Custom Design Challenges
The Lab creates a structured process to frame your innovation question(s) as a design challenge. After identifying the design question, we engage stakeholders, conduct user research, create options, and facilitate rapid prototyping and experimentation. We use a mix of design thinking and other innovation methods to make sure the needs of people related to your challenge are woven into practical solutions and approaches. Depending on engagement length and your needs, the Lab can help develop an implementation plan to take your vetted prototype to scale.
How might we bake a for credit apprenticeship into a liberal arts degree?
How might we help veterans shorten their path to cybersecurity degrees?
How might we capture and credential 21st century (soft) skills in ways that are meaningful to employers?
Sample Challenge Partners
Cohort Design Challenges
For new trends or challenges facing university leaders and educators, we collaborate with multiple design partners to harness their thinking through a heavily facilitated 6-month to 2-year peer-learning community. This approach works well when institutions want to learn alongside peers and test how they might respond to or adopt new ideas or models. In cohort design challenges, we combine qualitative and quantitative research with design methods to generate new options, and then co-create and test prototypes that help schools, foundations, policymakers and/or other stakeholders accelerate action plans and pilots.
Traditional Model Redesign (Designing new student-centered operating models for growth-oriented public universities in partnership with Lumina Foundation and HCM Strategists)
If you have a recommendation for a future cohort challenge, or are interested in getting involved with an existing challenge, get in touch here.
Through single or multiple design events, the Lab offers ways of helping institutions rapidly: identify, understand, express innovation needs and opportunities; generate, test and shape new ideas; and make decisions about what works and how to operationalize it. Our design facilitation typically assists design partners in one or more of the following areas:
Needs Assessment/Prototyping & Pressure-testing Ideas
Project Scoping & Acceleration
Design Thinking Training
For a more direct learning experience, the Lab can provide design thinking training in a direct service or train-the-trainer model. This training can be customized to your specific audience and offered as professional development for staff, innovation team members or students.
The Lab’s training provides five learning outcome levels.
Level 1 — Design thinking awareness: defining it, exploring its process and methods, connecting it to your work
Level 2 — Awareness, plus ability to use discrete methods in guided innovation work
Level 3 — Ability to use a design process and supporting method set in your own innovation work
Level 4 — Ability to lead others through a multi-part design process and/or teach design thinking to students
Level 5 — Ability to implement the results of a design process you’ve lead, i.e. connecting the design process to implementation strategies.
The Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership
Individuals and teams often want to learn our methods and apply them to accelerating adaptation as students learning needs’ and the economy change. These sessions are appropriate for partners who want to be exposed to a variety of innovation approaches including, design thinking, rapid prototyping, lean startup and innovation framework mapping. We include an interactive design session to look at how you might use these processes and methods in your team’s specific innovation work.
Student Leadership Program
The Lab is available to serve as a trusted adviser and thought partner. Also, if you’re working to address an innovation challenge, but could benefit from additional connections, expert opinions and experiences, or stakeholder engagement beyond your own network, the Lab’s Innovator Network can be leveraged to support your work. By drawing upon our Innovator Network, a community of academic change-makers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders, we can connect design partners and others to the Lab’s higher education innovation, student success and design strategy learning and activities.