The Innovation Hub

The Design Thinking Experience Program


Apply Today For The Design Thinking Experience Program

Applications closed May 18th 5:00PM. Please subscribe to our blog for any updates regarding future programs, or reach out to us at

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 learn about improving 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: 10 weeks, June 1st – August 3rd

  • Weekly sessions will be held Tuesdays from 2:00PM – 4:00PM 
  • 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

Information sessions are in Eastern Standard Time over Zoom.

Missed a session? You can view a recording of our information sessions here: Design Thinking Experience Program (Summer 2021) Information Session Recording (captions will be available May 18th)

Icon of hands putting together puzzle pieces.Online Information Session 1:
Tuesday May 11th, 12:00-1:00PM
Register via EventBrite here – Registration ends May 10th at 11:59PM

Online Information Session 2:
Wednesday, May 12th, 3:00-4:00PM
Register via EventBrite here – Registration ends May 11th at 11:59PM

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 Tuesdays 2:00-4:00PM beginning June 1st to August 3rd, 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 acknowledgement of the staff member’s capacity to meet the commitments for the program. Supervisors should send their support to innovationhub@utoronto.caThe letter of reference is also due May 18th. 
  • 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. The referee does not need to be academic; it can be someone familiar with you from a job or volunteer position. 

Applications closed May 18th 5:00PM  

Please subscribe to our blog for any updates regarding future programs, or reach out to us at !