The Virtual Design Sprint was initiated by the ISU Innovation Consulting Community, supported by the Provost’s Office at ISU, and facilitated by Marc Bolick and Katie Weber at DesignThinkers Group and Ken Baldauf at Design Minded LLC, FSU Innovation Hub.

The goal of the sprint was to learn the Design Thinking methodology and on interdisciplinary teams apply it to a Design Challenge. 

The selected challenge was “how might we enhance connectedness and productivity associated with remote work?”  The challenge was chosen due to its current importance to faculty teaching courses and for students who will soon be in the work-force and likely to experience some level of remote work.

Design Thinking is very versatile and used across many industries and lends itself to interdisciplinary collaboration.  Specifically, Design Thinking uses practices and values that are highly respected in higher education such as empathy, research, co-creation, critical thinking, and a healthy respect for alternative perspectives.

The use of this methodology is consistent with one of ISU’s strategic goals; fostering innovation and student engagement. 

It also aligns with ISU’s vision, which is to “support student learning through a seamless integration of curricular and co-curricular activities that actively engage students and broaden their perspectives.”

At the end of the sprint, participants proposed innovative ways to redesign a course to allow for students to co-create the curriculum, engage students in real world local community needs using virtual reality, create a schedule for providing students/workers time to engage with each other during the day, and create a student led platform to help students who are struggling online.  

Upon conclusion of the sprint, one student participant, Sara Schelinski, stated “This opportunity shed new light onto collaboration and project teamwork and really pushed me to think more innovatively.” 

ISU Professor Office of Student Research Director Gina Hunter stated: “Design Thinking provides a process and toolkit for creative problem-solving; I can see it being used in a variety of courses to facilitate student engagement and collaboration.”

It is anticipated that additional training for faculty and staff at ISU on Design Thinking is being planned to enable them to use it in classes or through their own Design Sprints.