Workshop addresses community on campus

The IDEO innovation seminar asked participants to design a product or opportunity that would strengthen personal connections and relationships on campus.

The Dartmouth

April 14, 2014

By Miguel Pena

At a weekend IDEO innovation seminar and workshop, participants proposed projects including a traveling activity bus, electronics-free rooms and a community service graduation requirement. Over 60 students attended the event, held at Thayer School of Engineering, which asked participants to design a product or opportunity that would strengthen personal connections and relationships on campus, as well as create a more caring and collaborative Dartmouth community.

Engineering professor Peter Robbie, who helped organize the workshop, said that event organizers chose the topic in response to an article published in The Dartmouth’s weekly magazine insert, The Mirror, titled “Afraid to Care: A Culture of Apathy” (March 6, 2014).

“It provided a very compelling view of how students think about Dartmouth’s focus on personal development and the fact that there may be some opportunities to connect students,” Robbie said.

Student organizer Malika Khurana ’15 said the this topic is relevant to current discussions surrounding campus climate and community. The topic’s breadth made it open to wide interpretation, she said.

Participants included undergraduates and students from Thayer, the Geisel School of Medicine and the Tuck School of Business, and were organized into 14 teams of four to five students. The teams were required to work together and follow a design timeline, comprising five stages: research, synthesize, ideate, prototype and test. ...

IDEO workshop leaders
Professor Peter Robbie, far right, with IDEO designers (l to r) Brian Mason ’03 Th’04, ’05, David Kelley (founder); and Ela Ben-Ur. Photo by Karen Endicott.

... Robbie said he helped organize the event because he wanted to provide an opportunity for students to use their creativity to improve Dartmouth.

“Innovation has always been part of Dartmouth’s DNA,” Robbie said. “In the past decade there has been a realization that design methods used for commercial products could also be used to solve social needs.”

Matt Ross ’15, co-founder of the entrepreneurship group Mitosis, said students are full of ideas for new companies. He said he wanted to provide a space where innovation could be supported with financial and technical resources.

The workshop was sponsored by the innovation and design firm IDEO and directed by IDEO co-workers Brian Mason ’03 Th ’05 and Maura Cass ’10.

Past IDEO Innovation workshop topics include projects for on-the-go healthy eating and making Hanover winters warmer and more bearable, Robbie said.

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