With restrictions in place in many of our communities being flexible and responsive to new ideas has become essential. By finding creative ways to work around limitations, design thinking has come to the forefront. Organizations (like the Innovation Hub) are using design thinking to solve their own unique set of challenges, and nurture mindsets that inspire change. Since the lockdown, our Leadership Team has been navigating and responding to internal challenges in new ways and are continuing to do so – many of which are explored in this post.
This year at the Innovation Hub we are excited to continue our work for students by students with our largest and most diverse team yet! Like many, we have adapted to the “new normal” by re-directing our team into a collaborative virtual space to help keep our momentum going through the coming year. Despite these uncertain times, our multidisciplinary team continues to mirror the diversity of the University of Toronto community and is expanding to support our growing number of projects.
Tammy Cheng, Writer, contributed to this post.
We learn by experience, as Innovation Hub members know. Since the Hub launched 3.5 years ago, many students have practised their design thinking, empathetic interviewing, data analysis, and professional skills through our projects. Recently, we’ve formalized this learning experience by partnering with academic courses. We provide practical projects for students to work on, and UofT’s excellent faculty and course instructors provide their subject expertise. Together, we provide a richer learning environment for students.
This academic year brings new and returning faces to the Innovation Hub. As always, we have assembled a team with diverse disciplines and interests but a shared excitement for the work we’ll do, including:
- Working with the Presidential & Provostial Task Force on Student Mental Health,
- Improving the experience of student parents with the Family Care Office,
- Creating ideas for space redesigns with the Transforming the Instructional Landscape Project & our Kinesiology and Physical Education partnership,
- Gathering student feedback for the Division of Student Life,
- And partnering with Rotman I-Think.
At the Innovation Hub, we are what we do. We commit ourselves to community growth through prototyping and iteration, not only in the design projects we take on, but also in designing our own work processes. By being responsive to the changing needs of the community—both internally, within our own team, and externally, with our project partners—we continually improve our practices.
As we look forward to the new school year, the Innovation Hub is excited to assemble a team for our upcoming and continuing projects. We want to offer our potential team members the opportunity to both contribute to the university and learn new skills: we’re looking for dedicated students who are interested in improving campus life by focusing on student needs, and we’re also offering those students training and hands-on practice in human-centred design. We hope to put together a diverse team that enjoys the challenges of our work!
Read below for job descriptions, and go to the Career & Co-Curricular Learning Network work study job board to learn more and apply.
How can we make Convocation more accessible? What makes a classroom great? What support do student parents need? How can staff and students work together to create effective programs?
These are some of the questions driving this summer’s Innovation Hub team. We’ll answer them by listening to the stories of students and staff, shining a searchlight on how they interact with the university—in lecture, at Convocation, at work—and how the university can reach out in response.
By Kaitlyn Corlett, Project Assistant and Julia Smeed, Innovation Hub Projects Officer
Now that the winter term is coming to a close, it’s time to consider some exciting opportunities at the Innovation Hub for the summer 2019 term. The Innovation Hub offering a wide range of work-study positions open to all students who meet the eligibility requirements. These positions offer opportunities to work with various areas at the University of Toronto in team-oriented environments that are supported by innovative, design-thinking practices.
Our Innovation Hours continued this week with a look at the proposed plan to build the Innovation Hub teams. This past Tuesday a group of students and staff met to discuss the draft team structure and roles and share questions and insights about how the team will come together.
The Innovation Hour is an informal morning coffee hour for staff, faculty & students who are interested in learning more about the Innovation Hub and sharing innovative ideas that will enhance the student experience at the University of Toronto. It’s a chance to chat with colleagues about where innovation is already happening, to learn more about the Innovation Hub and to brainstorm opportunities for innovation. Hub updates will be provided during these meetings.