Co-Curricular Opportunities at the Innovation Hub in 2017-18

Headshot of woman with curly blonde hair in a blue top By Alexandra Rodney, Operations Team

The Innovation Hub is pleased to announce that the following Co-Curricular Record approved volunteer positions are available for students at the Innovation Hub for the Fall/Winter 2017/2018 academic terms. These positions will provide a rich learning experience to support students’ career development including training, practical opportunities to apply learning, coaching and feedback. In addition to this great learning experience, students will have the opportunity to be part of an engaging and inclusive community of diverse students. Students may join one of the eight teams in the Innovation Hub detailed below:

John Polanyi CI Students’ Presentation of Learning

Headshot of woman with blonde curly hair in a blue topBy Alexandra Rodney, Operations Team Leader

Since February, the Innovation Hub had the good fortune of serving as the “client” for the Business Leadership class at John Polanyi Collegiate Institute. This class is made up of Grade 11 and 12 students who, each semester, apply integrative thinking tools to help an organization solve a difficult problem. For the Innovation Hub, the students were tasked with the question of how to increase student engagement at the University of Toronto. The Business Leadership students were taught how to use integrative thinking tools by their teacher Rahim Essabhai (who recently won a Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence!) and Nogah Kornberg (of Rotman’s I-Think initiative). The students had the opportunity to visit the university on several occasions to interview students and Innovation Hub staff members as well as observe student life on campus.

Innovation Hub Ideas Workshop 2017

The Innovation Hub is pleased to announce that we are hosting an Ideas Workshop on June 5th and 9th for students, faculty and staff to:

  • Take our prototype ideas and explore how they might come to life at U of T, what challenges we might encounter, how we might measure impact and what practical next steps need to be taken to move these ideas forward.
  • Help us start to think about prospective project teams for each of these ideas.

We invite students, faculty and staff from the U of T community to join us as we expand our thinking about these ideas in a fun and collaborative setting.  Each participant will choose one of the ideas (listed below) to workshop.

Collaborating in a Decentralized Postsecondary Institution: Three Insights from the Organizational Learning Team

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By Denise Bentum, Kate Bowers and Alexandra Rodney

As mentioned in our last post, the Innovation Hub’s Organizational Learning team has been interviewing faculty and Student Life staff at the University of Toronto to learn about their experiences working with students and with each other. We have been exploring the topics of collaboration and student support, in line with a design-thinking approach, by trying to understand these things from the perspective of staff and faculty. Our goal has been to elicit stories of successful and challenging experiences supporting students and collaborating across the university’s many divisions and departments. We have analysed these stories in order to understand how to meet the needs of both students and frontline workers at the university, and to learn about what they value during intra-institutional collaborations and interactions.

Ideas from the Innovation Hub: Feedback Needed!

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By Julia Smeed, Innovation Hub Project Lead

The Innovation Hub teams have developed 25 ideas to improve the student experience at the University of Toronto and we need your feedback! More than 100 in-depth interviews were conducted with students during the Innovation Hub’s insight-gathering process. After identifying key insights that emerged from needs expressed by students, the domain teams worked to develop ideas to improve the U of T student experience. These are the final 25 ideas, organized by domain team.  These ideas are in prototype format and they are waiting for your feedback and input so that we can iterate them! After reading through the ideas, please follow the link to leave us feedback on the ideas!

From Research to Design: Six Key Insights from the Operations and Design Team

By AlexHeadshot of smiling woman with curly blonde hair in blue dressandra Rodney, Student Innovation Leader, Operations Team

At the Innovation Hub, the Operations and Design team is providing support to the five domain teams. Over the course of this project our team has switched gears from a focus on “research” to a focus on “design”. Why the shift? We purposely wanted to move the conversation to a focus on design-thinking in order to help team members break free from other research methodologies and approaches to problem solving. In this way we can encourage creativity by breaking free from our habitual practices and developing new ways of thinking. By encouraging a focus on design, we are contributing to helping the hub teams “undo” our learned problem-solving patterns and making way for innovation in both process and result.

What is Design Thinking?

What is Design Thinking?

By AlexHeadshot of woman with blonde curly hair in a blue dressandra Rodney, Student Innovation Leader, Operations Team

In September I introduced you to the Innovation Hub project and explained how we are working on developing innovative solutions to improve the student experience at the University of Toronto. In this post I’ll describe the method we are using to innovate. At the Innovation Hub we are using a “design thinking” approach. This approach has its roots at IDEO, David Kelley’s global design firm, where techniques used to design products were applied to the design of organizational operations and services. You may not have heard of IDEO but you’ve likely been in contact with their design innovations. Among other things that IDEO has patents on are the Apple mouse, laptop computer hinges, and the stand-up toothpaste bottle.

Ecosystem Mapping: October Innovation Hours Recap

Headshot of smiling woman with curly blonde hair in blue dressBy Alexandra Rodney, Student Innovation Leader, Operations Team

During the October Innovation Hours we asked students, staff and faculty to help us create a map of the University of Toronto ecosystem as it relates to our five domains of innovation.

Ecosystem mapping is an exercise designed to discover all of the resources an organization has at their disposal including people, programs, services, members and their relation to each other in both digital and physical realms. An ecosystems framework is borrowed from biologists who study the relationships between organizations and their environment, especially the impact that they have on each other.

What is an Innovation Hub?

Headshot of smiling woman with curly blonde hair in blue dressBy Alexandra Rodney, Student Innovation Leader, Operations Team

I’m Alexandra, a PhD student in Sociology here at the University of Toronto, and I am going to be contributing posts about the research side of things to the Innovation Hub blog. Whether you’re new to the Innovation Hub or have participated in some part of creating the Hub, you may be asking yourself “what is an innovation hub?” To answer this question we need to think about the concept of innovation and the postsecondary context. There are over 87,000 students at the University of Toronto who are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs. The UofT student demographic today is vastly different than a generation ago and is also different than it will be in the future. If student demographics are changing it raises the question of how student services need to change in response. This is where innovation comes in!