Sixteen students (undergrad and grad, from sociology, anthropology, math, ethnic studies, computer science, education and business, plus two staff members (admissions and IT)) I just wrapped up our fall innovation class, "Design Thinking in Higher Education." The course worked through IDEO's "Human Centered Design" curriculum, did a design challenge on the Mills course registration festival, learned about innovative higher education models already in play, did a design charrette re-imagining Mills paper forms as an interface to exciting pedagogical functionality (for example, the declaration of major form as a commitment ceremony, joining a cohort and a broad disciplinary tradition). We finished the semester by contributing to the most recent design challenge on the OpenIDEO platform:

How might we better prepare all learners for the needs of tomorrow by reimagining higher education?

OpenIDEO is an online open innovation platform that permits innovators from around the world to contribute research and ideas and feedback on solutions to important problems in a distributed design thinking process. Our end of semester task was to contribute to the research phase of this project. In the research phase, participants bring insights, observations, data, and perspectives to the table so that everyone working on the challenge can see it from a wide multitude of perspectives and generate ideas grounded in a rich database of material. Over the last several days several members of the class had their contributions highlighted as a "Featured Contribution" on the IDEO site.

Here are links to our posts.

Empathetic Persona Mapping | Study abroad with a purpose | How might we create a campus culture of stability and cohesion through relationships for the "non-traditional" student? | Indigenize the Institution | How Might We Provide Psychological Services for Students Free of Charge? | Build a branch - Experiential Learning | Mental Health in Higher Education | Visualizing the College Experience | Career First, Classes After | Whole people working and studying | The College Experience Should Be Meaningful | Get out and share experience | Work counts and learn everywhere. | Social Education In A Culture of Independent Learning | Build a Branch - Experiential Learning Build a Branch - Experiential Learning | Colleges Connecting with Communities | Coop Education: An Old Idea Whose Time Has Come? | From Accreditation Monopolies to Accreditation Markets | Who Can Afford It? | Innovative Colleges - Ideas Worth Borrowing | How College Works | Innovation Academy at University College Dublin | College/University Walls of Varying Heights

S​ome of our take-aways over the course of the semester:

  • creative solutions are better generated by managed ​creative collaboration ​process​es​ than by genius or expertise
  • ​YOU are not the user​ for whom you design​
  • the art of creative listening​ is a secret weapon​
  • brainstorming is not something you "just do"
  • ​Mills students majoring in liberal arts subjects have a real hunger for this material​
  • ​build prototypes so the world can talk to you about your ideas
  • innovation education resonates with, draws on, and complements the liberal arts curriculum

​This was probably a once-only-ever course, but hopefully we planted some seeds that can germinate over time and positively affect how we do things both at Mills and in the world as these students head out there.

Thanks for your support,