – which I have grown very familiar with. These days I find myself being more vulnerable and talking more openly about my failures. My time at the Innovation Hub has helped me reframe my perception of failure and grow compassion for myself in these moments – a valuable lesson that I will take forward with me in my future endeavors. 

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