At Design Thinking @ College of Design, our audacious goal is to unleash the creative potential of individuals and organizations across all sectors to innovate in fulfilling their mission at the local, regional, national and international level. We are a collaborative that offers design thinking outreach, research and teaching across sectors, located at University of Minnesota's College of Design, Twin Cities Campus.
We empower individuals and groups across sectors to apply design thinking innovation to address specific and systemic challenges. We work to change the status quo while having fun using human creativity and ingenuity. Stay tuned for exciting developments!
Design Thinking to End Homelessness
We partnered with City of Minneapolis/Hennepin County Office to End Homelessness in Spring 2012 on the redesign process of their single adults emergency shelter system. Using design thinking we engaged three key stakeholder groups - shelter staff, shelter clients, and community stakeholders. Building empathy through sharing stories, participants made drawings of their experiences in the system, and defined the problem. We mapped the complex system, proposed solution ideas, developed prototypes, a timeline, and next steps for the transformation ahead. Workgroups developed during this process continued action on the systems change process. We discovered that it takes on average a new staff person 7 years to completely understand the complex system. ‘Making things visible’ is one design thinking mindset that will benefit everyone working to end homelessness.
Higher Ed Redesign
The Higher Ed Redesign Initiative is a collaborative venture of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC), the University of Minnesota's Jandris Center for Innovative Higher Education, and the University of Minnesota's College of Design. It explores ways to transform higher education to meet the needs of students, the workforce, society and redesign higher education models, processes, and practices. After a successful kick-off design thinking workshop held on October 11, 2012, the project piloted a professional development program in 2013 -14 that used design thinking. Mid-career higher education administrators and creatives committed to higher education transformation created new prototypes in response to a real, current challenge in higher education.
2013-2014 Pilot Program Summary
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Design Thinking @ College of Design + jCENTER collaborated with UN-L and JCSTF leadership, faculty, staff and stakeholders on three events associated with re-envisioning UN-L’s Cinema and Emerging Media program in the Johnny Carson School. The workshop/sessions involved tapping creative connections between cinema and emerging media and other disciplines. The project sought to enhance the university’s distinct national identity among film schools.
University of Iceland
Design Thinking @ College of Design and the University of Iceland’s School of Education collaborated on two events in November 2013. The first event, held on Nov. 19, 2013, was a talk on Design Thinking and its applications by Virajita Singh, Senior research fellow and adjunct assistant professor, who leads the University of Minnesota’s Design Thinking @ College of Design. It was held at the University of Iceland’s School of Education in Reykjavik. The talk was attended by the School of Education’s academic community with some participation from the policy/government sector.
The second event, held on Wednesday, November 20th, was an all-day design thinking workshop in Reykjavik for the educational community in Iceland, Members of the academic community, graduate students, practicing educators from preschool through upper secondary levels, administrators, regional policymakers, and industry professionals attended the workshop. The 49 participants were mostly from the Reykjavik region with some participants from other parts of Iceland, including Akuryeyri, Arborg, Mosfellsbaer, Kopavogur and Hafnarfjordur.
Innovation at the U
Design Intersections Follow-up Workshop: This co-creation event held at the Weisman Art Museum on March 30, 2012 focused on Rethinking Teaching and Learning at the University of Minnesota. A conversation and workshop hosted by the KaosPilots (Aarhus, Denmark) and Knowmads (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) - schools focused on applied creative and design thinking, business and social entrepreneurship. We discussed the future of education and what it means for the University. Sponsors of the event were: Jandris Center for Innovative Higher Education, College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (CEHD), Center for Science, Technology and Public Policy, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Carlson School of Management, College of Design and the Weisman Art Museum.
University of Minnesota Portal
Design Thinking @ College of Design conducted a series of 7 design thinking workshops across the University of Minnesota Campuses - Twin Cities, Rochester, Morris & Duluth - over 200 people from the U community participated offering creative ideas and building 39 prototypes for the the design of upcoming U-wide portal.
Design Thinking Series for University of Minnesota Office of Public Engagement (OPE)
We are partnering with OPE to host a Design Thinking Series for the Issue Area Networks (IAN). The IAN are designed to strengthen the alignment of the University's community-engaged activities around societal issues, activities which are currently operating independently across various offices, units, and departments. Currently, they are working on nine key societal issues- Arts, Diversity, Economic Development, Environment & Sustainability, Food, Health, Poverty, Transportation and Youth & Education. Design thinking workshops held over three sessions - "Network Building" December 13, 2013 | "Agenda Building" February 19, 2014 | "Action Planning and Implementation" April 25, 2014 - will advance the building of a more aligned institutional approach to address the nine issue areas through community engagement.
Funded by the University of Minnesota's College of Education and Human Development and the Office for Equity and Diversity, the design thinking workshop for the Re-imagine, Act, Communicate initiative was conducted in November 2013. The workshop focused on brainstorming creative ways to foster leadership within the CEHD community to address and integrate diversity and equity into the college activities and also on increasing involvement by CEHD community in acting on this topic. Some of the emerging themes from the prototype presentations included connectedness, communication, conversation, inclusion, support, dynamism, accessibility, belongingness, opportunity, resources and systems change.
Design Thinking and the University of Minnesota Informatics Institute
Informatics is a broad academic field that encompasses information and computer science, information technology, and data management and analysis. It lives at the intersection of core areas and domain areas. UMII wanted to communicate to the university and community is the opportunity to explore and generate research through a user-friendly model. UMII brought Design Thinking on board to apply design though to communicate effectively the usefulness and ease of UMII. We’re collaborating with UMII to bring about the recognition the department deserves, but also to clarify the workflow of data analysis.
In February 2014, Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life announced a new initiative in partnership with the Charles F. Kettering Foundation, the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, and the Art of the Rural organization. The initiative, titled “Extension Reconsidered”,engaged 13 states and organized a series of events that invited citizens to imagine and consider new ways for Cooperative Extension to serve as a vital resource for communities in the 21st century. University of Minnesota is one of 13 land-grant universities that participated in reflecting upon and envisioning cooperative extension’s role and relevance across the whole of American higher education. Between May and October 2014, University of Minnesota Extension, in partnership with colleagues from Design Thinking @ College of Design, developed and facilitated a series of six creative events using Design Thinking methods for Minnesota’s Extension Reconsidered. The hope is that the recommendations that came out of the Statewide Leadership Team, Organizing Team and Extension Reconsidered participants considering the past impact and future aspirations for Extension in Minnesota will build a basis for future accomplishment, engagement and connection over Extension’s next 100 years in Minnesota.
MBA Executive Education
We are collaborating with the Carlson School of Management and Carlson Executive Education on providing design thinking and business curriculum to individuals and organizations in the business sector.
Design Intersections 2012
Tweak? Leap? What does design thinking demand? Hosted by the College of Design and sponsored by Larsen, Design Intersections 2012 was held on March 29, 2012 at the Carlson School of Management. It explored the answers to questions in the context of design and business education. Speakers for the day included global creatives from Knowmads (Amsterdam), KaosPilots (Aarhus, Denmark), and 4FRONT (Minneapolis/St. Paul). John Foley, Executive Director of 4FRONT, spoke about innovative geographic centers, the potential for the Twin Cities, and the imperative to foster creative community. Participants envisioned inspired futures for a creative Twin Cities in a hands-on design thinking workshop. For more go here.
Design Thinking is an excellent process for use in planning for sustainability. We have been using it in a number of ways with our partners in University of Minnesota Extension, the Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships. For a US Department of Agriculture funded project we conducted design thinking workshops in 3 mid-western communities in Napoleon, ND; Spearfish, SD; and Bemidji, MN. The goals of these workshops were to uncover community stories and aspirations as they moved towards creating access to more local and sustainable foods.
A research project funded by the University of Minnesota's Center for Integrative Leadership; "Integrative Leadership Meets Design Thinking: A Whole New Approach for Our Times" is nearing completion. It applies design thinking to the statewide leadership team of the Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships in the context of making change in the region towards sustainability. We took on four topics: Natural Resources, Clean Energy, Sustainable Tourism and Sustainable Agriculture + Local Food systems. Telling stories, drawing, and building low-resolution prototypes were key to this process.
Sexual Violence Justice Institute at MNCASA
Funded by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety through the Minnesota Office of Justice Programs, the design thinking workshop for the Sexual Violence Justice Institute at MNCASA was conducted on 6 June 2014. The workshop introduced a diverse group of stakeholders to the concept of design thinking and encouraged innovative thinking in identifying possible solutions that could come out of this project that have the potential to improve the way that sexual assault cases are handled by law enforcement professionals.The first phase of the project involved gathering information about the current law enforcement response to sexual assault cases and identifying the challenges that law enforcement professionals frequently encounter when responding to these cases that may interfere with positive case outcomes. The second phase of the project was devoted to improving the response by supplementing the tools officers use in documenting sexual assault case investigations, helping move officers through the complex decision making required in sexual assault investigations,and putting recommended best practices for investigation and report writing at their fingertips.
Questions? Suggestions? Workshops? Consultations?