What if we put students in the driver's seat of a new kind of R&D to transform education? One that provided a platform for engaging students more fully in a real world effort that also involves faculty, education administrators and other system players? Could we improve a student's education experience? Yes. Could we take it a step further and transform education itself? Yes.
The Business Innovation Factory's participatory design studio gives students the opportunity to use real-world research and design methodologies to transform their student experience. Framed within the context of a real problem, the lab leads students through the design process, ultimately landing on a set of solutions to improve their experience.
We invite you to learn more. Framed within a case story from our recent engagement with Utah State University, sections one through five will guide you through our approach for student-led R&D.
The student voice matters. Through our Student Experience Lab, BIF explores how good design can improve the quality of experience for students by not only listening to the voices of the students but also engaging them in the development of new solutions.
We work closely with education officials, faculty and staff to ensure that students are given the tools, information and know-how they need to inform the design problem they are solving.
At the conclusion, students present their research and solution ideas for consideration of concept development and implementation.
Through the studio's "research-design-ideate" cycle of discovery students are required to:
- Conduct secondary research to help inform their design problem
- Formulate a primary research plan
- Conduct field research into the experience of fellow students
- Interview experts both inside and outside the system
- Analyze their findings to reveal patterns, trends, and key insights; visually interpret these findings into an "experience map"
- Generate ideas for new solutions informed by their primary research
- Formally present their findings
Getting students directly involved in improving their own experience is priority number one for BIF's Student Experience Lab. In addition to offering education leaders with new ideas for enhancing the student experience, our participatory design studio demonstrates a new technique for engaging students in an ongoing innovation process that is both interdisciplinary and action-oriented. It's an important example of how organizations can proactively put students in the driver's seat of their own internal R&D activity.
Impact on Students
- New way of thinking and doing
- Working towards goal with no single answer
- Ability to manage uncertainty and ambiguity
- Ability to break down large, complex problems into workable pieces
- Appreciation for systems-level thinking and what it takes to innovate and change
- Increased engagement and strong sense of empowerment
- Importance of collaborating with different disciplines
Impact on Faculty
- New method of instruction that can be incorporated into other, more traditional class structures
- A better and stronger understanding of the institution
- Increased awareness of importance of collaborative teaching with people who bring in a variety of perspectives.
- Renewed trust in students as valid contributors to conversation
- Empowerment; Genuinely facilitating student-led research and development efforts to improve the institution.
Impact on Institution
- Walking the talk: Forthrightly putting the student at the center of the R&D process
- A new and genuine understanding of students' points of view
- New, fresh ideas to improve student experience
- Increased school pride
- Breaking down of silos between departments and groups to enable collaboration
- Activated network of students and stakeholders
The Business Innovation Factory (BIF) creates real world laboratories where organizations can design, prototype, and test new models for delivering value. BIF's mission is to enable business model and system level innovation in areas of high social impact, including health care, education, energy, and entrepreneurship.
BIF's Student Experience Lab provides an integrated model of design research that directly engages students in real-world R&D. By breaking through the bottlenecks that exist within education structures, BIF is pioneering a pathway that takes student-driven research and design off the whiteboard and into the real world.
In addition to building a broad open platform for transformation in education, BIF partners with a variety of organizations to conduct real-world systems-level experimentation.
To learn more, contact Sam Seidel, Student Experience Lab Director, or call 401-270-7906.