The Innovation Hub

Our Services

At the Innovation Hub, we use human-centered design thinking and qualitative research methods to study complex problems that can arise in the university context. Do you want to better understand the people you work with, their experiences and needs? We would love to help you out.

Do you have a problem that could benefit from a design thinking approach? Talk to us about it. 

Let our design thinking experts help you get new perspective, build empathy, and foster dialogue!

Need quick student feedback, but not a full-scale research project? Let us connect you with the community! 

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Design Thinking Research

We use design thinking methods and empathy-based research to investigate problems relating to the student experience. Our projects emerge from questions partners (e.g., U of T internal divisions and departments) come to us with about their students. We help partners design with students and for students by deepening their understanding of student needs.

What You Can Expect From Us

  • A full design-thinking investigation and consultation on the needs of your community
  • Analysis and understanding of any existing data you’ve collected
  • Peer-to-peer research based on the trust our student-researchers foster in fellow students
  • Final deliverables vary by project, but most often include a final report and presentation

Investment

  • All of our researchers are U of T students and all projects directly support student employment
  • All our projects run on cost recovery models that cover the cost of the students’ salaries, participants’ compensation, and overhead expenses
  • Our budgets are built based on the needs of the project
  • Our services are affordable to most U of T divisions and departments – much more cost-effective than hiring external consultants

Timelines

  • Projects typically run on a 6-month timeline in the Fall-Winter term and a 4-month timeline in the Summer term — this aligns with the availability of our work-study student-researchers
  • We are happy to consider shorter and longer projects, but our ability varies based on our capacity at the time
  • All of our project timelines include lead time for project planning, promotion of recruitment, and feedback collection, as well as data transcription, coding, and analysis

Want to Know More?

For a stronger introduction to design thinking methodology, please see our guiding principles. We maintain a strong record of empathy, equity, and excellence in research, as can be seen in our past projects. Please take a look as well at our current projects. All of our research begins with a conversation — please reach out to us so that we can begin ideating an approach to your problems. Once your interest is confirmed, we’ll get started right away on a project proposal for you to consider.


 

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Workshops, Training, & Facilitation

The Innovation Hub team is comprised of expert facilitators, insightful researchers, and design-thinking specialists who can help you to discover something new. We offer workshops and training in a variety of areas to help your team problem-solve issues, collaboratively brainstorm new ideas, or learn new skills. Whether you would prefer a full workshop, a brief facilitation, or even just a fresh set of eyes on a project, our team would be happy to help you tackle problems in new ways. 

What Can You Expect From Us:

  • Facilitation that makes space and brings different stakeholders together and ensuring that all voices are heard
  • Activities that explore values and needs behind processes, operations, and more
  • Exercises aimed at reframing your project directives to emphasize the importance of empathy in leadership and learning
  • Brainstorming using a variety of ideation techniques towards solution-generation, visioning, and more
  • Introduction to qualitative research approaches and design thinking methodology, including but not limited to consultation, grounded analysis, ideation and prototyping
  • Inspiration with strengths-based approaches, equity-based design thinking, social innovation and more

Investment:

  • Our workshops, training and facilitation costs are determined based on the needs of the project
  • Our services are affordable to most U of T divisions and departments – much more cost-effective than hiring external consultants

Timelines

  • For one-time workshops, training, or facilitations, please reach out to our team to discuss availability
  • We are happy to consider regular and/or recurrent requests based on our capacity

Want to Know More? 

For a stronger introduction to our design thinking methodology, please see our guiding principles. Such approaches have enabled us to maintain a strong record of empathy, equity, and excellence in research, as can be seen in our past projects. All of our training opportunities are tailored to the needs of our clients — please reach out to us so that we can begin ideating a learning approach that suits your team’s needs.


 

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Quick Student Consultations

With our work-study, casual, and volunteer teams comprised of students from all walks of U of T life, the Innovation Hub has the ability to instantly canvas a range of opinions on any a variety of issues under consideration, some examples are offered below. Enhanced by our geographical location in the middle of the Student Commons — perfectly situated to hear student voices — we are proud to offer quick consultative services for when you need student community input fast. Details of the consultation needs and timeline can be worked out together.

What You Can Expect From Us

  • Feedback from students on ‘student-friendly’ messaging and language to improve student buy-in
  • Polls querying student demand or preference on proposed changes, updates, or options
  • Rapid temperature checks concerning student perspective, expectations, common narratives and mental models
  • Quick understanding of common student opinions that may impact the success of program and service implementation

Investment

  • Pricing for quick student consultation is determined based on the nature of the quick consultation

Timelines

  • To be determined based on needs

Want to Know More?

Our strong history of empathy, equity, and excellence in research can be found in our past projects. Please take a look as well at our current projects. All of our research begins with a conversation — please reach out to us so that we can begin ideating an approach to your problems. If you believe that your problem could exceed the scale of a quick consultation, please consider commissioning a full research project instead.