These two impressive buildings are often the first buildings visitors will see when arriving at the university where I work. They evoke feelings of a place steeped in tradition and old-world grandeur (relatively speaking that is – as in global terms our city and State have not been around that long). Behind these buildings are the Student Hub and the Library, a central focus for staff and students. My previous post is a gallery of photos from that area showing an example of how the Unversity is responding to the needs and desires of students for ‘learning spaces’.
Within this area there is also a ‘technology lounge’ being established where staff can drop in and ‘play’ with some new technologies and get some assistance on how or why they might like to use these to enhance their teaching and learning experiences. Here are some images of how that’s looking at the moment:
It looks great and I am sure it will be when its finished and ready to launch. As part of my learning for this course I put myself into the mindset of an academic staff member wandering in for the first time wondering what it’s all about. A few of us will be based here and are also starting to get a feel for how the space works and it is illuminating. As it stands it is hard to know where to start when walking in, what to do and why might I do that. It’s also hard to work out who is there to help me and who is trying to get some work done. Given this, and my readings to date, here are my thoughts:
Part of the design process for this initiative involved brainstorming activities with academic staff members. The ideas of coffee shop and Apple Store were popular. In an Apple Store there is always someone to greet you and help you if needed. Brown (2009) talks about the importance of brainstorming and storytelling. Through trying to experience the ‘lounge’ there seems to me to be great evidence of brainstorming but not storytelling. The experience is lacking some sort of cohesive flow and at the moment, recognises the multiple purposes of the area but only from one set of stakeholders perspectives. There are a number of occupants including trainers, academic staff, technology people, pedagogical experts and librarians occupying the space but the focus is concentrated on a subset of these stakeholders. A further challenge here was that only one group of stakeholders (academic staff) were involved in the brainstorming activities rather than having multi-disciplinary teams (Seidel & Fixson, 2013), and the other groups left to carry out the implementation of those activities.
Thinking through my developing understanding of design-thinking processes, I believe we could have benefited from prototyping (in multi-discipline teams) and building models of the space. These could have been quite simple cardboard cutouts as in the Deutsche Bank video (Deutsche Bank Group, 2012) however I am also thinking about how we should continue to learn and build on the lessons learned from the successful Student Hub space. They continue to refine and improve the space working with students, recognising each cohort coming through has different needs etc. Ensuring we have a mix of people with personal attributes mentioned in Kuratko et al’s paper (Kuratko, 2012) will certainly help as well. While we are still only part way through the process of bringing this initiative to bear, it is starting to look really positive.
As for changes that I will be promoting, here are a few:
- I’d like to see obvious self-help tutorials and images associated with each area/technology and suggestions for what I might like to start thinking about and trying.
- A self-paced tour (virtual?) through the area would be great.
- signage and imagery (obviously a lot of this will come)
- visible cues as to who is working and who is there to support me.
Brown, T. (2009). Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation.: HarperBusiness.
Deutsche Bank Group. (2012). Innovation through Design Thinking. Retrieved 31/7/2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWO5N3Hh7jI
Kelley, D. (2012). How to build your creative confidence. Retrieved 31/7/2014, from http://www.ted.com/talks/david_kelley_how_to_build_your_creative_confidence
Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration : transforming organizational thinking. Boston: Pearson.
Seidel, V., & Fixson, S. (2013). Adopting design thinking in novice multidisciplinary teams: The application and limits of design methods and reflexive practices. Journal of Product Innovation Management(30), 19-33.
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